Nilometer of Khnum


The Nilometer of the Temple of Khnum (plaque number 7) is below the southern balustrade of the temple. Built in the 26th dynasty, the Nilometer's stone stairs lead down to a small basin for measuring the Nile’s maximum level. Another stairway, with a scale etched into its wall, leads to the water from the basin’s northern end.

Heavenly portents and priestly prophecies aside, in ancient times only the Nilometer could give a real indication of the likelihood of a bountiful harvest. When the Nilometer here in the southern frontier town recorded a high water level, it meant a good harvest, which in turn meant more taxes.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Aswan attractions

1. Nilometer of Satet

0.02 MILES

Descending to the river’s edge from beneath a sycamore tree near the Aswan Museum is the Nilometer of the Satet Temple (plaque number 10). Built in late…

2. Aswan Museum

0.04 MILES

The modern annexe of the museum has reopened with a delightful collection of objects, from weapons, pottery and utensils to statues, encased mummies and…

3. Ruins of Abu

0.11 MILES

The evocative ruins of ancient Abu and the Aswan Museum (partially closed for renovation) lie at Elephantine Island's southern tip. Numbered plaques and…

4. Nubia Museum


The little-visited Nubia Museum, opposite Basma Hotel, is a treat, a showcase of the history, art and culture of Nubia. Established in 1997 in cooperation…

5. Elephantine Island

0.36 MILES

Elephantine Island's southern end comprises the site of ancient Abu. Its name meant both 'elephant' and 'ivory' in ancient Egyptian, a reminder of the…

6. Corniche

0.44 MILES

Walking along the Corniche and watching the sunset over the islands and desert across the Nile is a favourite pastime in Aswan. The view from riverside…

7. Fatimid Cemetery

0.49 MILES

Among the modern graves are some ruined mud-brick domed tombs, some of which go back to the Fatimid period (9th century). The domes are built on a drum…

8. Animalia

0.57 MILES

This is a small but charming museum run by Mohamed Sobhi, a Nubian guide, and his family, who have dedicated part of their large house to the traditions,…