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Between the Nile and the Red Sea, the Nubian Pyramids peek from the vast sands of Sudan. These magnificent stone structures were built as monuments and tombs for the kings, queens and wealthy elite of two-plus-thousand years ago. They echo the famous architecture of their larger and more-touristed neighbors in Egypt, but were erected about two thousand years after the Pyramids of Giza, during a resurgence of pyramid construction around the 2nd century BC. Though smaller, they outnumber the Egyptian pyramids by almost double and new sites are still being discovered. As recently as 2012, a dense concentration of pyramids was being excavated at a site in Sedeinga.

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As an Egyptologist I’ve spent the greater part of my lifetime studying the archaeology and architecture of ancient civilizations. So for me, as for anyone with an interest in history, watching newly discovered structures built in antiquity emerge from the desert is thrilling to witness. And that is just one of the draws of this beautiful country, set in the Nile River basin where the cultures of North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa converge on the continent. At this moment in time, Sudan presents the most extraordinary opportunity for discovering cultures both of the present and the past to everyone who visits.

 

Photos and text by WT trip leader Ahmed AliExpedition to Sudan

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