Sam's Exotic Travels to Aswan, The Southernmost Trading Center of Upper Egypt
Aswan stands on the east bank of the Nile at the first cataract and is a busy market and tourist center. Its ancient name, Swenet, It contains the island of Elephantine. Two dams straddle the river at this point: the newer Aswan High Dam, and the older Aswan Dam or Aswan Low Dam. The aim of this water project was to prevent the river's flooding, generate electricity and provide water for agriculture.
Because the Ancient Egyptians oriented toward the origin of the life-giving waters of the Nile in the south, Swenet was the first town in the country, and Egypt always was conceived to "open" or begin at Swenet. The city stood upon a peninsula on the right (east) bank of the Nile, immediately below (north of) the first cataract of the flowing waters, which extend to it from Philae. Navigation to the delta was possible from this location without encountering a barrier. The Stone quarries of ancient Egypt located here were celebrated for their stone, and especially for the granitic rock called Syenite. They furnished the colossal statues, obelisks, and monolithal shrines that are found throughout Egypt, including the pyramids; and the traces of the quarrymen who wrought in these 3000 years ago are still visible in the native rock. They lie on either bank of the Nile, and a road, four miles in length, was cut beside them from Syene to Philae.
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