Aswan is the southernmost city in Egypt, along the river Nile bank. Known as 'Sono', it was once the commercial center of Egypt and houses 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to date. It is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the category of craft and folk art. Popular amongst history geeks, Aswan lives as a cemetery for the Nubian kings who once ruled this province. Aswan is surrounded by the golden desert and emerald islands and has been rightly regarded as the 'Land of Gold' for decades. It houses several ancient sites, like the Philae temple complex on Agilkia Island near the landmark Aswan Dam.
Aswan is often regarded as one the most beautiful riverine cities and is an ideal place to relax by the corniche. Several islands are located in close proximity to this Egyptian marvel, including Kitchener's Island, Agilkia island and Elephantine Island. Legends say that the Elephantines were the origin of the river Nile. The monastery of Simon and ancient tombs of Egyptian rulers like the mausoleum of Aga Khan are other popular tourist spots that one should not miss out on when in Aswan.
Far more relaxed than Cairo and Luxor, Aswan is a great retreat for those who like a little bit of history and country-style vacations. In addition, it has preserved its heritage well in monuments such as the International Symposium of Sculpture, the Aswan Folk Troupe, and the Nubian Museum. Now developed into an urban town, Aswan boasts a rich cultural side with over 50 folk dances, art forms and literature.
For people who enjoy a more urban holiday, Aswan has got visitors' popular traditional felucca cruises that would take you in the middle of the turquoise waters with their contrasting white sails. In addition, the downtown area of Aswan has several bars and rooftop restaurants offering delightful meals and entertainers at night. One of the most popular things in Aswan is to go for a desert hike. The trail around the western bank of the river Nile is particularly famous among tourists.
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