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Africa > North Africa > Egypt > Upper Egypt > Esna


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Esna is an Egyptian town in the region of Upper Egypt, located on the west bank of the river Nile some 54 km south of Luxor and 53 km north of Edfu.


A heritage house in Esna known by the wooden balconies of 19th century

Esna is one of the oldest cities in Egypt, 300 years BC, Esna was the capital city of the third Nome of Upper Egypt. Esna’s urban fabric still holds Ancient Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Coptic, Islamic, and modern layers of history. It is really an amazing experience and a fascinating imagination when you walk in the streets of the city nowadays in 2020 and you feel like your walking in history. The old 19th century houses connected together with the 700 years old ottoman market adjacent to the temple, where you will see people from the local community in their authentic costumes and in their local markets. It is really interesting and attracting me seeing local people in an indigenous or a bit elementary environment how they are living their life and spending their daily life activities. Moreover, Esna enjoys a rich intangible heritage in terms of its unique social structure where the city center is subdivided into spatial domains inhabited by deeply-rooted Esna families, and its traditional crafts – all on the verge of extinction.

Get in[edit]

Map of Esna

By train[edit]

  • 1 Esna railway station (east bank of the Nile). Is on wrong side for the temple and main town. There is a handful of little cafes by the station. Taxis and tuk-tuks await but they have to cross the Nile by the 1990 "Elecricity Bridge" downstream, vehicles cannot use the old barrier bridge.

Trains from Cairo take 10 hr to Luxor then another hour to Esna, continuing to Edfu, Kom Ombo and Aswan. There are 10–12 per day, so you should be able to avoid an early-hours arrival or departure.

By bus[edit]

Buses between Luxor and Aswan pass through Esna; their frequency in 2020 is unknown. The bus stop is by the railway station on the east bank.

By boat[edit]

Esna is a regular calling point for Nile cruises between Luxor and Aswan. Actually they do not have a choice, because there is a lock system between the two bridges, where boats can be held up for hours.

Get around[edit]

Taxi's and tuk-tuks are available all throughout town, and offer a convenient transport from train or mini bus stations to the temple (there is not much else to see). Tuk-Tuks should not cost more than LE20.


Temple of the God Khnum at Esna
  • 1 Temple of Esna (Temple of Khnum). Daily Oct-May 07:00-16:00, Jun-Sept 07:00-17:00. It is large, impressive - no, look down! Built in the Ptolemaic-Roman period, the temple became covered with debris, which helped preserve it, so it is now 9 m below the modern street level. The only remaining structure is the hypostyle hall, which is very well preserved with a lot of color on the columns and ceilings. The ticket office is 200 m away from the temple, connected by a covered souk with the usual hawkers. Adult LE80, conc LE40. Temple of Esna (Q1131024) on Wikidata Esna on Wikipedia
  • Old Esna Mosque is the one with the charming adobe minaret seen on the approach to the temple.






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