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أسوان  (Arabic)
Ⲥⲟⲩⲁⲛ  (Coptic)
Nile River in Beauty Aswan.jpg
Al Khattarah Aswan Bridge.jpg
Aswan souq.jpg
Aswan,fatimid cem.jpg
m`bd fyl@ ..swn.jpg
Aswan Nubian Museum entrance.jpg
Counter Clockwise from top:
Aga Khan Mausoleum, Khattarah Bridge, Aswan Fatimid Cemetery, Elephantine Island, Nubian Museum, Aswan Old Town Souk
Egypt relief location map.jpg
Red pog.svg
Location within Egypt
Coordinates: 24°05′20″N32°53′59″E / 24.08889°N 32.89972°E / 24.08889; 32.89972 Coordinates: 24°05′20″N32°53′59″E / 24.08889°N 32.89972°E / 24.08889; 32.89972
Country Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt
Governorate Aswan
194 m (636 ft)
Time zone UTC+2 (EST)
Area code(s) (+20) 97

Aswan ( /æsˈwɑːn,ɑːs-/ , also US: /ˈæswɑːn,ˈɑːs-,ˈæz-/ ; [1] [2] [3] [4] Arabic : أسوان, romanized: ʾAswān [ʔɑsˈwɑːn] ; Coptic : Ⲥⲟⲩⲁⲛ, romanized: Souan) is a city in the south of Egypt, and is the capital of the Aswan Governorate.


Aswan is a busy market and tourist centre located just north of the Aswan Dam on the east bank of the Nile at the first cataract. The modern city has expanded and includes the formerly separate community on the island of Elephantine.

The city is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the category of craft and folk art. [5]

Other spellings and variations

Aswan was formerly spelled Assuan or Assouan. Spellings in other languages include Egyptian Arabic : أسوان, romanized: ʾAswān; Ancient Egyptian: Swenett; Coptic : Ⲥⲟⲩⲁⲛ, romanized: Souan; Ancient Greek : Συήνη, romanized: Suēnē.


in hieroglyphs

Aswan is the ancient city of Swenett, later known as Syene, which in antiquity was the frontier town of Ancient Egypt facing the south. Swenett is supposed to have derived its name from an Egyptian goddess with the same name. [6] This goddess later was identified as Eileithyia by the Greeks and Lucina by the Romans during their occupation of Ancient Egypt because of the similar association of their goddesses with childbirth, and of which the import is "the opener". The ancient name of the city also is said to be derived from the Egyptian symbol for "trade", [7] or "market". [8]

Because the Ancient Egyptians oriented themselves toward the origin of the life-giving waters of the Nile in the south, and as Swenett was the southernmost town in the country, Egypt always was conceived to "open" or begin at Swenett. [6] The city stood upon a peninsula on the right (east) bank of the Nile, immediately below (and north of) the first cataract of the flowing waters, which extend to it from Philae. Navigation to the delta was possible from this location without encountering a barrier.

The stone quarries of ancient Egypt located here were celebrated for their stone, and especially for the granitic rock called Syenite. They furnished the colossal statues, obelisks, and monolithal shrines that are found throughout Egypt, including the pyramids; and the traces of the quarrymen who worked in these 3,000 years ago are still visible in the native rock. They lie on either bank of the Nile, and a road, 6.5 km (4.0 mi) in length, was cut beside them from Syene to Philae.

Swenett was equally important as a military station as a place of traffic. Under every dynasty it was a garrison town; and here tolls and customs were levied on all boats passing southwards and northwards. Around 330, the legion stationed here received a bishop from Alexandria; this later became the Coptic Diocese of Syene. [9] The city is mentioned by numerous ancient writers, including Herodotus, [10] Strabo, [11] Stephanus of Byzantium, [12] Ptolemy, [13] Pliny the Elder, [14] Vitruvius, [15] and it appears on the Antonine Itinerary. [16] It may also be mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel and the Book of Isaiah. [17]

View from the west bank of the Nile, islands, and Aswan View from the west bank to the Nile, islands, and Aswan.jpg
View from the west bank of the Nile, islands, and Aswan

