Aswan, Egypt

Where the Nile Welcomes the Black Africa

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Elder passes by a closed communications and electronic services bank on Elephantine Island.
a strange expedition
Caravan of foreign visitors on camels and guides advances into the desert.
head load
Nubian resident balances a container in one of the many colorful alleys of Elephantine Island.
Divine Keychain
Abdul Kareem, Nubian guardian of the temple of Ramses II.
1200km upstream of its delta, the Nile is no longer navigable. The last of the great Egyptian cities marks the fusion between Arab and Nubian territory. Since its origins in Lake Victoria, the river has given life to countless African peoples with dark complexions.

We arrived informed that Aswan was one of the sunniest, driest and hottest cities in the world.

The new day proved it.

Soon, we would be toasted by a scorching sun and well over 40 degrees.

We had awakened to the fabulous sight of a multicolored houses and gaudy as if stranded in the middle of the river.

The picturesque view revealed itself to us over the dawn and took hold for a long time.

When it came time to decide where we wanted to turn first in greater Aswan, Elephantine Island – the former military and religious headquarters of the mighty kingdom of Abu – of which it was a part, proved to be a priority.

We climbed the ship's gangway ladder, took a few dozen steps, and then descended another one that led to a small covered jetty.

From there, ferries departed, crossing one of the two arms of the Nile, both created by the destiny we desired, a few dozen meters away.

Located just north of the first of the Nile Falls – there are several in this stretch – Elephantine Island was home to the oldest settlement in Aswan.

Multicolored houses of small traditional villages on Elephantine Island, Siou and Koti.

It was known as Abu, a term that meant both elephant and ivory in ancient Egyptian and which, like the present one, reflected the importance the island then had in the ivory trade.

Around 3000 BC, it received a fortress that marked the last southern border of the Egyptian peoples and housed the armies that faced the feared enemy of the south, Nubia.

Three thousand years ago, the inhabitants of Abu worshiped dozens of assorted deities, many of them borrowed from neighbors to the north.

Times are different. Several centuries after the Mohammedan sandstorm that swept across North Africa, most of the people of Aswan also became Islamized and dressed and behaved accordingly.

Resident carries a gas canister. A donkey carries them both.

Also during the crossing, one of several male passengers with long beards and an austere face told me: “you are in an area just for women.

You have to change places.” I followed the rule, kept them company and, everything led to believe, in the name of Islam, I was forced to leave Sara alone in the moments of navigation that remained.

Once landed on the island, we soon realized that we were the only outsiders to wander around with cameras hanging around our necks and that the residents of both Siou and Koti – as the villages were called – fled or protected themselves from them.

Nubian resident passes through a soil semi-watered by washed clothes, in Elephantine.

We let ourselves get lost in the alleys and alleys without any fear. Wherever we were on the long island, we had only to travel less than a quarter of a mile to the west or east and we would return to the shores.

In the far south, further away, we would find the ancient ruins of Abu, a temple complex erected in honor of the ram-head god Khnum, creator of humanity and the flood. Other heads occupied different places.

Nile crocodile skulls grace the entrance to a craft store on Elephantine Island.

In the heyday of that civilization, the two concepts went hand in hand as only the steep rise of the Nile waters made life viable.

Frequent sacrifices were carried out in order to condition the timing and volume of the floods.

But only the several millimeters installed on Elephantine Island gave a reliable indication of the levels of the Nile, the abundance of crops and the royal taxes associated with them.

Multicolored houses of small traditional villages on Elephantine Island, Siou and Koti.

Instead of the old temple city of Abu, the one that the imposition of Christianity for the integration of this area into the Roman Empire took away its meaning in the century. IV AD, Siou and Koti were very much alive.

In its narrow arteries, women talked, took care of the children.

And they hid their faces or ranted – usually in a motherly and affectionate way, in the good Nubian fashion – every time we dared to point a camera in their direction.

Elderly resident of Elephantine Island protects herself from the photographic interest of foreign visitors.

We found them almost always sitting on cement or adobe benches, providential street furniture attached to the base of their colored houses that provided them with long moments of socializing outdoors.

