sudan - the black pharaohs

Welcome to the Meroe Pyramids.


The Meroe Pyramids are located in the North-East of Sudan near the banks of the Nile in the area commonly known as Nubia. There are close to two hundred pyramids in a relatively small area, the ancient burial site of the Merotic Kingdom (sometimes known as the Kingdom of Kush). The Pyramids are smaller than their Egyptian cousins but equally impressive due to their number. The first of the Meroe Pyramids were built about 800 years after the last Egyptian pyramids were completed. The Meroe pyramids were constructed from large blocks of sandstone. They're angled more steeply than the Egyptian pyramids.

The Kush Kingdom flourished for 900 hundred years from around 800 B.C. to 280 A.D. and held power over a vast area covering much of the Nile Delta and as far south as Khartoum. Meroe became very important as the Kingdom's center from around 300 B.C. to 280 A.D. Egyptian influence remained strong and Egyptian artisans were used to build the Meroe Pyramids to commemorate dead royalty. The dead were buried in chambers underneath the pyramids.

Excavations of the Pyramids started in mid 19th Century. Most notoriously, an Italian explorer, Giuseppe Ferlini (1800-1870), smashed the tops off 40 pyramids in a quest to find treasure. What was found was brought back to British and German museums along with samples of Meroitic writing and reliefs depicting historical events. Through the years, the pyramids have been plundered of all their wealth and left to the elements. But many of the pyramids still stand and their architectural elegance is worth a trip. Some of the pyramids have been reconstructed so you get a good idea of what they must have looked like.


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Taken in April 2009