Egypt Diary 3 | R D Mathur


Day four.

We had an early morning flight from Cairo to Aswan. While going to the Airport another myth about Egypt was broken. I saw girls out on streets of Cairo at 3 am walking without fear, unaccompanied by any male, something I haven't seen in India. Later I was told that Cairo never really sleeps, juice shops, tea houses, pharmacies, restaurants and clothes shop never really shut in Cairo and the people love to party.

In Aswan, the weather was very windy when we landed and we had to rush to the Airport lounge from the aircraft.

After collecting our luggage we headed straight to the Aswan Dam or Nasser Dam. Before this dam was built in Egypt, it faced a problem of flooding in the Nile and the other dam was inadequate to meet the growing water requirements of the country.

The Aswan dam was built between 1960-1970, during President Nasser's time to control the flooding better and increase the water storage. Some people refer to as Nasser dam as it was built during his Presidency.

No photography is permitted except via cell phones as it the dam is higher than the city and is considered a security risk. The entire area surrounding it is controlled by the Egyptian Army.

Photo of Egypt Diary 3 | R D Mathur 1/2 by Rajeshwar Dayal Mathur
Photo of Egypt Diary 3 | R D Mathur 2/2 by Rajeshwar Dayal Mathur

The dam is 3830 meters long and 980 m wide at the base and can hold 132 cubic kilometers of water. A lot of people and monuments had to be moved / relocated to construct this dam. Abu Simbel temples were also moved from the original site. The Russian President played a crucial role in its constructions and on completion called it the eighth wonder of the world.

From here we moved to the Philae temple which were constructed on an island inside the low dam. This site was constantly damaged due to floods and some serious irreparable damage has been caused to the temples and other monuments.

Philae had been the burying place of Osiris and both Egyptians and Nubians hold it high esteem. Its location, close to Tropic of Cancer makes its remarkable for effects of lights and shades. There are numerous monuments of various eras here.

While we were there on the island, the weather suddenly turned bad and we were hit by a severe sand storm. For a few minutes everything turned yellow (the colour of the sand) and we had to cut short our stay and move to the main land. In fact our was the last boat to leave after that the Police stopped tourists from visiting the island.

We reached the city and went for a late lunch. After lunch we headed straight to our Hotel as we had to leave for Abu Simbel Temples before the crack of dawn. It was after all a six hour drive to and from Abu Simbel Temple.

It was indeed a beautiful evening in Aswan and the view from our Hotel's rooftop was simply unbelievable. Across Aswan, right opposite our hotel was Tomb of Governors, the Keeper of the Gate of the South, which was lit up in the evening. We didn't have time to go there but enjoyed the view from our Hotel rooftop.

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