By Catarina Redisch in Aswan, Egypt
Aswan is a city on the Nile, and very interesting, especially if you like extremes. Did you know that Aswan is one of the driest places on earth?
Aswan High Dam
If you like extremes, you’ll really like the Aswan High Dam, one of the greatest engineering projects of all time. This dam created one of the largest lakes in the world, Lake Nasser.
Looks pretty and peaceful, doesn’t it? But did you know this lake is full of crocodiles? And that one of those crocodiles can eat 150 kilos of fish every day?!
To create Lake Nasser, almost 100 000 people had to move. Abu Simbel had to be moved, too. That’s one of the most famous Egyptian temples. My sister got up at 3am to catch the bus from Aswan to Abu Simbel.
With kids in Aswan
I was only 6 when we were there, so mum thought it would be more fun for me to stay in Aswan. We spent the morning walking around, dodging hawkers (mum says lah, shukran in a firm voice), eating street food and just hanging around the fountains and the playgrounds.
We also rode in a caleche, a horse-driven carriage. Mum thought they drove too fast in the crazy Egyptian traffic, but I didn’t mind.
The unfinished obelisk
When the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids and temples and obelisks, they used stones from the quarries here in Aswan. The unfinished obelisk is still here. Archaeologists think this was going to be Hatshepsut’s obelisk. She was a pharaoh we heard lots about in Karnak. It wasn’t easy being a woman pharaoh in those days.
There are so many boats sailing up and down the Nile, they sometimes double- and triple park. To get to our boat, we had to walk through two others.
On the river
We sailed in a felucca on the Nile and saw lots of people in tiny, little boats.
Here’s the Old Cataract hotel where we had afternoon tea.
In the Nile, there are several islands. There’s Kitchener Island with a botanical garden which is nice and cool. Then there’s Elephantine Island, where people still speak an ancient language called Nubian. On Elephantine, I saw baby crocodiles, which I loved.
In the evening, we took a small boat across Lake Nasser (which is full of crocodiles, remember), to Philae, where we saw a cool sound and light show about Isis and Osiris, two of the most important gods for the ancient Egyptians.
So there was lots to do in Aswan and I wouldn’t mind going back now that I’m older.
The temples at Philae and the granite quarries at Aswan are parts of the UNESCO World Heritage site Nubian Monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae.