Aswan is the ancient city of Swenett, later known as Syene, which in antiquity was the frontier city of ancient Egypt facing south. Swenett is supposed to have derived her name from an Egyptian goddess of the same name. This goddess was later identified as Ailethia by the Greeks and Lucina by the Romans during their occupation of ancient Egypt due to the similar association between their deities and rebirth, whose import was the “opening”. It is also said that the ancient name of the city is derived from the Egyptian symbol for the word “trade” or “market .
Because the ancient Egyptians headed themselves toward the origin of the life-giving waters of the Nile in the south, and because Swenet was the southernmost city in the country, Egypt was always supposed to open up or begin at Swenet. The city was based on a peninsula on the right (east) bank of the Nile, below (and north) the first waterfall of flowing water, to which it extends from Philae. Navigating to Delta was possible from this location without any encountering a barrier .
The stone quarries of ancient Egypt found here were celebrated for their stones, especially the granite boulders called senit. They outfitted the colossal statues, obelisks, and monolithic mausoleums found throughout Egypt, including the pyramids. Traces of quarry workers who worked in this period 3,000 years ago are still visible in the original rocks. They lie on either bank of the Nile, and a 6.5 km (4.0 mi) road was cut alongside them from Sein to Philae .
The Nile is 650 m (0.40 mi) wide over Aswan. From this border city to the far north of Egypt, the river flows for more than 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) without a rod or cataract. The journey from Aswan to Alexandria usually takes from 21 to 28 days in favorable weather.