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أسوان  (Arabic)
Ⲥⲟⲩⲁⲛ  (Coptic)
Philae Island, Aswan.jpg
Al Khattarah Aswan Bridge.jpg
Aswan souq.jpg
Aswan Philae temple pavilion.jpg
Aswan,fatimid cem.jpg
معبد فيلة ..اسوان.jpg
Aswan Nubian Museum entrance.jpg
From top, left to right:
Philae Island, Khattarah Bridge, Aswan Old Town Souk, Philae temple pavilion, Aswan Fatimid Cemetery, Elephantine Island, Nubian Museum
Aswan is located in Egypt
Location within Egypt
Coordinates: 24°05′20″N 32°53′59″E / 24.08889°N 32.89972°E / 24.08889; 32.89972Coordinates: 24°05′20″N 32°53′59″E / 24.08889°N 32.89972°E / 24.08889; 32.89972
194 m (636 ft)
 • Total1,568,000
Time zoneUTC+2 (EST)
Area code(s)(+20) 97

Aswan (/æsˈwɑːn, ɑːs-/, also US: /ˈæswɑːn, ˈɑːs-, ˈæz-/;[1][2][3][4] Arabic: أسوان‎, romanizedʾAswān [ʔɑsˈwɑːn]; Coptic: Ⲥⲟⲩⲁⲛ, romanized: Souan pronounced [swaːn]) 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]

Aswan is a large tourist city where the current population is 1,568,000.[6]

Other spellings and variations[edit]

Aswan was formerly spelled Assuan or Assouan. Names in other languages include (Arabic: أسوان‎, romanizedʾAswān; Ancient Egyptian: Swenett; Coptic: Ⲥⲟⲩⲁⲛ, romanized: Souan; Ancient Greek: Συήνη, romanizedSuēnē; proposed Biblical Hebrew: סְוֵנֵה). The Nubians also call the city Dib which means "fortress, palace" and is derived from the Old Nubian name ⲇⲡ̅ⲡⲓ.[7]


Era: Late Period
(664–332 BC)
Egyptian 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.[9] 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",[10] or "market".[11]

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.[9] 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.[12] The city is mentioned by numerous ancient writers, including Herodotus,[13] Strabo,[14] Stephanus of Byzantium,[15] Ptolemy,[16] Pliny the Elder,[17] Vitruvius,[18] and it appears on the Antonine Itinerary.[19] It may also be mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel and the Book of Isaiah.[20]

View from the west bank of the Nile, islands, and Aswan

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 favorable weather.

Archaeological findings[edit]

In April 2018, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities announced the discovery of the head of the bust of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius at the Temple of Kom Ombo during work to protect the site from groundwater.[21][22][23]

In September 2018, the Egyptian Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enany announced that a sandstone sphinx statue had been discovered at the temple of Kom Ombo. The statue, measuring approximately 28 cm (11 in) in width and 38 cm (15 in) in height, likely dates to the Ptolemaic Dynasty.[24][25][26]

Archaeologists discovered 35 mummified remains of Egyptians in a tomb in Aswan in 2019. Italian archaeologist Patrizia Piacentini and El-Enany both 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. Other than the mummies, artifacts 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.[27][28][29]

“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.[27][28][29]

In February 2021, archaeologists from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities announced the discovery of Ptolemaic period temple, a Roman fort, an early Coptic church and an inscription written in hieratic script at an archaeological site called Shiha Fort in Aswan. According to Mostafa Waziri, crumbling temple was decorated with palm leaf carvings and an incomplete sandstone panel that described a Roman emperor. According to researcher Abdel Badie, generally, the church contained ovens that were used to bake pottery, four rooms, a long hall, stairs, and stone tiles.[30][31]


Northern Tropic boundary

The latitude of the city that would become Aswan – located at 24° 5′ 23″ – was an object of great interest to the ancient geographers and mathematicians. They believed that it was seated immediately under the tropic, and that on the day of the summer solstice, a vertically positioned staff cast no shadow. They noted that the sun's disc was reflected in a deep well (or pit) at the 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.[citation needed] More than 2000 years ago Greek polymath Eratosthenes used this information to calculate earth's circumference.


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). 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). Summers are very prolonged and extremely hot with blazing sunshine although desert heat is dry. Winters are brief and pleasantly mild, though nights may be cool at times.

The climate of Aswan is extremely dry year-round, with less than 1 mm (0.04 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.[32]

Climate data for Aswan, Egypt
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
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) 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.0 0.25 0.0 0.0 0.85
Average relative humidity (%) 40 32 24 19 17 16 18 21 22 27 36 42 26.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 298.2 281.1 321.6 316.1 346.8 363.2 374.6 359.6 298.3 314.6 299.6 289.1 3,862.8
Source 1: World Meteorological Organization,[33]
Source 2: NOAA for mean temperatures, humidity, and sun,[34] Meteo Climat (extremes 1918–present)[32]


In 1999, South Valley University was inaugurated and it has three branches; Aswan, Qena and Hurghada. The university grew steadily and is now firmly established as an institution of higher education in Upper Egypt. The Aswan branch of Assiut University opened in 1973.

