Sharia As Souq


Starting from the southern end, Sharia As Souq appears very much like the tourist bazaars all over Egypt, with slightly less persistent traders than elsewhere in the country trying to lure passers-by into their shops to buy scarves, perfume, spice and roughly carved copies of Pharaonic statues. But a closer look reveals more exotic elements. Traders sell Nubian talismans for good luck, colourful Nubian baskets and skullcaps, Sudanese swords, African masks, and enormous stuffed crocodiles and desert creatures.

Aswan is also famous for the quality of its fuul sudani (peanuts), henna powder (sold in different qualities) and dried hibiscus flowers (used to make the much-loved local drink karkadai).

The pace is slow, particularly in the late afternoon; the air has a slight whiff of sandalwood; and, as in ancient times, you may feel that Aswan is the gateway to Africa.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Aswan attractions

1. Tombs of the Nobles

0.73 MILES

The high cliffs opposite Aswan, just north of Kitchener’s Island, are honeycombed with the tombs of the governors, the Keepers of the Gate of the South,…

2. Western Quarry

0.75 MILES

Isolated in the desert to the west of the Tombs of the Nobles is the ancient Western Quarry, where stone for many ancient monuments – possibly including…

3. Animalia

0.79 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,…

4. Aswan Botanical Gardens


Kitchener’s Island, to the west of Elephantine Island, was given to Lord Horatio Kitchener in the 1890s when he was commander of the Egyptian army…

5. Corniche

0.88 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…

6. Elephantine Island

0.98 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…

7. Aswan Museum

1.27 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…

8. Nilometer of Satet

1.27 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…