Meanwhile, the men took care of maintenance tasks or the family's pets.

Two young women converse in the late afternoon, against one of Elephant Island's many colorful facades.

We arrived mid-morning. The sun heats Aswan. From the city, we had only explored that small rustic stronghold. But, there was more, much more.

Apart from being sunny, hot and dry, Aswan was the last of the great Egyptian cities.

It had a population of 1.4 million that continued to grow, largely due to its status as an administrative capital, a regional bureaucratic and university center.

At the height of summer, Aswan allowed himself to be numbed by the panting heat. But during peak season, when all Nile cruises seemed to dump passengers at their docks, the city became almost as frenetic as the famous Luxor.

It won't be new.

The ancient documents identifying it as Swenet (an old Egyptian word for trade) narrated it as the last Egyptian frontier, the military garrison prepared for military clashes against Nubia but also as a thriving market town at the crossroads of various caravan routes.

These days, the local souq is, by the way, one of the largest and most exotic outside Cairo.

In ancient times, Aswan was still home to numerous quarries that provided the raw material for the pyramids, temples, colossal statues and millenary obelisks that visitors to Egypt continue to enjoy in Cairo, Alexandria and Nile above or below.

The Ancient Egyptians guided their life priority according to the flow of the Nile waters. Thus, Swenet was considered the city that opened the kingdom.

Fallucas furrow the deep waters of the Nile River which, soon, upstream, will no longer be navigable.

Just like today, shortly after the First Cataract, navigation was possible to the Mediterranean Delta.

Upstream, apart from the funneling of the river and countless other geological obstacles, at the end of the XNUMXth century, pressured by the uncontrolled growth of the Egyptian population, the British settlers endowed the Nile with what, to date, became the largest dam in the world .

Later, a second dam would be opened six kilometers above, the Barragem Alta.

Currently, the oldest is only a tourist attraction.

Were it not for the long (1960-1980) Nubian Rescue Campaign of UNESCO and other institutions, and Nubian's sublime millenary heritage such as the Temple of Isis (on the island of Philae) and the temple of Abu Simbel would have been destroyed forever by the artificial ascent from the waters of the Nile and Lake Nasser.

Guardians of the temple of Ramses II converse at the base of one of the monument's huge statues.

In the case of Abu Simbel, for four years, a multidisciplinary and international team had to divide it into 2000 blocks weighing between 10 and 40 tons.

He rebuilt it inside a mountain 210 meters from the water and 65 meters higher.

"Wake up friends, don't be mummies!" the guide Edid shouts at us, wanting to make sure his group is all on foot. It's three in the morning. We wake up with the ill disposition of a deceived pharaoh.

Only gradually, with the warmth of the packed breakfast, we were able to depart from the cruise anchored in Aswan to the last of the archaeological complexes.

The village of Abu Simbel was located almost 300 km to the south and a mere 40 km from the border with Sudan, therefore, in territory that the Egyptian authorities considered problematic. For this reason, we join a caravan of jeeps that travels the route at high speed.

We are the first to arrive. And to be detected by the colossal sentinels who guard the south from the great temple that Ramses II dedicated to himself and to the gods Ra-Horakhty, Amun and Ptah.

The four colossal statues of Pharaoh Ramses II at Abu Simbel.

We challenged them, on our own, for almost twenty minutes. Until the rest of the caravan brings the crowd and it's time to anticipate the return to Aswan.

That afternoon, the wind blows over the desert earlier than usual and the fellucas soon invaded the Nile with their shark fin-shaped sails well stretched, probing for passengers.

We admired the enchanting view of the high eastern bank of the Nile and conjectured that one of those fellucas could lead us to an even better view of Aswan.

Open tourist boat travels along one of the arms of the Nile River along the Elephantine Island that divides it.

We crossed once more to Elephantine. It was on a makeshift dock on the other side of the island that we inaugurated this quest.

The polyglot Nubian Mustafa appears to us in a gray jillaba, more than smiling, obviously in good spirits: "Shall we sail then?" start by asking us, in English, just to make conversation.

the you

We had only set sail half a minute ago when he confesses to us his relief in a dramatized but comical way: “you saved me for good! They know that my wife always has to eat meat. If I don't take it to you, bite my arms!"