The latitude of the city that would become Aswan – located at 24° 5′ 23″ – was an object of great interest to the ancient geographers. They believed that it was seated immediately under the tropic, and that on the day of the summer solstice, a vertical staff cast no shadow. They noted that the sun's disc was reflected in a well at noon. This statement is only approximately correct; at the summer solstice, the shadow was only 1400 of the staff, and so could scarcely be discerned, and the northern limb of the Sun's disc would be nearly vertical. However, Eratosthenes used this information together with measurements of the shadow length on the solstice at Alexandria to perform the first known calculation of the circumference of the Earth.

The Nile is nearly 650 m (0.40 mi) wide above Aswan. From this frontier town to the northern extremity of Egypt, the river flows for more than 1,200 km (750 mi) without bar or cataract. The voyage from Aswan to Alexandria usually took 21 to 28 days in favourable weather.

Archaeological findings

Archaeologists have discovered 35 mummified remains of Egyptians in a tomb in Aswan in 2019. Italian archaeologist Patrizia Piacentini, professor of Egyptology at the University of Milan, and Khaled El-Enany, the Egyptian minister of antiquities reported that the tomb where the remains of ancient men, women and children were found, dates back to the Greco-Roman period between 332 BC and 395 AD. While the findings assumed belonging to a mother and a child were well preserved, others had suffered major destruction. Beside the mummies, artefacts including painted funerary masks, vases of bitumen used in mummification, pottery and wooden figurines were revealed. Thanks to the hieroglyphics on the tomb, it was detected that the tomb belongs to a tradesman named Tjit. [18] [19] [20]

“It’s a very important discovery because we added something to the history of Aswan that was missing. We knew about tombs and necropoli dating back to the second and third millennium, but we didn’t know where the people who lived in the last part of the Pharaoh era were. Aswan, on the southern border of Egypt, was also a very important trading city” Piacentini said. [18] [19] [20]


Aswan has a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh) like the rest of Egypt. Aswan and Luxor have the hottest summer days of any city in Egypt. Aswan is one of the hottest, sunniest and driest cities in the world. Average high temperatures are consistently above 40 °C (104.0 °F) during summer (June, July, August and also September) while average low temperatures remain above 25 °C (77.0 °F). Summers are long, prolonged and extremely hot. Average high temperatures remain above 23 °C (73.4 °F) during the coldest month of the year while average low temperatures remain above 8 °C (46.4 °F). Winters are short, brief and extremely warm. Wintertime is very pleasant and enjoyable while summertime is unbearably hot with blazing sunshine although desert heat is dry.

The climate of Aswan is extremely dry year-round, with less than 1 mm (0 in) of average annual precipitation. The desert city is one of the driest ones in the world, and rainfall doesn't occur every year, as of early 2001, the last rain there was seven years earlier. Aswan is one of the least humid cities on the planet, with an average relative humidity of only 26%, with a maximum mean of 42% during winter and a minimum mean of 16% during summer.

The weather of Aswan is extremely clear, bright and sunny year-round, in all seasons, with a low seasonal variation, with almost 4,000 hours of annual sunshine, very close to the maximum theoretical sunshine duration. Aswan is one of the sunniest places on Earth.

The highest record temperature was 51 °C (124 °F) on July 4, 1918, and the lowest record temperature was −2.4 °C (27.7 °F) on January 6, 1989. [21]

Climate data for Aswan, Egypt
Record high °C (°F)35.3
Average high °C (°F)22.9
Daily mean °C (°F)15.3
Average low °C (°F)8.7
Record low °C (°F)−2.4
Average rainfall mm (inches)0
Average rainy days (≥ 0.01 mm)
Average relative humidity (%)40322419171618212227364226.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 298.2281.1321.6316.1346.8363.2374.6359.6298.3314.6299.6289.13,862.8
Source #1: World Meteorological Organization , [22]
Source #2: NOAA for mean temperatures, humidity, and sun, [23] Meteo Climat (extremes 1918–present) [21]


