Aswan is ancient and lovely city traditionally regarded as the southern gateway to Egypt, situated at the First Cataract (whitewater) on the east bank of the Nile, approximately 750 miles from the Mediterranean. Surrounded by the Nubian Desert, Aswan seems a world away from the political and religious conflicts of the Middle East. The city provides a base for travelers to visit the great temples of Philae and Abu Simbel, but its clear skies, benign winter climate, exquisite scenery and fascinating river life also make it a delightful place in which to relax. Other notable attractions include the Nubian Museum, the only museum in the world dedicated to the artifacts and culture of the “Land of Gold,” as ancient Nubia was known to the Pharaohs; Elephantine Island, home to temple ruins and the Aswan Museum; the Aswan Botanical Garden on a neighboring island; the “Unfinished Obelisk” in an ancient quarry; the evocative ruins the 7th-century Monastery of St. Simeon across the Nile; and the Aswan High Dam. 

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