Aswan, a city which was once the gateway to the ancient Kingdom of Nubia, is today renowned for its beauty and the hospitality of the Nubian people.
The beautiful city lies on the ancient route between Egypt and its southern territories, about 890 km south of Cairo. Though, today most travelers come to Aswan as part of a relaxing cruise. As with 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 Ramses II.
Abu Simbel is situated on the shores of Lake Nasser and can be reached from Aswan by road or air. A spectacular event happens at the Temple twice a year. The sun rays reach the innermost sanctuary to illuminate his statue on February 22 (The day of his accession to the throne) and again on October 22 (his birthday). Four colossal statues of Ramses II, 20 m high, set in pairs flank the entrance to the temple.
Cruise down Lake Nasser from Aswan to Abu Simbel and have a candlelight dinner overlooking the temple.
THE ISLAND OF PHILAE
Half a dozen graceful temples were on the Island of Philae, which was the center for worshipping goddess Isis, nearly two miles south of Aswan. Every year, these temples are under water from December to May as the sluices are kept closed and shyly peep out when the same sluices are opened up from June to November. But in a spectacular rescue operation, the great temples and monuments of Philae were pulled out of the water and re-erected on a nearby island (Agilika lsland about 500m. from Philae Island) , now renamed Philae. The original island is now completely submerged under the waters of Lake Nasser.
The temple, dedicated to the goddess Isis, is in a beautiful setting which has been landscaped to match its original site. Its various shrines and sanctuaries, which include a temple of Hathor, a Birth House and two pylons, celebrate all the deities involved in the Isis and Osiris myth.