Aswan, Egypt's southernmost city has long been the country's gateway to Africa. The prosperous market city straddles the crossroads of the ancient caravan routes, at the 'other' end of the Nile not far above the Tropic of Cancer. In ancient times it was a garrison town known as Swenet (meaning 'Trade'), and it was also important to the early Coptic Christians. The main town and temple area of Swenet were located on Elephantine Island in the middle of Nile (the island was known then as Yebu, and later renamed by the Greeks). The temples and ruins here are not nearly as well preserved and impressive as that elsewhere in the country, but there are other good reasons to visit. If you're not 'tombed out', a visit to the Tombs of the Nobles is worthwhile, and a highlight is the Nubian Museum, showcasing history, art and Nubian culture from the prehistoric to the present. The Nile is glorious here as it makes its way down from massive High Dam and Lake Nasser - watching the feluccas glide by as the sun sets over the Nile is an experience you're unlikely to forget.