Elephantine Island's southern end comprises the site of ancient Abu.
Elephantine Island's southern end comprises the site of ancient Abu. Its name meant both 'elephant' and 'ivory' in ancient Egyptian, a reminder of the important role the island once played in the ivory trade. The island's Nubian villages of Siou and Koti make a surprising counterpoint to the bustle of the city across the water Botanical Gardens located on Kitchener’s Island, to the west of Elephantine Island, was given to Lord Horatio Kitchener in the 1890s when he was commander of the Egyptian army. Indulging his passion for beautiful palms and plants, Kitchener turned the entire island into the stunning Aswan Botanical Gardens, importing plants from the Far East, India and parts of Africa Tombs of the nobles, the high cliffs opposite Aswan, just north of Kitchener’s Island, are honeycombed with the tombs of the governors, the Keepers of the Gate of the South, and other dignitaries of ancient Elephantine Island. The tombs, known as the Tombs of the Nobles, are still being excavated: significant finds were made in 2014 and 2017. Six decorated tombs are currently open to the public