(redirected from Assouan)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.


Aswan or Assuan (both: äswänˈ, ăswănˈ), city (1986 pop. 190,579), capital of Aswan governorate, S Egypt, on the Nile River at the First Cataract. It is one of the driest cities in the world. Long famous as a winter resort and commercial center, the city has become an important industrial center since the start nearby of hydroelectricity production in 1960. A chemical fertilizer plant is the largest of the new industries. Iron ore and hematite are mined in the vicinity.

The city was called Syene or Seveneh in the Bible and is described as the southern limit of Egypt. It was a trade center, serving as the gateway to Sudan and Ethiopia, and was the place where the annual Nile flood was first sighted in Egypt. From the syenite quarries nearby came stone for the temples and statuary of the Pharaohs. On Elephantine island, in the Nile opposite Aswan, and Philae island (submerged by the Aswan High Dam complex), south of the city, are found ancient Egyptian and Roman ruins. Aga Khan III (1877–1957), leader of the Muslim Ismailis, is buried in Aswan.

The Aswan Dams

The Aswan Dam, 3 mi (4.8 km) south of the city, was built by the British and completed in 1902. It and the barrages at Asyut in central Egypt were the chief means of storing irrigation water for the Nile valley before the completion of the Aswan High Dam. After being enlarged in 1934, the dam added c.1 million acres (404,700 hectares) of cropland along the Nile. In 1960 a hydroelectric station with an annual capacity of 2 million kilowatt-hours was opened at the dam.

The Aswan High Dam, about 4 mi (6.4 km) upstream of the Aswan Dam, was constructed from 1960 to 1970 and was dedicated in 1971. The Soviet Union took over much of the dam's financing after the United States and Great Britain quit the project in 1956. Built of earth and rock fill with a core of clay and concrete, the High Dam is 375 ft (114 m) high and 11,811 ft (3,600 m) long. Lake Nasser (c.2,000 sq mi/5,180 sq km), the dam's reservoir and one of the world's largest artificial lakes, has a storage capacity of c.204 billion cu yd (157 billion cu m); it loses some water through evaporation. The creation of Lake Nasser required the relocation of 90,000 people, most of whom lived in Sudan, and of many archaeological treasures. Under UNESCO auspices, the Nubian temples at Abu-Simbel were moved (1963–68) to a cliff 200 ft (61 m) above the old site and reconstructed. In return for its financial assistance in this project, the United States was given the Roman temple of Dendur, now displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. In addition to providing hydroelectric power, the Aswan High Dam has greatly benefited irrigation projects and the fishing industry in Egypt. However, its flooding has caused some land erosion and agricultural problems.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


, Assuan, Assouan
an ancient town in SE Egypt, on the Nile, just below the First Cataract. Pop.: 249 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
(4) Letter to Richard Garnett, from Assouan, Egypt, dated January 23, 1894 (British Library Add.
Evidence of identification was given by Mr Wadjas's brother, Assouan Yann Racine Wadjas, 31, a factory manager, of Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Assouan compte sur ce programme pour relancer le tourisme interieur cherchant a compenser le recul palpable qui accable la ville par le recul des touristes etrangers.
La reserve s'etend sur une superficie de 30000 km carres a 180 km au sud-est d'Assouan. La vallee s'etend le long de 275 km avec une largeur d'un kilometre.
Les responsables et les hommes de sauvetage de l'Unite des crocodiles avaient reussi a assieger le crocodile et le pecher au nord des eaux du Nil a Assouan, tout pres de l'ancien reservoir.
Les artistes Akram El-Magdoub, Adam Hanine, le defunt Salah Marei et moi-meme avons choisi a Assouan ce site pour le musee parce qu'il est vraiment specifique et splendide au bord du Nil.
Les observateurs confirment que le tourisme a recule d'un taux de 80%, d'apres ce que le gouverneur d'Assouan, Mostafa Al-Sayed, avait revele.
Un communique du ministere de l'Agriculture indique que les travaux de lutte contre les caeliferes ont ete intensifies dans la vallee de Naqra (Assouan), sur l'autoroute de Marsa Alam et a Qena.
Le gouverneur d'Assouan a recu une invitation a la Foire internationale de Canton qui se tient dans la capitale chinoise, Pekin, le 15 avril prochain.
La seconde etape, prevue les 11 et 12 mai, est consacree a Gizeh, Alexandrie, Beni-Soueif, Assouan, la Nouvelle Vallee, Suez et la Mer Rouge, avec un second tour les 18 et 19 mai.
Ils se sont ensuite diriges vert Assouan et la mer Rouge.
Malheureusement, la politique a jete ses ombres sur les vacances de mi-annee : tout le monde est enferme chez lui et meme les voyages vers Louxor et Assouan ou Charm El-Cheikh pendant la mi-annee n'ont connu aucun afflux.