High up on the west bank stands the elegant marble Tomb of Mohammed Shah Aga Khan, the 48th imam (leader) of the Ismaili sect, who died in 1957, and of his wife the Begum, who died in 2000. Aswan was their favourite wintering place, and the family's white villa is in the garden beneath the tomb.
Spiritual leader of a worldwide Shi'ite sect, the Aga Khan was a very wealthy man. He was educated in Europe and became the 48th Imam in 1885, at the age of only seven. His grandson succeeded him on his death in 1957. During his lifetime the Aga Khan was knighted by the Queen of England, and received similar recognition from Germany, Turkey and other countries. It is said that in 1945, on his birthday, he was weighed in diamonds - he was a large man - and the jewels then distributed to his followers.