Nubian Village in Aswan

A visit to Aswan is a unique opportunity to learn the culture of the Nubians. Their belief is that they were the first human race to inhabit the earth. Many of their modern customs and traditions have ancient roots. The Nubians emphasize their origin from the rightful inhabitants of these lands, and not from the Arab invaders. The name "Nubia" in Egyptian means gold (nub). This area, was the main source from which the Egyptians obtained this metal. Nubian warriors served in the Egyptian army, and their skills were highly appreciated by the Egyptian rulers.

The life of modern Nubians is inextricably linked with the construction of the Aswan dams. Although they helped to improve the Egyptian economy (normalization of the water level in the Nile, commissioning of a large hydropower plant), as a result of their construction, a reservoir was created, and Lake Nasser, whose waters flooded vast areas that belonged to the Nubians. Under an agreement with the Egyptian government, the Nubians were relocated to new territories, between Aswan (Egypt) and the Second Cataract on the Nile (Sudan). They then received money to rebuild 35,000 flooded homes.

Over the course of the year, new villages were established and each of them is different. You will not find two identical houses in any of them. They are built using a traditional technique that uses dried mud bricks. The roofs are vaulted with mud bricks, palm leaves and reeds. The main entrance is always facing the Nile and it leads to an open courtyard with interior spaces. Each house has a guest room with a separate entrance, so that guests feel at ease.

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The eye is drawn to the unusual decoration of the colorful Nubian houses with frescoes depicting Fatima's hand or the eye of the prophet. Nubians believe that these symbols provide protection against evil forces. Other facades are decorated with floral motifs, and some with contemporary elements such as trains, planes, cars and ships. All this is in vivid and bright colors.

Nubians are divided into three ethnic groups. In the north there are the Kenzi people who speak Nubian, in the south there are Fadiga people who also use the Nubian language, and among them the Arabs (actually Nubians assimilated with the Arab population).

The Nubian language was formed in the 6th century and was based on the Coptic alphabet enriched with new characters, and typical Nubian sounds. In the thirteenth century, the Arabic language began to dominate the population that had begun to assimilate with the Arab invaders. Today, the Nubian language consists of many dialects. There are no grammatical rules.

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