In 1999, South Valley University was inaugurated and it has three branches; Aswan, Qena and Hurghada. The university grew steadily and now it is firmly established as a major institution of higher education in Upper Egypt. Aswan branch of Assiut University began in 1973 with the Faculty of Education and in 1975 the Faculty of Science was opened. Aswan branch has five faculties namely; Science, Education, Engineering, Arts, Social Works and Institute of Energy. The Faculty of Science in Aswan has six departments. Each department has one educational programme: Chemistry, Geology, Physics and Zoology. Except Botany Department, which has three educational programmes: Botany, Environmental Sciences and Microbiology; and Mathematics Department, which has two educational programmes: Mathematics and Computer Science. The Faculty of Science awards the following degrees: Bachelor of Science in nine educational programmes, Higher Diploma, Master of Science and Philosophy Doctor of Science. Aswan also has Aswan Higher Institute of Social Work that was established in 1975 making it the oldest private higher institute of Social Work in Upper Egypt


Aswan is served by the Aswan International Airport. Train and bus service is also available. Taxi and rickshaw are used for transport here.

International relations

Twin towns/Sister cities

Aswan is twinned with:

See also

Related Research Articles

Luxor City in Egypt

Luxor is a city in Upper (southern) Egypt and the capital of Luxor Governorate. The population numbers 506,535, with an area of approximately 417 square kilometres (161 sq mi).

Index of Egypt-related articles Wikimedia list article

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Elephantine Island in the Nile

Elephantine is an island on the Nile, forming part of the city of Aswan in Upper Egypt. There are archaeological sites on the island.

Al-Maris was a Medieval Arabic name for Lower Nubia, the region of the Nile around the first and second cataracts, including Aswan. Because most of the sources for Nubian history during the period are in Arabic, it is sometimes used interchangeably with the Nubian region of Nobadia. The northern section of al-Maris was part of Fatimid Upper Egypt and was semi-independent under the Kanz ad-Dawla between 1046 and 1077 AD. The Kanz ad-Dawla Nasir invaded Nubia in 1066 but was repulsed and his territory raided.

Thebaid administrative region in ancient egypt

The Thebaid or Thebais was a region of ancient Egypt, which comprised the thirteen southernmost nomes of Upper Egypt, from Abydos to Aswan.

Philae Island in Nile, Egypt

Philae is an island in the reservoir of the Aswan Low Dam, downstream of the Aswan Dam and Lake Nasser, Egypt. Philae was originally located near the expansive First Cataract of the Nile in Upper Egypt and was the site of an Egyptian temple complex. These rapids and the surrounding area have been variously flooded since the initial construction of the Aswan Low Dam in 1902. The temple complex was dismantled and moved to nearby Agilkia Island as part of the UNESCO Nubia Campaign project, protecting this and other complexes before the 1970 completion of the Aswan High Dam. The hieroglyphic reliefs of the temple complex are being studied and published by the Philae Temple Text Project of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna.

Cats in ancient Egypt worshipped animals of egypt

Cats in ancient Egypt were represented in social and religious practices of Ancient Egypt for more than 3000 years. Several Ancient Egyptian deities were depicted and sculptured with cat-like heads such as Mafdet, Bastet and Sekhmet, representing justice, fertility and power. The deity Mut was also depicted as a cat and in the company of a cat.

Qubbet el-Hawa Archaeological site in Egypt

Qubbet el-Hawa is a site on the western bank of the Nile, opposite Aswan. The name is derived from the dome of the tomb of an Islamic sheikh, but archaeologically, it is usually understood as referring to the site of the tombs of the officials lined up on artificial terraces below the summit of the Nile bank upon which the Islamic tomb stands.

Sehel Island Island in the Nile

Sehel Island is located in the Nile, about 2 miles (3.2 km) southwest of Aswan in southern Egypt. It is a large island, and is roughly halfway between the city and the upstream Aswan Low Dam.

