DestinationsAfricaIn Fact, Sudan Pyramids are More Than Egypt Pyramids
In Fact, Sudan Pyramids are More Than Egypt Pyramids

In Fact, Sudan Pyramids are More Than Egypt Pyramids

Thanks to the development of agriculture, Sudanese civilization in Africa achieved prosperity and maintained it for a long time. Throughout their development, Sudanese people have always remembered their gods and kings by erecting temples and tombs to preserve their bodies. As a result, more than 250 Sudan pyramids were built and stand today. It’s nearly double the 138 pyramids in Egypt.

The History of Sudan Pyramids

In fact, this area was originally an Egyptian colony. However, when the new Egyptian dynasty disintegrated in the 18th century, the Kushites rebelled and established a wealthy dynasty of their own, holding vast territory in Sudan.

The Kingdom of Kush originated in 8000 BC, with ceramic remains found near the capital Kerma. Located in the southern Nubia region of northeastern Africa, Kush was a “complex and highly stratified urban society, with a foundation of extensive agriculture.” The kings of Kush built pyramids, building them all over Sudan.

However, it took a long time for Western tourists to be able to admire these ancient masterpieces. The reason is that the tourism industry here is hindered by two civil wars and the war of independence that led to the establishment of South Sudan in 2011.

Meroe was the capital of the Kushites’ kingdom until the empire’s fall in 400 AD. Additionally, it is home to Sudan’s best-preserved pyramids. More than 200 of them spread across the sand. Especially, their granite and sandstone bases are carved with images of elephants, giraffes, and antelopes, evidence that these were once fertile grasslands.

ancient sudan pyramids

Sudan Pyramids vs Egyptian Pyramids

Unlike the Egyptian pyramid at Giza, the Meroe pyramid is smaller with an average height of 6-30 m, much lower than the Great Pyramid in Egypt, which has an average height of up to 138m.

The structure of the Meroe pyramid is also special. Instead of being built independently, pyramids in Sudan are often built adjacent to the temples right next to them.

In 2011, the Meroe Pyramid Complex was recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage. Despite the ongoing unrest related to the 2021 coup, authorities still advise against traveling to Sudan. Therefore, very few tourists visit the country and often stay no more than 10 days.

meroe sudan pyramids
An image of Sudan pyramids.
egypt pyramids of giza
The Pyramid of Giza, Egypt.

A Quick Comparison of Sudan Pyramids vs Egyptian Pyramids

AspectSudan PyramidsEgyptian Pyramids
LocationEastern Sudan (Nubia)Giza, Saqqara, etc.
Number of PyramidsOver 250Around 138
Design StyleNubian influence, uniqueClassic Egyptian
PurposeTombs for kings, queensTombs for pharaohs
Time Period751 BC–AD 3502700 BC–1700 BC
LegacyRich history, lesser-knownWorld-famous

10 Facts about Sudan Pyramids

1. More Pyramids Than Egypt

  • Sudan boasts over 250 pyramids, two times more than Egypt! These ancient structures were built by the Nubian civilization, dating back to around 2500 BC.

2. Kingdom of Kush

  • The Sudan pyramids belonged to the Kingdom of Kush, one of Africa’s most powerful ancient kingdoms. Kush occupied the Nile Valley region, which eventually became known as Nubia.

3. Not Built Simultaneously

  • Sudanese pyramids, unlike their Egyptian counterparts, did not arise simultaneously. Instead, they emerged over several centuries, constructed in distinct periods.

4. Purpose and Tombs

  • Like their Egyptian counterparts, the Sudan pyramids served as royal tombs for kings and queens of the Kingdom of Kush.

5. Two Main Locations

  • The Nubian pyramids are found in Napata and Meroe.
  • Napata was the capital from around 1000 BC to 300 BC, while Meroe served as the capital from 300 BC to 300 AD.

6. Meroe: Pyramid Hotspot

  • Meroe hosts the highest number of Nubian pyramids. Over 40 queens and kings were buried here, explaining the higher density of pyramids in this desert region.
meroe nubian sudan pyramids
In fact, the Sudan pyramids are twice the Egypt pyramids.

7. Structural Differences

  • The Sudanese pyramids differ structurally from Egyptian pyramids.
  • Unlike Egyptian pyramids, Sudan’s pyramids lack a pyramidion (small pyramid) at the top.
  • Their steep slopes resemble the chapel pyramids at Deir el-Medina, and they were built using a “shaft” to lift heavy stones.

8. UNESCO-Listed Site

  • One of the most famous sites is the Archaeological Sites of the Island of Meroe.
  • This UNESCO-listed area features around 100 pyramids, dating from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD.

9. Italian Treasure Hunter

  • In the 1820s, an Italian doctor destroyed over 40 pyramids in both Egypt and Sudan while searching for treasure.

10. Emerging from Egypt’s Shadow

  • Sudan’s remarkable ancient civilization, including its pyramids, is now emerging from the shadow of its more famous neighbor to the north.

Unveiling the Hidden Treasures of Sudan

The Sudan pyramids, standing proudly along the Nile River, hold secrets that echo through time. These lesser-known marvels, built by the Kingdom of Kush, deserve our attention. As you delve into their history, remember that Sudan’s ancient civilization has been overlooked for far too long. Let’s celebrate the legacy of the Sudanese pyramids and share their story with the world!

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Khoi Nguyen builds The Broad Life with a desire to inspire people go exploring the world and live a more interesting, experience, and adventurous life. This blog shares the stories, pictures, and experiences at destinations where he has traveled to.

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