Aswan has been a trading city for millennia, so a visit to the excellent souk is a fitting start. Then head for the Nubia Museum, a compelling site which records Nubian art and culture which would otherwise have been lost under Lake Nasser when the High Dam was constructed. The modern structure is intended to evoke a Nubian village, set in a handsome landscaped garden. Afterward take a walk in nearby Fatimid Cemetery where domed tombs form an eerie, atmospheric village. Finally, see the crack in the enormous Unfinished Obelisk.
Cross to Elephantine Island, a fascinating ancient site which once formed the boundary between Egypt and Nubia, to see the villages of Siou and Koti. On the island’s southern tip, visit the ruins of Abu, among Egypt’s oldest antiquities. Then see how the life-giving waters of the Nile have worked their magic in Aswan’s Botanic Gardens, a lovingly landscaped oasis whose towering palms attract a wealth of birdlife.