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Impressions of Sudan

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Are there more pyramids in Egypt than anywhere else in the world? Well, do not answer too fast, just wait until you discover Sudan. Very much off the beaten track, mysteriously tucked away along the upper Nile that mightily meanders North through the desert of sand and rock, ‘the Sudan’ is often overlooked and yet so rich in history and culture: the kings of Meroë, the empire of Kush, the Black Pharaohs who at times dominated the entire Egyptian world, the traces of invasions by Roman legions, the development of early Christianity which solidly held ground here until driven out by Islam as late as the 13th century. It all turns Sudan into a very rewarding place to visit, and it generously makes up for the fairly harsh travel logistics one somehow expects, one definitely has to deal with more or less every day, and which at the end one gladly dismisses as futile. What remains is the magic...

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Khartoum was founded in 1821 on the confluence of the White Nile, with sources in Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile, originating in Lake Taha, Ethiopia. The settlement was meant to become the capital, the power centre from where the Ottoman Egyptian Kingdom of Mohamed Ali's son Ibrahim would rule Sudan. Near the confluence a large metal bridge spans the wide river. In 1884 the local Mahdi forces captured Khartoum chasing the alliance of Egypt and England away. Not for long, because in the battle of Omdurman, just across the river, Herbert Kitchener reconquered the capital in 1896. A regime was set up for the joint occupation of Sudan by Egypt and the UK, and now things would last until Sudan's independence in 1956.

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