950 kilometres from Cairo lies the last major city in the south of the country. A pivotal city with Nubia and Africa, Aswan emerges from a desert plateau, cut by the Nile, at the first cataract (waterfall). Aswan, a name derived from the ancient Syene, means ``trade``. This was a major aspect of the settlement, both on the island of Elephantine and on the eastern bank of the Nile, hosting a market and a customs house. Products from Nubia were received here: gold, ebony, ivory, animal skins, plants..