My short stay in Aswan was only experienced from the Egyptian riverboat. The tour group was taken to many places near the city, including the Philae Temple and Abu Simbel, but we didn’t really get to see the city itself. Our only chance to visit anything in town was a Nubian dinner, which I skipped to rest up for the early morning departure to Abu Simbel. I wish I had a full day to spend exploring the city. There were a few places I would like to have seen that weren’t included in the tour. It seemed like a laid-back place with enough to keep me busy.
Before cruising the Nile to Kom Ombo and Edfu en route to Luxor, I was able to get views of the city on the east bank of the Nile, and Qubbet el-Hawa (Tombs of the Nobles) on the west bank. On the east bank the biggest landmarks I spotted are Archangel Michael’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral and a mosque north of the city.
Two important islands sit in the Nile River at Aswan. Elephantine Island (Ελεφαντίνη) is home to a large Nubian population and several archaeological sites. El Nabatat Island, previously known as Kitchener’s Island, was given to Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener for his services in the Sudan Campaign between 1896 and 1898. He transformed it into a botanical garden with trees and plants from all over the world.
Also from the riverboat I enjoyed watching the feluccas and other boats moving up and down the Nile.