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Sudan's Ancient Pyramids 

Randy H. Sooknanan

ASAG Journal

December 12, 2022

Less famous than their Egyptian neighbours, Sudan's pyramids have been astonishingly preserved for thousands of years. Approximately 200 kilometres out of Khartoum and into the Sudanese desert, appearing like a mirage, stand the ancient pyramids of Meroe. Here we find the home of around 200 pyramids and temples—more than there are in the whole of Egypt. The pyramids in Sudan are almost 5,000 years old, spread across three sites and differ from their more famous Egyptian counterparts because of their smaller bases and steep sloping sides. 

In North Africa, thousands of years ago, Meroe served as the capital city of the Kingdom of Kush; the realm presided over by the Nubian dynasty. In battle, the Kush were famous for their archers, and the bow and arrow was often depicted in the art of their culture. Sometimes the region was called the "Land of the Bow" because of its famous archers. One of the most famous leaders of the Kush was Piye, who conquered Egypt and became the pharaoh of Egypt. Thus, far off the well-trodden tourist path of those Egyptian pyramids, this area in North Sudan was also once part of the realm of pharaohs too, and this explains why such a magnificent collection of pyramids and temples can be found here. 

In all, Sudan's pyramids were designed as tombs for their Nubian kings, such as the El Kurru necropolis, which housed the tomb of the famous King Tanutamun, so when stepping inside them today, we can see elaborate paintings that adorn the walls and showcase the highlights of the reign of their celebrated kings. 

In the area, we also find The Lion Temple, also known as the temple of Mussawarat, which was built in homage to Apedemak, the Kushite lion god and was constructed between 235-218 BC. This temple's exterior and inside decoration gives excellent examples of Nubian culture and how it differs from ancient Egyptian practices. Notice that the pharaohs depicted here are far more decorated and ornate than the Egyptian rulers and that the Nubian queens are rendered in similar proportions to the kings, suggesting a similar level of importance as opposed to a subservient position.


Sudan's Ancient Pyramids 

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