The conversation remains more fun than formative. However, we arrived on the sandy west bank of the Nile, from where a huge group of outsiders had just left on camels for the desert.

We, keep the plane of supreme sight. We point to the heights of the tomb of Aga Khan III, the 48th Imam, founder and first president of the Muslim League, protector of Muslim rights in India.

From there, with the sun almost setting, we admired the flow of the forked Nile and, again, the smooth navigation of the fellucas, then, the dense and green palm grove and, behind, the shapeless and desert-colored houses of Aswan.

A felluca navigates the Nile with the houses of Aswan beyond the eastern bank.

From a distance, we also distinguish the old Old Cataract Hotel, which promotes itself with the historical fact that Agatha Christie wrote part of her famous novel “Death on the Nile” there and that would be used as one of the scenarios of the film adaptation with Peter Ustinov and Mia Farrow.

In the film, Simon Doyle murders his wife and wealthy heiress Linnet Ridgeway with the complicity of his mistress Jacqueline.

Everything happens on board the cruise SS Karnak in a troubled navigation along the “blood of Egypt” which, taking into account the sequence of stopovers, would prove completely impossible in the true scenario.

The Nile we admired, this one, couldn't be more real.

Falluca on the Nile River off Aswan and Elephantine.

it came from the depths of the lake victoria and from Africa.

White Desert, Egypt

The Egyptian Shortcut to Mars

At a time when conquering the solar system's neighbor has become an obsession, an eastern section of the Sahara Desert is home to a vast related landscape. Instead of the estimated 150 to 300 days to reach Mars, we took off from Cairo and, in just over three hours, we took our first steps into the Oasis of Bahariya. All around, almost everything makes us feel about the longed-for Red Planet.
luxor, Egypt

From Luxor to Thebes: Journey to Ancient Egypt

Thebes was raised as the new supreme capital of the Egyptian Empire, the seat of Amon, the God of Gods. Modern Luxor inherited the Temple of Karnak and its sumptuousness. Between one and the other flow the sacred Nile and millennia of dazzling history.
Chiang Khong - Luang Prabang , Laos

Slow Boat, Down the Mekong River

Laos' beauty and lower cost are good reasons to sail between Chiang Khong and Luang Prabang. But this long descent of the Mekong River can be as exhausting as it is picturesque.
Chobe NP, Botswana

Chobe: A River on the Border of Life with Death

Chobe marks the divide between Botswana and three of its neighboring countries, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. But its capricious bed has a far more crucial function than this political delimitation.
Mount Sinai, Egypt

Strength in the Legs, Faith in God

Moses received the Ten Commandments on the summit of Mount Sinai and revealed them to the people of Israel. Today, hundreds of pilgrims climb, every night, the 4000 steps of that painful but mystical ascent.
Dawki, India

Dawki, Dawki, Bangladesh on sight

We descended from the high and mountainous lands of Meghalaya to the flats to the south and below. There, the translucent and green stream of the Dawki forms the border between India and Bangladesh. In a damp heat that we haven't felt for a long time, the river also attracts hundreds of Indians and Bangladeshis in a picturesque escape.
Okavango Delta, Botswana

Not all rivers reach the sea

Third longest river in southern Africa, the Okavango rises in the Angolan Bié plateau and runs 1600km to the southeast. It gets lost in the Kalahari Desert where it irrigates a dazzling wetland teeming with wildlife.
manaus, Brazil

The Jumps and Starts of the former World Rubber Capital

From 1879 to 1912, only the Amazon River basin generated the latex that, from one moment to another, the world needed and, out of nowhere, Manaus became one of the most advanced cities on the face of the Earth. But an English explorer took the tree to Southeast Asia and ruined pioneer production. Manaus once again proved its elasticity. It is the largest city in the Amazon and the seventh in Brazil.
Matmata Tataouine:  Tunisia

Star Wars Earth Base

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Tataouine, Tunisia

Festival of the Ksour: Sand Castles That Don't Collapse

The ksour were built as fortifications by the Berbers of North Africa. They resisted Arab invasions and centuries of erosion. Every year, the Festival of the Ksour pays them the due homage.
Rhinoceros, PN Kaziranga, Assam, India
PN Kaziranga, India