Cataracts of the Nile rapid

The Cataracts of the Nile are shallow lengths of the Nile River, between Khartoum and Aswan, where the surface of the water is broken by many small boulders and stones jutting out of the river bed, as well as many rocky islets. In some places, these stretches are punctuated by whitewater, while at others the water flow is smoother, but still shallow.

Benha City in Qalyubia, Egypt

Benha /'benhæ/, also spelled Banha , is the capital of the Qalyubia Governorate in north-eastern Egypt. Located between the capital of Cairo and Alexandria, Benha is an important transport hub in the Nile Delta, as rail lines from Cairo to various cities in the Nile Delta pass through Benha.

Bigeh Island and archaeological site

Bigeh is an island and archaeological site situated along the Nile River in historic Nubia, and within the Aswan Governorate of southern Egypt. The island has been situated in the reservoir of the Old Aswan Dam, since the dam's initial completion in 1902.

Asyut City in Egypt

Asyut is the capital of the modern Asyut Governorate in Egypt, which has one of the largest Coptic Catholic bishopric churches in the country; the ancient city of the same name, which is situated nearby. The modern city is located at 27°11′00″N31°10′00″E, while the ancient city is located at 27°10′00″N31°08′00″E.

Blemmyes ancient nomadic African kingdom

The Blemmyes were a nomadic tribal kingdom that existed from at least 600 BC to the 3rd century AD in northern Nubia. They were described in Roman histories of the Later Roman Empire, with the Emperor Diocletian enlisting Nobatae mercenaries from the Western Desert oases to safeguard Aswan, the empire's southern frontier, from raids by the Blemmyes. The Beja are considered by some historians to be their modern descendants.

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Shellal Human settlement in Egypt

Shellal is a small ancient village on the banks of the Nile, south of Aswan in Upper Egypt. It was the traditional northern frontier of the Nubian region with both the Egyptian Empire and the Roman Empire. During the period of ancient Egypt, it was a very important quarry area for granite production. Nowadays it is possible to see some unfinished granite works on the site ; some of the objects on display include incomplete statues of Osiris and Ramesses II and unfinished Roman baths.

Nubia region along the Nile river, which is located in northern Sudan and southern Egypt

Nubia is a region along the Nile river encompassing the area between Aswan in southern Egypt and Khartoum in central Sudan. It was the seat of one of the earliest civilizations of ancient Africa, as the Kerma culture lasted from around 2500 BCE until its conquest by the New Kingdom of Egypt under pharaoh Thutmose I around 1500 BCE. Nubia was home to several empires, most prominently the kingdom of Kush, which conquered Egypt during the 8th century BC during the reign of Piye and ruled the country as its Twenty-fifth Dynasty.

Abu Simbel Village in Egypt

Abu Simbel is a village in the Egyptian part of Nubia, about 240 kilometers southwest of Aswan and near the border with Sudan. As of 2012, it has about 2600 inhabitants. It is best known as the site of the Abu Simbel temples, which were built by King Ramses II.

Ta-Seti Administrative division of Upper Egypt

Ta-Seti was the first nome of Upper Egypt, one of 42 nomoi in Ancient Egypt. Ta-Seti also marked the border area towards Nubia.


The Triakontaschoinos, Latinized as Triacontaschoenus, was a geographical and administrative term used in the Greco-Roman world for the part of Lower Nubia between the First and Second Cataracts of the Nile, which formed a buffer zone between Egypt and later Rome on the one hand and Meroe on the other hand. The northern part of this area, stretching from the First Cataract south to Maharraqa was known as the Dodekaschoinos or Dodecaschoenus. In the Ptolemaic and Roman periods the Dodekaschoinos was often annexed to Egypt or controlled from it, and the rest of the Triakontaschoinos sometimes was as well.


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  10. (ii. 30)
  11. (ii. p. 133, xvii. p. 797, seq.)
  12. (s. v.)
  13. (vii. 5. § 15, viii. 15. § 15)
  14. (ii. 73. s. 75, v. 10. s. 11, vi. 29. s. 34)
  15. ( De architectura , book viii. ch ii. § 6)
  16. (p. 164)
  17. Ezekiel 29:10, 30:6; Isaiah 49:12
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