Esna, Egypt

The Egyptian city of Esna is located on the west bank of the River Nile, some 55 km south of Luxor, in the modern Qena Governorate. It is a merchant and farming town, with a busy weaving industry.

On the covered market street, one may purchase fabric, or have the fabrics made into clothing. There are some fine old houses about with fine brickwork and mashrbiyya screens. There is also a barrage just outside of town which was built in 1906. About 4 miles southwest of town is the Deir Manaos Wa al-Shuhada (Monastery of the Three Thousand Six Hundred Martyrs). Its 10th century church is said to be one of the most beautiful in Upper Egypt.

The main attraction in Esna is the Temple of Khnum, which lies beneath the level of the houses in a pit. Most of the ruins of around the Temple and the old city are yet to be explored as they lay under modern dwellings.

Things to see and do

* Temple of Khnum
* Market street
* Monastery of the Three Thousand Six Hundred Martyrs
* Esna lock

Cruise Season – Oct - April
Currency – Egyptian pound (LE) (EGP)
Language – Arabic
Population – 60,000
Electricity – 2 pin round pins European style
Time – GMT plus two hours
International Country Telephone Code – +20

Transport Links – Esna can be accessed from Luxor. Luxor International Airport is a destination for flights on several European and Middle Eastern routes, as well as the main southern hub for domestic flights within Egypt.

Internal flights (duration approx. 1 hr) from Cairo to Luxor are maintained by Egyptair.Direct charters from Europe (London Gatwick, for example) are common in the winter high season.
EgyptAir also arranges day trips from Cairo which is an easy way for those who can stand long days to cover the main attractions of Luxor. Taxis are in abundance everywhere for local transportation.

Buses leave regularly from behind the Luxor Temple, to most major cities. For connections to Aswan and Cairo, the train is recommended, but it is a good alternative to get to Sinai (via Hurghada--Sharm el Sheik, or over the Suez canal).

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