Egypt travel guide




Aswan Travel Guide

Aswan History

Aswan is the ancient town of Swenet and The Ancient Egyptians called it Swen, which was in antiquity the frontier town of Egypt to the south. Because the Egyptians oriented towards the south, Aswan was the first town in the country, and Egypt was always conceived to open or begin at Aswan. For centuries, the city of Aswan was the gateway to Africa and the lands of Nubia. The Copts called it Souan, meaning 'trade', from which the present-day Aswan is derived.

In last time of Aswan, the quarries of Swan were celebrated for their stone, and especially for the granitic rock called Syenite. They furnished the colossal, obeliks, statues and monolithal shrines which are found throughout Egypt, including the pyramids. Also the traces of the quarrymen who wrought in these 3000 years ago are still visible in the native rock. Also, they lie on either bank of the Nile, and a road, 4 miles in length, was cut beside them from Syene to Philae. Swan was equally important as a military station and as a place of traffic.

Formerly in time of the Ptolemies and ancient Egyptians, the city of Syene stood south west of the present day town. Syene was located on the island of Yeb, or Elephantine Island, it was a major trade center with Nubia and the rest of Africa. The word Yeb, is Nubian for (elephant), therefore the Greeks called the island Elephantine Island. Habitually Yeb was where most of the ivory and gold trading would take place. Howeveer due to its strategic location, the city of Aswan was chosen as the first capital of Upper Egypt, and the Ptolemies used it as a base to enter Nubia, Sudan and Central Africa, and it was they who built the beautiful Temple of Philae.

Elephantine Island

Located opposite modern Aswan in the Nile and has been settled since time immemorial, and its fortress city of Yebu or Abu, became the border post between Egypt and Nubia early in the Old Kingdom. Local governors, known as the "Guardians of the Southern Gates", were responsible for border security and trade with Nubia, for huge quarries for fine red granite, and mining in the desert hinterland of amethysts, quartzite, copper, tin and malachite.

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