The Indian Monoceros Stronghold

Situated in the state of Assam, south of the great Brahmaputra river, PN Kaziranga occupies a vast area of ​​alluvial swamp. Two-thirds of the rhinocerus unicornis around the world, there are around 100 tigers, 1200 elephants and many other animals. Pressured by human proximity and the inevitable poaching, this precious park has not been able to protect itself from the hyperbolic floods of the monsoons and from some controversies.
Mount Lamjung Kailas Himal, Nepal, altitude sickness, mountain prevent treat, travel
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 2th - Chame a Upper BananaNepal

(I) Eminent Annapurnas

We woke up in Chame, still below 3000m. There we saw, for the first time, the snowy and highest peaks of the Himalayas. From there, we set off for another walk along the Annapurna Circuit through the foothills and slopes of the great mountain range. towards Upper Banana.
holy plain, Bagan, Myanmar
Architecture & Design
Bagan, Myanmar

The Plain of Pagodas, Temples and other Heavenly Redemptions

Burmese religiosity has always been based on a commitment to redemption. In Bagan, wealthy and fearful believers continue to erect pagodas in hopes of winning the benevolence of the gods.

Mountains of Fire

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Camel Racing, Desert Festival, Sam Sam Dunes, Rajasthan, India
Ceremonies and Festivities
Jaisalmer, India

There's a Feast in the Thar Desert

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Key West Wall, Florida Keys, United States
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The Tropical Wild West of the USA

We've come to the end of the Overseas Highway and the ultimate stronghold of propagandism Florida Keys. The continental United States here they surrender to a dazzling turquoise emerald marine vastness. And to a southern reverie fueled by a kind of Caribbean spell.
Singapore Asian Capital Food, Basmati Bismi

The Asian Food Capital

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Garranos gallop across the plateau above Castro Laboreiro, PN Peneda-Gerês, Portugal
Castro Laboreiro, Portugal  

From Castro de Laboreiro to the Rim of the Peneda – Gerês Range

We arrived at (i) the eminence of Galicia, at an altitude of 1000m and even more. Castro Laboreiro and the surrounding villages stand out against the granite monumentality of the mountains and the Planalto da Peneda and Laboreiro. As do its resilient people who, sometimes handed over to Brandas and sometimes to Inverneiras, still call these stunning places home.
Swimming, Western Australia, Aussie Style, Sun rising in the eyes
Busselton, Australia

2000 meters in Aussie Style

In 1853, Busselton was equipped with one of the longest pontoons in the world. World. When the structure collapsed, the residents decided to turn the problem around. Since 1996 they have been doing it every year. Swimming.
New South Wales Australia, Beach walk
Batemans Bay to Jervis Bay, Australia

New South Wales, from Bay to Bay

With Sydney behind us, we indulged in the Australian “South Coast”. Along 150km, in the company of pelicans, kangaroos and other peculiar creatures aussie, we let ourselves get lost on a coastline cut between stunning beaches and endless eucalyptus groves.
Karanga ethnic musicians join the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
Great ZimbabweZimbabwe

Great Zimbabwe, Little Bira Dance

Karanga natives of the KwaNemamwa village display traditional Bira dances to privileged visitors to the ruins of Great Zimbabwe. the most iconic place in Zimbabwe, the one who, after the decree of colonial Rhodesia's independence, inspired the name of the new and problematic nation.  
Portfolio, Got2Globe, Best Images, Photography, Images, Cleopatra, Dioscorides, Delos, Greece
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

The Earthly and the Celestial

Sesimbra, Vila, Portugal, View from the top
Sesimbra, Portugal

A Village Touched by Midas

It's not just Praia da California and Praia do Ouro that close it to the south. Sheltered from the furies of the West Atlantic, gifted with other immaculate coves and endowed with centuries-old fortifications, Sesimbra is today a precious fishing and bathing haven.
Palm trees of San Cristobal de La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Tenerife, Canary Islands

