The name Aswan is synonymous today with peace, tranquility and beauty. The town lies on the ancient trade
route between Egypt and its southern territories and trade in the times of the Pharaohs was brisk in gold, ivory, slaves and
exotic animals. As all major towns and cities in Egypt, Aswan also has its share of spectacular temples; the most impressive of
which is Abu Simbel, built by Pharaoh Ramses II. Abu Simbel is situated on the shores of Lake Nasser, and can be reached from
Aswan by road or air. Closer to home, the temple of Philae, dedicated to the goddess Isis, is located on an island a short journey
from Aswan - the perfect romantic setting, especially for the evening Sound & Light performances. Unfinished Obelisk. Just to the
south of this, two Greco-Roman sarcophagi and an unfinished colossus remain half buried in the sand. On the opposite shore (west
bank) the cliffs are surmounted by tomb of a Mara. Tombs of the local Paranoiac nobles and dignitaries. The most obvious is
Elephantine Island, which is timeless with artifacts dating from pre-Dynastic times onward. It is the largest island in the area.
Just beyond the Elephantine Island is Kitcheners Island. The old Aswan dam, built by the British, which was enlarged, expanded,
but unable to control the Nile for irrigation. Upriver a bit is the tomb of Mohammed Shah Aga Khan who died in 1957. Known as the
Tomb of the Aga Khan, it is beautiful in its simplicity. A road from there leads back to the Coptic Monastery of St. Simeon, which
was built in the sixth century in honor of Amba Hadra, a local saint. Today, many travelers visit Aswan to enjoy the relaxing
atmosphere. Afternoon tea on the terrace of the Old Cataract Hotel is an excellent idea, where Agatha Christie stayed and is
reported to have written part of her book Death on the Nile. A felucca sailboat ride to the Botanical Gardens or Elephantine
Island is a wonderful way to unwind.