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Inside Sudan’s Pyramids

by Shelby Hawkins on June 3, 2018

Sudan is another example of Africa under chaos. Headlines beaming with words like “violence” and “destitute” are all over the news.

It is true that Sudan is in the midst of a violent war.

Although, it is also true that Sudanese culture is not defined by violence; Sudan is not defined by its hardships but rather its rich and powerful history.

Because of Sudan’s modern history of civil war and battling for independence, tourists tend to overlook the destination unlike its neighbors Kenya, Egypt and Ethiopia.

Contrasted to the southwest portion of the country that is dealing with conflict, the Nile River Valley remains peaceful. Not only is this region content but it is also home to an incredible amount of unique architecture. Their architecture is not nearly as explored as Egypt’s.

Sudan is far too often in the shadow of Egypt. Some egyptologists even consider Sudan as simply an extension of Egypt.

A leading archaeologist in Sudan for the last 50 years, Charles Bonnet, discovered in the 1960s that Sudan actually operated independently from Egypt.

“We found the remains of many institutions for the king, like ceremonial palaces, like the residential place for the king,” Bonnet said, “And I announced, finally, that it was an independent kingdom from Egypt. This was naturally very important news.”

Another lead archaeologist in Sudan, Neal Spencer, who is based at the British Museum in London has spent years exploring the country.

“In the north of the country, the dry, arid conditions lend themselves to the very good preservation of ancient towns, cemeteries and the objects people made,” Spencer said, “It’s just an amazing country with such a great potential for future archaeological work.”

Spencer also believes that Egypt overshadows Sudan because of the history of colonialism and exploration in the 19th and 20th century. However, there were periods when northern Sudan, also known as Nubia, was under Pharaonic control. Be that as it may, there were also periods when Egypt was under Nubian control.

“So what’s been happening the last 40 years, really, is to better understand the long history of Sudan and the cultural continuities that have been influenced partly by the entanglement with Egypt,” Spencer continues, “But also, there is a cultural continuity within Nubia that persists through and after these periods of Egyptian entanglement.”

The Pyramids

Sudan has nearly twice as many pyramids as Egypt and just like week Ahmed Bilal, the Sudanese Minister of Information, claimed that Sudan’s pyramids are 2000 years older than the Egyptian ones.

This claim is still unproven.

However, it is proven that the Nubian pyramids were constructed under the Kushite Kingdom.

They are also much smaller than the ones in Egypt and their location is quite peculiar. While the pyramids of Giza are literally in the city, Sudan’s pyramids are in the middle of the desert. They are not even close to water.

It seems odd that the ancient civilizations of Sudan would build their structures in such a strange location.

Because of climate change and desertification, a temple built on the water 300 years ago is 5 kilometers from The Nile today.

What Other Places Are Worth Visiting in Sudan?

Temple of Amun – 12th century UNESCO heritage site. This temple has been around since 13 BC and is in dedication to the god Amun.

 

Jebel Barkal– a giant rock (or small mountain) scaling 98 tall in Karima Town. This hill has strong religious and spiritual associations.  

 

Gaddafi Hotel– a five-star hotel shaped like an egg! You can find this beautiful structure situated where the Blue Nile meets the White Nile.

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Shelby Hawkins
My name is Shelby, like the mustang, and I am an avid lover of photography, literature and desserts. I identify as a proud feminist and Pan-Africanist; hopefully that manifests in my writing.
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