The main charm of the village of Gharb Soheil, popularly known as Nubian Village, is its people, because of all the races currently living in Egypt, without a doubt, the Nubians are the most similar and the ones who have inherited the most traits from the ancient Egyptians.


Located very close to Aswan, visiting the Nubian Village is a journey into the past and the traditional way of life of an ancient culture that developed between southern Egypt and northern Sudan. Currently there are several Nubian villages, of which Gharb Soheil is the most important localityThe rest are spread along the Nile valley and all maintain a physiognomy that makes them different from the rest of the inhabitants in Egypt and Sudan: a beautiful dark skin and very marked features with very light eyes, even blue in many cases.

The Nubians were occupied by the Egyptian Empire and used as labor to build the pyramids. But they were not characterized for being a subdued people; on the contrary, they were good at war, especially with the bow and arrow, elements with which many of them were buried when they died.

From 712 BC the Nubians took advantage of a series of internal clashes in the Empire and conquered Upper Egypt, going from being dominated to ruling the country under the pharaoh Shabako. But his reign did not last long: in 653 BC. Emperor Tanutamani was defeated by the Assyrians. The pharaohs of Nubian origin were called black pharaohs or kushites.

Later, Persians, Macedonians and Romans came to dominate the region, while the Nubian peoples settled in the city of Meroe, from where they organized plundering of their northern neighbors. In 20 B.C. they signed a peace treaty with the Romans and consolidated their trade relations.

Then came the rule of Byzantium and many Nubians turned to Christianity, but with the arrival of the Ottoman Empire many converted to Islam. With the separation of Egypt and Sudan in 1956, the Nubian people were divided into two countries. A good part of its history is submerged under the waters of Lake Nasser with the construction of the Aswan High Dam.

What to do in the Nubian Village

  • Visit the mausoleum of Sultan Aga Khan. The tomb of Sultan Mahommed Shah the Aga Khan III, of the Fatimid dynasty, a caste of rulers representing the apogee of Muslim culture in Egypt. They were great patrons of literature, the arts, architecture and scientific research. It is a pink granite building with a design similar to other tombs of Fatimid caliphs in Cairo, overlooking the summer residence of the Aga Khan and the monastery of St. Simon.
  • Tour of Elephantine Island. Located downstream of the first cataract of the Nile, on the southern border of Upper Egypt with Lower Nubia, it is so named because in some areas it resembles an elephant’s tusk. It was the capital of the nomo I of Upper Egypt during the time of the pharaohs and continued to be important in the Hellenistic period with a military garrison that controlled the routes of southern Egypt. The ancient Egyptians believed that here dwelt Khnum, a ram-headed god, who watched over and controlled the waters of the Nile from caves beneath the island. Most of the temples were destroyed by the Persian Cambyses II, a monarch son of Cyrus II the Great, although some remains are preserved in the Aswan Museum, located on the island.
  • Aswan Museum. The excavations carried out by the German Archaeological Institute, which continue today, have yielded important finds that can be seen today in the Aswan Museum, located on Elephantine Island. For example, a mummified ram from Khnum, artifacts from Predynastic times, remains of the Temple to the god Jnum and the Temple of Heqa-ib, stone blocks reused in various historical periods of Ancient Egypt and some of the famous Elephantine Papyri, which describe the customs of the Jewish community that resided on the island during the 5th century BC.
  • Visit the Old Cataract Hotel. An emblematic and famous hotel because the famous crime writer Agatha Christie stayed there for long periods of time. Her stay in the area inspired her for many of her books, including Death on the Nile.
  • A swim in the beaches of the Nile. In this area there is a beach set up with very fine sand so that you can take a refreshing swim and better withstand the heat.
  • Dromedary ride. Following the riverbed until you reach the village, you can take a ride on the back of these animals so characteristic of the area.
  • Tour of the typical houses. The Nubian Village stands out for its very peculiar houses, whitewashed and decorated with beautiful and colorful paintings. Some guided tours arrange with a family, upon payment, the possibility of knowing a house from the inside, enjoy a tea and get a henna tattoo.
  • Drinks and souvenirs market. Typical of Gharb Soheil are the small stalls selling handmade drinks and souvenirs.

How to get to the Nubian Village

Gharb Soheil is located south of Aswan and is usually visited before or after the start or end of the Nile cruise (depending on whether the cruise you book starts or ends in Aswan). The best way to get there is to hire a boat or bus tour, but we do not recommend you to go on your own because it is very difficult to get there if you do not know the way. If you can book your excursion aboard a falucca, a small traditional sailing boat, it will be even better, because you will experience firsthand what it was like to travel on the Nile in the years of the pharaohs.

You can also take a day tour with the Temple of Philae, Lake Nasser and the Aswan Dam.

Visiting hours and prices

Prices tend to vary greatly, depending on whether you arrive at the Nubian Village by bus or boat and whether, once there, you visit any of the islands, museums or private homes. You already have all the information you need about the area so that you can hire the tour that suits you best. The estimated price range is from 20 € per person, the cheapest and simplest in terms of additions, up to 50 € all-inclusive.

Photos of the Nubian Village

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