Aga Khan Mausoleum (Tomb of Muhammad Shah Aga Khan)
The Aga Khan Mausoleum was once open to the public, but the holy man’s widow closed its doors in 1997, 40 years after his death, to allow him to rest in peace. Today you can view the tomb from the Nile, while aboard a small motorboat or on a felucca sailboat tour of the islands around and beyond Elephantine Island. Cruise-ship itineraries don’t usually include a sighting of the tomb.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Aga Khan Mausoleum is of interest to fans of Islamic architecture and followers of the Ismaili sect.
Although the building resembles structures from the medieval Fatimid era, the Aga Khan died in 1957.
Feluccas are not wheelchair accessible, although travelers may find felucca drivers happy to lift them into the vessel.
How to Get There
The Aga Khan Mausoleum sits on the west bank of the Nile outside Aswan, atop a hill overlooking Elephantine Island. As the tomb forms part of a substantial private estate and there are no roads, it’s usually viewed from the river as part of a small boat cruise around Aswan’s Nile islands.
When to Get There
The Aga Khan Mausoleum is closed to the public year-round, with no exceptions. For the best views, opt for a sunset felucca cruise, which enables you to see the tomb silhouetted against the last rays of the sun. Ask your felucca driver to pass by the mausoleum at the right time.
Who Was the Aga Khan?
“Aga Khan” is a hereditary title given to the spiritual leader of the Shia Muslim Ismaili sect. The Aga Khan in the tomb was the 48th leader of the Ismailis, but only the third Aga Khan. Wealthy and an owner of racehorses, he played an important role in the establishment of Pakistan. He’s buried in Aswan, where, for health reasons, he used to spend his winters.