Even though these majestic pyramids are included in the UNESCO World Heritage and are similar to those of Giza, the pyramids of Meroe are rarely visited and very little appreciated. These small steep pyramids rise from the barren hills of northern Sudan and resemble those of neighboring Egypt, but unlike those of Giza, almost nobody visits the Pyramids of Meroe.
The Pyramids of Meroe, located about 200 kilometers north of the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, receive few visitors despite being included in the list of World Heritage Sites. Politics as always seem to be the mayor cause why these incredible constructions are not appreciated as they should be due to the sanctions imposed to the government of President Omar al-Bashir.
The site is often referred to as the Island of Meroe because it is surrounded by the bed of an ancient river. It was the principal residence of the rulers of the kingdom of Kush, called the black pharaohs. The pyramids ranging in dimensions between six and 30 meters in height, were built between 720 and 300 BC. The entrances of the Pyramids usually point to the east toward the rising sun, greeting it in the most incredible way. These pyramids are considered invaluable relics of humanity, some of them have decorative elements displaying Egyptian, Greek and Roman influences.
Some archaeologists of the nineteenth century tore the golden tips of the pyramids and some were reduced to rubble. It is very important to support these ancient constructions. More importantly, archeologists believe that there are numerous enigmas surrounding these pyramids. Some have suggested that there are many more invaluable findings beneath the harsh soil where these pyramids stand today. Difficulties accusing the site due to the many sanctions imposed to the government are one of the primary reasons archaeologists have had a hard time exploring these ancient structures.
With its pyramids, Meroe is a monument that intertwines the history of Egypt and Sudan. Egypt ruled what is now Sudan for five centuries, until the fall of the Egyptian empire in the 12th century BC.
These ancient monuments are believed to be around 4600 years old and are smaller and steeper than the pyramids of Egypt.
The director of the National Museum of Sudan, Omar Abdel-Rahman says: “These pyramids are different from the pharaonic pyramids, and the number of pyramids in Sudan is much larger than in Egypt.”
The Sudanese tourism industry has suffered the effects of sanctions due to the conflicts in Darfur and elsewhere. The government of al-Bashir, who seized power in a bloodless Islamist coup in 1989, has struggled to care of these antique treasures.
The Sudanese kings ruled in Egypt about 400 years later adopting Egyptian funerary practices and other rituals. Meroe was a flourishing center around 400 BC. Their culture dates back to Egypt, South Africa and even Greece.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia, Flickr, Pinterest