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Sunday, March 12, 2017

UNESCO Heritage Sites in Sudan

Since 2003, three properties in northeastern Africa's SUDAN were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List (↗). Before that, Sudan ratified the 1970 UNESCO Convention on June 6th, 1974. Meanwhile, five sites are on the Tentative List and have not yet been nominated for the coveted World Heritage Site designation — the port city of Suakin, Kerma the former capital city, Old Dongola the former capital city (of the Makouria Kingdom), Dinder National Park, and Wadi Howar National Park. Below are details pertaining to Sudan's three UNESCO Heritage Sites.

Gebel Barkal and Napatan Region (↗), 2003
UNESCO description: "These five archaeological sites, stretching over more than 60 kilometers in the Nile valley, are testimony to the Napatan (900 to 270 BC) and Meroitic (270 BC to 350 AD) cultures of the second kingdom of Kush. Tombs — with and without pyramids, temples, living complexes and palaces — are to be found on the site. Since Antiquity, the hill of Gebel Barkal has been strongly associated with religious traditions and folklore. The largest temples are still considered by the local people as sacred places." Present-day Gebel Barkal is located near the Nile River's western bank in the city of Karima.

Sheep sculptures look defiantly forward in the Meroë archaeological site, northeastern Sudan

Island of Meroë Archaeological Sites (↗), 2011
Located east of the Nile River in the River Nile state (wilayat) in northeastern Sudan, Meroë is particularly known for its smooth pyramids, animal sculptures (particularly of sheep), and petroglyphs. Did You Know? The general Meroë and Nubian Desert region in Sudan touts a larger number of pyramids compared to Egypt! Egypt has about 138 discovered pyramids, while Sudan has more than 220. Many of Egypt's versions are more famous due to their immense sizes.

Smooth- and rough-sided pyramids at the Meroë archaeological site, northeastern Sudan

Here is UNESCO's description of the Meroë site: "The Archaeological Sites of the Island of Meroë, a semi-desert landscape between the Nile and Atbara rivers, was the heartland of the Kingdom of Kush, a major power from the 8th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D. The property consists of the royal city of the Kushite kings at Meroë, near the River Nile, the nearby religious site of Naqa and Musawwarat es Sufra. It was the seat of the rulers who occupied Egypt for close to a century and features, among other vestiges, pyramids, temples and domestic buildings as well as major installations connected to water management. Their vast empire extended from the Mediterranean to the heart of Africa, and the property testifies to the exchange between the art, architectures, religions, and languages of both regions."

Dungonab Bay, Sanganeb Reef, and Mukkawar Island (↗), 2016
UNESCO's official title for this bisected property is rather lengthy: "Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay - Mukkawar Island Marine National Park." Whatever you want to call it, these protected marine areas became officially designated — by the World Heritage Committee in Istanbul, Turkey — as one UNESCO site in July of 2016. Sanganeb is an isolated coral reef area in the Red Sea. Mukkawar (Mukawwar) Island and Dungonab Bay are both located approximately 125 kilometers north of Port Sudan. The whole property is known for its biodiverse beaches, coral reefs, islets, mangroves, and seagrass patches providing habitat for seabirds and various aquatic organisms (including dugongs).

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