East of White Mountain Island

The almost triangular Tenerife has its center dominated by the majestic volcano Teide. At its eastern end, there is another rugged domain, even so, the place of the island's capital and other unavoidable villages, with mysterious forests and incredible abrupt coastlines.
Boats on ice, Hailuoto Island, Finland.
Winter White
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

During winter, the island of Hailuoto is connected to the rest of Finland by the country's longest ice road. Most of its 986 inhabitants esteem, above all, the distance that the island grants them.
On the Crime and Punishment trail, St. Petersburg, Russia, Vladimirskaya
Saint Petersburg, Russia

On the Trail of "Crime and Punishment"

In St. Petersburg, we cannot resist investigating the inspiration for the base characters in Fyodor Dostoevsky's most famous novel: his own pities and the miseries of certain fellow citizens.
Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
Great Ocean Road, Australia

Ocean Out, along the Great Australian South

One of the favorite escapes of the Australian state of Victoria, via B100 unveils a sublime coastline that the ocean has shaped. We only needed a few kilometers to understand why it was named The Great Ocean Road.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Glass Bottom Boats, Kabira Bay, Ishigaki
Natural Parks
Ishigaki, Japan

The Exotic Japanese Tropics

Ishigaki is one of the last islands in the stepping stone that stretches between Honshu and Taiwan. Ishigakijima is home to some of the most amazing beaches and coastal scenery in these parts of the Pacific Ocean. More and more Japanese who visit them enjoy them with little or no bathing.
Tequila, Jalisco City, Mexico, Jima
UNESCO World Heritage
Tequila, JaliscoMexico

Tequila: The Distillation of Western Mexico that Animates the World

Disillusioned with the lack of wine and brandy, the Conquistadors of Mexico improved the millenary indigenous aptitude for producing alcohol. In the XNUMXth century, the Spaniards were satisfied with their pinga and began to export it. From Tequila, town, today, the center of a demarcated region. And the name for which it became famous.
Look-alikes, Actors and Extras

Make-believe stars

They are the protagonists of events or are street entrepreneurs. They embody unavoidable characters, represent social classes or epochs. Even miles from Hollywood, without them, the world would be more dull.
Moorea aerial view
Moorea, French Polynesia

The Polynesian Sister Any Island Would Like to Have

A mere 17km from Tahiti, Moorea does not have a single city and is home to a tenth of its inhabitants. Tahitians have long watched the sun go down and transform the island next door into a misty silhouette, only to return to its exuberant colors and shapes hours later. For those who visit these remote parts of the Pacific, getting to know Moorea is a double privilege.
Prayer flags in Ghyaru, Nepal
Annapurna Circuit: 4th – Upper Banana to Ngawal, Nepal

From Nightmare to Dazzle

Unbeknownst to us, we are faced with an ascent that leads us to despair. We pulled our strength as far as possible and reached Ghyaru where we felt closer than ever to the Annapurnas. The rest of the way to Ngawal felt like a kind of extension of the reward.
On Rails
On Rails

Train Travel: The World Best on Rails

No way to travel is as repetitive and enriching as going on rails. Climb aboard these disparate carriages and trains and enjoy the best scenery in the world on Rails.
U Bein Bridge, Amarapura, Myanmar
u-bein BridgeMyanmar

The Twilight of the Bridge of Life

At 1.2 km, the oldest and longest wooden bridge in the world allows the Burmese of Amarapura to experience Lake Taungthaman. But 160 years after its construction, U Bein is in its twilight.
Busy intersection of Tokyo, Japan
Daily life
Tokyo, Japan

The Endless Night of the Rising Sun Capital

Say that Tokyo do not sleep is an understatement. In one of the largest and most sophisticated cities on the face of the Earth, twilight marks only the renewal of the frenetic daily life. And there are millions of souls that either find no place in the sun, or make more sense in the “dark” and obscure turns that follow.
female and cub, grizzly footsteps, katmai national park, alaska
PN Katmai, Alaska

In the Footsteps of the Grizzly Man

Timothy Treadwell spent summers on end with the bears of Katmai. Traveling through Alaska, we followed some of its trails, but unlike the species' crazy protector, we never went too far.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.