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Post  Admin on Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:37 pm


ASSUAN, or Aswan, a town of Upper Egypt on the east bank of the Nile, facing Elephantine Island below the First Cataract, and 590 m. S. of Cairo by rail. It is the capital of a province of the same name - the southernmost province of Egypt. Population (1907) 16,128. The principal buildings are along the river front, where a broad embankment has been built. Popular among Europeans as a winter health resort and tourist centre, Assuan is provided with large modern hotels (one situated on Elephantine Island), and there is an English church. South-east of the railway station are the ruins of a temple built by Ptolemy Euergetes, and still farther south are the famous granite quarries of Syene. On Elephantine Island are an ancient nilometer and other remains, including a granite gateway built under Alexander the Great at the temple of the local ram-headed god Chnubis or Chnumis (Eg. Khnum), perhaps on account of his connexion with Ammon; two small but very beautiful temples of the XVIIIth Dynasty were destroyed there about 1820. In the hill on the opposite side of the river are tombs of the VIth to XIIth dynasties, opened by Lord Grenfell in 1885-1886. The inscriptions show that they belonged to frontier-prefects whose expeditions into Nubia, &c., are recorded in them. Three and a half miles above the town, at the beginning of the Cataract, the Assuan Dam stretches across the Nile. This great engineering work was finished in December 1902 (see Irrigation: Egypt; and Nile). Above the dam the Nile presents the appearance of a vast lake. Consequent on the rise of the water-level several islands have been wholly and others partly submerged, among the latter Philae. On the east bank opposite Philae is the village of Shellal, southern terminus of the Egyptian railway system and the starting point of steamers for the Sudan.

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