Saturday, January 23, 2010

Botanical Garden

Aswan has its own botanical garden on an island with a long history. It originally was settled by the Nubians, an ethnic group that lived south of Egypt, they called the island Jet Narty. Well…in the early 1900’s it was taken by or given to (depends on who is telling the story) to Lord Kitchner who had successful led the Sudan Campaign in Egypt – a polite term for fighting, I guess to make it seem nicer. He imported plants from all over the world and created gorgeous gardens. It finally was returned to the Egyptian ministry of agriculture where they had the foresight to preserve the island. It really was a relaxing place to explore and enjoy

While the gardens were beautiful, we really enjoyed the views it afforded us of Aswan and the Nile River. We could see the Old Cataract Hotel,  perched on top a granite hill. It was so named because the First Cataract (rapids) were nearby. It was actually built as a grand hotel, unlike the majority of Egyptian hotels that were originally a palace. Sadly, it is being renovated at the moment so we didn't get a chance to view it up close. You can get a glimpse of them on the right had side of the lower picture. If you look carefully, you'll see a man climbing in the riggings of the front faluca. (clicking on any picture with the little "hand" will blow up the picture.)

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