Aswan also houses the Aswan Higher Institute of Social Work, which was established in 1975.


Aswan is served by the Aswan International Airport. Train and bus service is also available. Taxis and rickshaws are used for transport.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns/Sister cities[edit]

Aswan is twinned with:


See also[edit]


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Aswan". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.
  1. ^ "Aswan". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  2. ^ "Aswan". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Archived from the original on April 3, 2019. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  3. ^ "Aswan" Archived 2019-04-03 at the Wayback Machine (US) and "Aswan". Oxford Dictionaries UK Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  4. ^ "Aswân". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  5. ^ Smith, Melanie K. (2016). Issues in cultural tourism studies. Routledge. ISBN 9781138785694. OCLC 932058870.
  6. ^ "Population of Egypt Now". Egypt Statistcs. central agency for public mobilization and statistics.
  7. ^ Hofmann, Inge (1986). Nubisches Wörterverzeichnis: Nubisch-deutsches und deutsch-nubisches Wörterverzeichnis nach dem Kenzi-Material des Samuel Ali Hisen (1863–1927). Bonn: Academia Richarz. p. 49.
  8. ^ Gauthier, Henri (1928). Dictionnaire des Noms Géographiques Contenus dans les Textes Hiéroglyphiques Vol. 5. p. 17.
  9. ^ a b Baines, John; Malek, Jaromir (March 1983). Atlas of Ancient Egypt (Cultural Atlas). New York, NY: Facts On File Inc. p. 240. ISBN 9780871963345.
  10. ^ Suʻād Māhir (1966). Muhafazat Al Gumhuriya Al Arabiya Al Mutaheda wa Asaraha al baqiah fi al asr al islamim. Majlis al-Aʻlá lil-Shuʼūn al-Islāmīyah.
  11. ^ James Henry Breasted (1912). A History of Egypt, from the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest. Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 7. Archived from the original on 2011-11-21. Retrieved 2015-04-27.
  12. ^ Dijkstra, J. Harm F. Religious Encounters on the Southern Egyptian Frontier in Late Antiquity (AD 298-642) Archived 2009-07-04 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ (ii. 30)
  14. ^ (ii. p. 133, xvii. p. 797, seq.)
  15. ^ (s. v.)
  16. ^ (vii. 5. § 15, viii. 15. § 15)
  17. ^ (ii. 73. s. 75, v. 10. s. 11, vi. 29. s. 34)
  18. ^ (De architectura, book viii. ch ii. § 6)
  19. ^ (p. 164)
  20. ^ Ezekiel 29:10, 30:6; Isaiah 49:12
  21. ^ "Shrine to Osiris and bust of Roman emperor found in Egypt". 2018-04-22. Retrieved 2020-12-28.
  22. ^ DPA, Daily Sabah with (2018-04-22). "Archeologists find Roman emperor bust, ancient shrine in Egypt". Daily Sabah. Retrieved 2020-12-28.
  23. ^ "Archaeologists find bust of Roman emperor in Egypt dig in Aswan". Arab News. 2018-04-22. Retrieved 2020-12-28.
  24. ^ "Archaeologists discover sphinx in Egyptian temple". Retrieved 2020-12-28.
  25. ^ Heffron, Claire (2018-09-17). "Archaeologists discover ancient sphinx in Egyptian temple". euronews. Retrieved 2020-12-28.
  26. ^ "Egyptian archaeologists find sphinx at Aswan temple". BBC News. 2018-09-17. Retrieved 2020-12-28.
  27. ^ a b Giuffrida, Angela (2019-04-24). "Mummified remains of 35 ancient Egyptians found in Aswan". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 2019-07-25. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  28. ^ a b Dixon, Emily (2019-04-25). "At least 34 mummies found in hidden Egyptian tomb". CNN Travel. Archived from the original on 2019-07-25. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  29. ^ a b "Egyptian necropolis with 35 mummies found - Culture". ANSAMed. 2019-04-23. Archived from the original on 2019-07-25. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  30. ^ "Ruins Of Ancient Ptolemaic Temple Discovered In Egypt - Greek City Times". Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  31. ^ February 2021, Laura Geggel-Editor 02. "Ruins of ancient church and temple discovered in Egypt". Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  32. ^ a b "Station Aswan" (in French). Meteo Climat. Archived from the original on July 13, 2019. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  33. ^ "Weather Information for Asswan". Archived from the original on July 10, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  34. ^ "Asswan Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved January 30, 2015.

External links[edit]