The Pyramids of Meroë in Sudan are some of the most magnificent and awe-inspiring structures in the world. Built over 2,000 years ago, these massive pyramids tower over the desert, their imposing size and grandeur a testament to the power and wealth of the ancient kingdom of Kush.
The Meroë pyramids are built of granite and sandstone in the Nubian style, with small bases and steep slopes between six and 30 metres in height. In contrast with the colossal pyramids of Giza in Egypt, which are up to 139 metres high, the Meroë pyramids are much smaller. However, the Nubian pyramids are considered to be just as significant as their Egyptian counterparts.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site at the pyramids of Sudan is definitely worth the hot drive through the desert! The route to the pyramids is dotted with quaint villages that offer a glimpse into the traditional lifestyle of Sudan's warm and welcoming local population. Having the pyramids all to yourself without the need to queue up or strenuously navigate your way through crowds of tourists makes the experience even more special.
A day trip from the Sudanese capital city of Khartoum will take you to a stretch of desert where ancient pyramids loom before you. These pyramids were built by the ancient Nubian civilization and are some of the most well-preserved pyramids in the world. The pyramids are a sight to behold, and it is easy to see why they are such a popular tourist destination.
For centuries, the pyramids of Meroë were lost to the outside world, their existence known only to a handful of scholars and adventurers. But in recent years, they have been rediscovered and are now becoming a popular tourist destination.
Visiting the pyramids of Meroë is a truly unforgettable experience. Standing at the base of these massive structures, it is hard to imagine the effort and engineering that went into their construction.
And as you explore the pyramids, you can't help but wonder about the people who built them and the civilization that once thrived here.
Sudan was once home to the majestic kingdom of Kush, a rich and powerful culture that rivalled even the mighty Egyptian empire.
The city of Meroë became its capital, where over 30 kings were buried amid 200 pyramids. In comparison, there are only 118 pyramids in all of Egypt!
There are many comparisons between the two civilizations, and similar to the pyramids of ancient Egypt, these pyramids were built as tombs. The pyramids are as striking as they are numerous and quite a sight!
There's no question that the pyramids of Sudan are breathtaking. And according to the Sudanese Minister of Information, Ahmed Bilal Othman, they may also be considerably older than Egypt's famous pyramids. If true, this would be a staggering discovery, with implications not just for our understanding of the history of Sudan but of the entire region.
Unfortunately, not everyone is convinced. There is a strong reaction from Egypt, especially from experts in history. But whether the claims are ultimately proven true or not, one thing is for sure - the pyramids of Sudan are a sight to behold and well worth a visit for anyone interested in exploring the world's ancient wonders.
There is no question that the ancient city of Meroë was a wonder in its day. The ruins still exist and are a testament to the skill of the architects and builders who created them.
However, the most infamous act of destruction at Meroë is attributed to the Italian treasure hunter Giuseppe Ferlini. In the 1830s, Ferlini destroyed several of the pyramids in a ruthless search for ancient artefacts. His actions caused irreparable damage to the city and its monuments, and they have left a lasting stain on his legacy.
As he blew up one of these, the Italian dealer laid hands on a fantastic treasure that turned out to have belonged to Kandake (Queen) Amanishakheto. The priceless historical documentation that a proper archaeological investigation would have yielded was pulverised by the explosion and the objects were sold to museums in Munich in 1839, and Berlin in 1844.
Ferlini's actions were highly controversial and drew criticism from the international community. Some argued that he had destroyed an important part of Sudanese history and heritage. Others, however, praised him for his discovery, which shed new light on the little-known Kingdom of Kush.
Ferlini's discovery of the Queen's treasure was a significant find, but it came at a great cost. The destruction of the pyramids has forever changed our understanding of the Kingdom of Kush and its history.
If you're not travelling on a pre-booked tour, the easiest and most reliable way to get to the Meroë Pyramids is to take the bus from Khartoum to the small town of Shendi. From Shendi, hire a taxi to Meroë (47 km each way) for the total cost of 100 to 150 SDP, including waiting time.
Alternatively, when it's not so hot, another option would be to take a bus from Atbara to Shendi or Khartoum and get off when you see the pyramids. Download an offline map to help you navigate better from maps.me or Google.
The Meroë pyramids are only about a half kilometre from the highway. From the road, the pyramids are visible - you can't miss them.
Officially, visitors need a permit to visit the pyramids, which can be purchased from the national museum in Khartoum. However, it is not uncommon for tourists to visit the pyramids without a permit.
Surrounded by golden desert sands and overlooking the striking steep-sided pyramids of Meroë, the Meroë tented camp is located in Bagarwiya (about 230 km north of Khartoum) and offers accommodation in 22 spacious and tastefully appointed tents (each 4x4m in the area).
The standard of accommodation is basic but the experience of staying in this beautiful desert region with its stunning archaeological treasures is second to none.
Each twin-bedded tent is set on a concrete base and has its own veranda with two comfortable chairs on which you can relax while admiring the astonishing view of more than forty Kushite pyramids - located just 2 km away! Electricity is available for lighting until eleven each night.
Sudan may not be the first country that comes to mind when you think of travel, but it is a place that is full of history and culture. And the pyramids of Meroë are a perfect example of that.
If you're looking for an adventure that is off the beaten path, then a visit to the pyramids of Meroë is a must. So why not check out one of Egypt Uncovered's amazing Meroë tours.
If you are looking for a tour and not finding what you are looking for, have a look at our best other related tours to check out for your travel plans. At Encounters Travel, we offer a variety of tours to suit your needs. So sit back, relax, and let us help you plan the perfect getaway.
This tour of Sudan traces the footsteps of ancient civilisations, from the sprawling desert city of Khartoum, to the stunning pyramids at Meroe. We unearth these incredible ancient sites & sample the unique Nubian culture.
From the vast deserts & nomadic Bedouins of Sudan to the Great Pyramids & mighty River Nile of Egypt, this tour joins our Hidden treasures & Nubian Adventure tours to create a perfect introduction to this fascinating desert region
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