Excursion to Aswan: Aswan Dam and Sights
During the excursion to Aswan you can see not only the sights of this city and the Aswan dam, but also the Nubian village, and the local botanical garden. The excursion to Aswan is usually combined with visiting another important Egyptian landmark of Abu Simbel temples, which you can read about in our other review .
The dam itself and the hydroelectric power station are not very interesting for tourists. Of course, if you have never seen such a structure, then it can greatly impress you. When you stand on the dam, think that you have under your feet a building height of 110 meters.
In comparison with our Krasnoyarsk and Sayano-Shushenskaya HPPs, the Aswan HPP looks modest. And in the rating of the largest hydroelectric power stations it occupies a very modest 70th place. Of course, an interesting structure, you can see, but there is really nothing to admire.
But, for Egypt, this hydro power plant is the largest and most important source of electricity for the country, in addition, the dam controls the water level in the Nile River, it was after its construction that the floods of the Nile, which often caused floods, ceased.
For Russian tourists this building is interesting to others, the fact is that it was built by Soviet engineers. Aswan has a monument to the Arab-Soviet friendship, which is one of the main attractions of the city.
You see it in the photo on the left. It was built in 1970 in honor of the opening of the Aswan hydroelectric complex.
To be honest, the frankness of this friendship is a little strained, if not more, President Nasser skillfully maneuvered between the US and the USSR in the negotiations on construction. Both superpowers were interested in construction, they wanted to get a strong ally in the Middle East. Nasser arranged some kind of competition, although it was clear that it would be problematic to have Egypt and Israel at the same time in the allies.
As a result, construction was carried out by the USSR, having paid from its budget about one-third of the cost. The rest of the Soviet Union gave Egypt a debt, some of these debts were later written off. The expected turn to socialism in Egypt did not take place, by and large, no serious advantages of the USSR from this friendship have been received.
On one of the walls of the monument are two emblems, the first coat of arms of the Soviet Union, the second belongs to the Arab Republic of Egypt, and the quotation of Gamal Abdel Nasser. If you find it difficult to read this inscription on this picture, then a photo of a higher resolution, as well as other photos of this monument, you can see in our gallery photo of the excursion to Aswan .
The Aswan dam not only generates energy, it also has several important functions. Before its construction, the Nile River was flooded every year, the water level in the river could rise up to 8 meters and the coastal cities simply flooded. For agriculture, this was also not very convenient, the fields were simply washed off with water.
Now the level of the river is controlled here, the Nile no longer spills, and in the delta there is an organized irrigation system of the fields, the Egyptians harvest three crops a year. Of course, not everything is so wonderful, the dam caused a lot of environmental problems, because it did not let down the mud, which from time immemorial was a natural fertilizer for soil in the delta.
During the construction, an extensive reservoir was to be formed, which is now called Lake Nasser, in honor of the second president of Egypt. Several important historical monuments were to be flooded.
The largest monument was a complex of temples of Abu Simbel . All of them were simply sawn into blocks and moved to other places, there were 22 such transfers.
The Egyptians are still solving various problems related to the dam. The level of water in the lake Nasser is constantly rising, it is constantly digging canals to withdraw water from it, otherwise the dam may simply not survive, though, and it is built with a large margin of safety. Soils in the Nile Delta are degrading, fish in the Mediterranean Sea have become much less and this is not a complete list of the negative consequences of the construction of the Aswan HPP.
The next interesting place in Aswan is the botanical garden. Many readers will ask, what can be unusual in the botanical garden? The fact is that Aswan is one of the driest places on our planet where people live. The norm of precipitation in Aswan is 500 times less than in the middle part of Russia, rain is there once every few years.
It is on the contrast of the desert, the river, and the whole island of greenery and the main impression of the botanical garden in Aswan is based.
In the Botanical Gardens tourists are carried on small motor boats or on sailing boats called feluks, they are easily recognized by an oblique sail, sometimes there are combinations of motor and sails on one boat. Of course, these ships look rather "flimsy", but, on the other hand, there are no storms or disturbances on Lake Nasser or in the Nile itself.
This is a very pleasant place to walk, there are a lot of trees, flowers and other greenery, there are also birds walking in the garden, it looks like it is shown in the photo below.
There is nothing special to say about the garden, you need to watch and walk. More photos of the botanical garden in Aswan see in our photo gallery .
The third place where tourists go during the excursion to Aswan is the Nubian village. Nubians lived in these places since ancient times, perhaps, from the whole population of Egypt they can be called the most radical.
Most of the country's inhabitants, Arabs, indigenous Egyptians can not be named, they came here in the 6th century AD, during the conquest of the Arab Caliphate. Copts who consider themselves indigenous Egyptians, of course, have some reason to call themselves that, but from the ancient Egyptians, the builders of the pyramids, there is not much left in them.
Nubians lived here always, they have no relation to the construction of the pyramids and temples, they represent a completely different nationality than the inhabitants of ancient Egypt and the modern population of the country.
They are very easy to recognize due to dark skin, but they do not belong to the Negroid race. Their features are more like Arabs. They are more correctly called Ethiopians.
The number of this people is small, no one will say the exact figure, but it certainly does not exceed two million people, this figure includes all Nubians who live on the territory of Egypt and neighboring Sudan.
In ancient times, there were ancient Nubian states, which were called Nubia, from the ancient Egyptian word "noob", which translated as gold, it really produced gold.
As a transport to the Nuba village, camels are used. Camels are not necessary transport, to walk from the boat to the village it would be possible to walk or drive on any transport. Simply on camels it is more interesting.
In the village you look at the life of modern Nubians, in which you will find almost nothing ancient. These people do not live according to ancient covenants, they have electrical appliances and other benefits of civilization.
In the village there is a huge number of souvenir shops, so big that it raises doubts whether you have come for an excursion, or for a shopping tour. Souvenirs are colorful and interesting, the assortment differs from the standard set in souvenir shops in the resorts. See more photos in our gallery .
There are many items with African motifs, especially interesting ritual masks. Some of them scare away evil spirits, some are just for decoration. It is difficult to learn, since the local residents hardly speak Russian or English. Of course, if you meet an elderly person, then he is likely to speak Russian, since Soviet engineers and workers have built the Aswan dam for over 10 years, but the rest of the population speaks languages very badly.
In the Nubian village there is a special entertainment, right in the village bred crocodiles. The famous Nile crocodile, once the most formidable predator along the entire coast of the Nile from Sudan to the Mediterranean, is now almost completely defeated by man.
In the wild, it almost does not occur, but many farms have been established for the artificial cultivation of these animals. One of these farms is located directly in the village and all tourists are allowed to touch the small crocodiles.
Warning, be careful, crocodiles, of course, small, but they can bite, their jaws are strong enough. Do not hold your fingers to the mouth of the animal, it has a good reaction and developed reflexes.
Excursions in Aswan are different in composition, except for places that we told about in this article, in the city there are still the ruins of an ancient Egyptian temple, the ruins of a monastery and other interesting places. We hope that we will talk about them in the pages of chinainfoguide.info. We recommend to see the photo gallery for this excursion , there are interesting photo materials.
Read our other articles about Egypt, do not hesitate to contact us and we wish you interesting excursions.
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