The Little - Known Pyramids of Sudan

The Little - Known Pyramids of Sudan

Can you name the country with the most pyramids in the world? Nope, it’s not Egypt. The country which holds this record with more than 200 pyramids is actually Egypt’s southern neighbor – Sudan. Though not as big as the Egyptian ones, they are just as impressive and have just as intriguing history, dating back to 8th century BC, to the kingdom of Kush. There are many reasons – like constant stories about military conflicts and diseases in the media and practically lacking tourist infrastructure, why the Sudanese pyramids, and Sudan as a whole, see very little visitors, compared to its famous neighbors. This region of the country is however safe and far from the conflict hot spots and is sure worth the trip.

Kingdom of Kush and history of the pyramids

The ancient Kingdom of Kush ruled the region of Nubia (a region along the Nile river in Sudan and southern Egypt), between 10th century BC and 4th century AD. During its rule it had three capitals: Kerma, Napata and Meroë. Most of the pyramids were built during the Meroitic period and are located where the city was. Like the Egyptian ones, they were used as royal burial places for about as many as 40 Nubian kings and queens and many wealthy citizens. They have a distinctive, Nubian style with narrow base and steep walls at an angle of about 70°. Their exploration started quite late, in 19th century. In the tombs researchers found many interesting artefacts like pottery, colored glass, quivers of arrows and many more. Those artefacts, as well as the hieroglyphs and the reliefs on the insides of the walls, are a sign for trade with and influence by the Egyptian and Hellenic civilizations.  Apart from Meroë, sets of Nubian pyramids can also be seen at Nuri and Jebel Barkal.

Why some of them have no tops?

Looking at the pyramids you will notice that some of them are missing their tops. For about 40  of them, responsible for that destruction is one single man – Giuseppe Ferlini. He was an Italian explorer and treasure hunter who demolished them in search of tresures which the Nubians were believed to have been burting the dead with. He did found a lot of gold and silver artefacts and jewelry, some of which was later bought by Louis I of Bavaria and is now housed in the Egyptian Museum of Berlin.

Visiting the pyramids

Having such a magnificent site pretty much to yourself and not having to fight your way through the crowds to catch a glimpse of a famous tourist spot is a reason enough for many to take that journey. Upon reaching the pyramids, except from the otherworldly landscape, you will be welcomed by friendly locals offering camel rides around the pyramids. The pyramids are especially magical during sunrise or sunset and luckily, it is possible to spend the night camping so that you can enjoy these sights.

Sudan - Africa's Hidden Treasure

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