Historic Sites in Sudan

Sudan is blessed with a huge diversity of natural resources, wildlife, ethnic groups, and historic landmarks and places. These historic landmarks are diverse according to their historic era and type of the landmark itself. You see there are landmarks from the ancient, medieval and industrial eras some of them are still used until today, and some are considered as just tourist sites for people to visit.

The historic sites are like companies. Most of them belong to the local Sudanese Ethnicities, and there are historic sites that are made by foreigners. The foreigner historic sites are made by the Egyptian Pharaohs, Arabian Tribes, Ottoman Occupiers, and British Occupiers. And just like I’ve aligned them in that order, you’ll find that most of the foreign historic sites in the ancient era were made by Egyptians, in the medieval era by the Arabs, in the industrial era by the Ottomans and British.

There are around seventy historic sites, but I’ll discuss some of them only in this article.

Faras is medieval City that drowned under the Nile along with Halfa when Aswan’s High Dam was built. It was alive between 600 AD and 1300 AD. In Faras there is Faras Cathedral, which has the largest collection of Christian Nubian Wall Paintings which is 169 paintings. Luckily around 103 paintings were recovered and are displayed in Khartoum National Museum and the rest of 66 are in the National Museum of Warsaw, Poland. You can view the photo and virtual gallery by the National Museum of Warsaw at Google Culture here.

Kulubnarti is a medieval fort that is located on the island of Kulubnarti, which was later converted into a castle. Tapering towards the top the fort is plastered with clay masonry. Official tax collectors (Kashef) resided at the fortified house at least until the 19th century, when it was converted to a castle. There were similar fortifications in Tarmuki, Kasanarti and Meinarti, all north of the 2nd cataract of the Nile and the flooded Lake Nasser. Modern day excavations could not ascertain if it was abandoned when the population converted from Christianity to Islam. While the Kulubnarti church was close to the fort, dating to the 13th or 14th century of the Christian era, there were no remains found of a nearby mosque from the Ottoman period. The only evidence relating to Islam were three potsherds with Koranic verses.

Cities

Dukki Gel is an Ancient Egyptian City located in the Northern State. It has a unique urban structure with religious temples and and remainders of other building.

It’s a medieval city that witnessed both early Christian and early Islamic Existence in Sudan. It contains the very first churches and mosques built in today’s Sudan.

Naga’a is an ancient city in Northern Sudan that contains various temples from the Kushite Kingdom.

Soba was the Capital of Nubian Kingdom (Alawa). It was a medieval city founded in around 500 AD that contained gardens, buildings and life until it was demolished in the 1500’s. It was built using red bricks.

Wall from Suakin — Soruce:https://www.flickr.com/photos/kopikocok/3625340541/

Suakin is an ancient city located on the Red Sea Coast. It’s ancient to the extent that it’s debated that whether this city is older than the Nubian Kingdoms or not.The city has a lot of magnificent buildings made from coral out of the sea and also some Governmental Buildings built by the Ottomans.

Its port was used by the Greeks, Egyptians for Commerce in the ancient times. Between the medieval and industrial era, the city became useful also for the African Christian Pilgrims going to Jerusalem and for Muslim Pilgrims going to Mecca or Jerusalem by the sea. This city in particular has many chronicles to tell to the people. It was used as a safe haven for Umayyads who fled the Abbasid Caliphate, flourished as a trading center when the security disturbance hit the main sea ports of the Mediterranean, Red Sea, and other seas in the region by Fatimids, Crusaders, and Mongols. During the medieval and renaissance era it used to trade with Venice, China, and India.

Ain Farah was the capital city of the medieval state of Tunjur. It’s located in Darfur.

Villages

Banganarti is driven from the Nubian Language, which translates to “Locust Island”. It’s a medieval village with buildings remainders and a church. It’s was alive and active between 400 AD and 1400 AD.

Soleb Temple. Source:https://www.travelwithbrothers.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Amboseli-5-768x576.jpg

Soleb has a structure with a, pylons, peristyle courts, a pillared hall, prehistoric burial ground. It’s also considered as the largest Ancient Temple built by the Egyptians in Sudan.

