Aswan is perhaps the nicest “city” in all of Egypt to me. It’s busy, that’s for sure, since it’s a main tourist attraction. More than 2 million tourists a year visit Luxor and Aswan, and since the two areas are often tied together, it goes without saying that at least half visit Aswan.
Relying so heavily on tourism, this small city is certainly doing everything it can to make sure these hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit every year feel comfortable. Public transportation and roads are quite up to par with what tourists would expect. The city is relatively clean, and there are lots of facilities that tourists would need, such as easy access to pharmacies, supermarkets, and food.
While this is all well and good, that’s not what makes it the “nicest” city in Egypt. What makes me say this is the people of Aswan. The people there are perhaps the friendliest that foreigners are bound to come into contact with in Egypt.
The people of Aswan are mainly villagers with a calm lifestyle that, for years, depended on agriculture for sustenance, with some showing the tourists the sites. Typically, a farming society is very relaxed, and calm, as there isn’t too much going on. This is especially true here. The people are so relaxed and calm that there really aren’t many big problems there.
Another benefit from the overall lifestyle is the way that parents raise their children, and the lack of influences on these children to change their values and morals. In Aswan, when family values are taught, they really tend to stick with the children.
This is really evident as you walk down the streets of the city, whether on the Corneish (River Bank), or in the “crowded” city center. As I walked along the street, I was nothing more than just another tourist walking along. The locals were very polite, and the very young children only looked at us in a way that you would look at anyone different to you, with this sense of wonder and curiosity.
There was no negativity or hostility to any of the people around. There was no harassment or anything of the nature. If anything, people were too friendly, constantly waving and saying hello as you walked by, and wanting to take a picture of your group to help out.
The people honestly just want to help, and just want you to enjoy your visit. There’s a sense of genuineness in Aswan that I haven’t found in any other city in Egypt. That’s not to say that it isn’t anywhere else; it’s just means that people here show a much higher rate of respect and pride in their city. You really can walk around at pretty much any time of day, and not face any problems.
When judging Egypt by its people, these are the people that should set the standard!