Kulb is a town in Northern Sudan that was the source of Gold for Egyptians in the ancient era and inhabited during the medieval era.

Buildings and Cemeteries

Graffiti horses. RTI: Suzanne Davis and Janelle Batkin-Hall / IKAP, 2016. (https://theconversation.com/temple-graffiti-reveals-stories-from-ancient-sudan-122432)

El-Kurru is an ancient cemetery in Northern State with many beautiful graffiti. The graffiti depicts a number of animals including: horses, birds, and giraffes.

Throne Hall of Dongola — Source:https://vici.org/vici/55675/

The Throne Hall of Dongola was built in the 800’s by the Christian Makurians. Then in 1317, during the period of Makurian decline, it was converted into a mosque. After that converted into a monument in 1969. It’s also considered to be the oldest mosque in Sudan.

Near to Jebel Sahaba lies the bones of the victims of the oldest known large-scale armed conflict in human history.

Nile Islands

Kulubnarti is an island in northern state. It was one of the last refuges for Nubian Christians, when Islam spread to the south. It has been inhabited since the time of the Christian kingdom of Makuria, approximately 1100 AD.

The island has three notable buildings which are: the Kulubnarti fort, the domed Kulubnarti church, and some residential buildings.

There are Pharaonic sites which include: town, a temple of Amun, two contemporary cemeteries, pyramidal superstructures, remains of a Medieval Nubian Cathedral, medieval settlements, Ottoman Fortress.

The Capital

It was built in 1825 by the Ottomans from mud, and surrounded with trees of grapes and palms, but was renovated three times the last one was in 1906 by the British.

Omdurman Market was established back in the 1800’s. It’s basically a retail market, but the merchant families and stores in it are as old as the market itself. The merchants are locals and also there are old families of Yemeni, Indian, Greek, and Syrian Descents. It’s a great place for antiques and hand crafts.

Khartoum Grand Mosque was established in 1901. It has a Mamluk Architecture just like the ones in Egypt, and is built using Nubian Sand Stones and other materials.

Pillar from King Farouk Mosque. Source:https://www.facebook.com/Samawal.Lens/photos/pcb.1913570145561060/1913569998894408

King Farouk Mosque was established in 1691, but renovated in 1953. It has a mix of Fatimid and Andalusian Architecture.

Inner view of St. Mathew’s Cathedral. Source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Matthew%27s_Cathedral,_Khartoum#/media/File:St._Matthew's_Catholic_Cathedral_(Khartoum)_003.jpg

St. Matthew’s is a Catholic Cathedral in Khartoum. It has a Neo-Romanesque Architecture that similar to the churches and castles of Britain in the 19th century. It was founded in 1846. Then renovated by the British in 1908 after the Mahdists destroyed it.

Religious Sites

Gebel Barkal was considered as a holy mountain for the Ancient Nubian Kushites. It was used by the Nubian Monarch for coronation ceremonies and other rituals. It also has the ancient temple of Amun and Mut.

Ghazali Monastery is located near to Gebel Barkal dating back to 900 AD. It’s well preserved as it’s remote from current modern settlements.

Musawwarat Es-Sufra is a group of buildings that are mainly temples with animal statues and wall graffiti.

You can access the 3d animated gallery here.

Khatmiyah Mosque Dome from the inside — Credit:Ali Ahmed Mahmoud Ali (Instagram: 3l_i )

Mohammed Osman al Khatm founded the order at the end of the 18th century to spread the Khatmiyah Sufi teachings until 1880, when the Mahdists put an end for its activities. The mosque is of plain brick, with a pointed octagonal minaret.

No, I’ll not mention them here. They became too famous.

To sum up, these were twenty-six historical sites that you should visit someday after that the COVID-19 is over. They are made in different times by different civilizations by different religions, and in different locations. From the ancient, medieval, renaissance, to the industrial era. Most of them were built by Sudanese People, but others were built by Egyptians, Arabs, Ottomans, and British.

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