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Sudan: Sudan National Museum

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Sudan National Museum | Sudan | Africa

[Visited: March 2014]

After travelling around Sudan and enjoying visiting many historic sights, we have reached the last day of our stay in the country. Our flight leaves in the afternoon, and there is only one thing on our mind: visiting the National Museum of Sudan before our departure. We have passed it several times before, on the banks of the river Nile, and now, it is finally time to go in. We pay the ridiculously low entrance fee (especially compared to the entrance fees levied at the sights around the country), and walk into the pleasant garden. Here, we find not only flowers and an empty water basin, but also three fully reconstructed temples. Taken from the area that was flooded after the completion of the Aswan Dam, the temples of Buhen, Semna and Kumma were rebuilt stone by stone. Moreover, they are all covered by a roof, and thus better protected against the elements.

Picture of Sudan National Museum (Sudan): Lion statues in the garden of the museum

We walk into the temple of Buhen first, which has remarkable hieroglyphs and figures carved out of the stone wall, remarkable also because they are quite colourful. Fortunately, there is sufficient light inside to see the rich decorations on the big blocks of which the temple was constructed. Close by is the temple of Semna, and the temple of Kumma; which are a bit darker inside, but both of which also have richly decorated walls which we scan in search of interesting hieroglyphs. Walking towards the main museum building, we pass two giant statues outside, the Tabo Colossal Statues which are from Kerma. Furthermore, there are two lines of lion statues leading up to the main entrance of the museum proper. Our eyes have to adjust a little bit, and then, we start exploring the interior of the museum.

Picture of Sudan National Museum (Sudan): Artifact depicting a face in the museum

While walking past the objects on display, a satisfactory feel comes over us. Our entire trip through Sudan now comes together. We find statues, jewelry, a sarcophagus, and more explanations of all the sites we have already seen. Visiting the sites has been very exciting, but we knew that much, or all, of the riches that had been discovered there, had been taken to various museums; this National Museum is only one of them. There is a larger-than-life statue of Taharqa, whose pyramid we saw at Nuri. There are items from Holy Mountain of Jebel Barkal. There are objects from the Begrawiya pyramids, and the area around Kerma. There are precious small items, and bigger ones as well. It is a recap of our journey through the desert country, and a perfect wrap-up before our imminent departure. On the first floor, we find frescoes rescued from old churches of the Nubian region. While downstairs, taking pictures was no problem at all, a caretaker now tells us that no pictures can be taken, and watches us. We get the feeling that these beautiful frescoes are somehow considered less important; is it because they are Christian? When we reach the time limit we have set ourselves, it is only two and a half hours before take-off, and we still have to buy some gifts, drink our last fruit juice, get our stuff from the hotel, and find a car to the airport. It feels we are postponing leaving the country that has grown on us and that has become so dear to us; we have certainly used every single opportunity to enjoy our visit.

Picture of Sudan National Museum (Sudan): Small gazelle statue in the museum
Picture of Sudan National Museum (Sudan): Tall statue of King Taharqa on display in the museum
Picture of Sudan National Museum (Sudan): Wall of temple of Buhen covered in hieroglyphs and figures carved out of stone
Picture of Sudan National Museum (Sudan): Female statue in the museum
Picture of Sudan National Museum (Sudan): Decorative wall painting in the temple of Buhen
Picture of Sudan National Museum (Sudan): Colourful hieroglyphs can be found in the temple of Buhen
Picture of Sudan National Museum (Sudan): Fresco rescued from a church from the Christian era in Nubia
Picture of Sudan National Museum (Sudan): Detail of a wall covered in hieroglyphs in the temple of Kumma
Picture of Sudan National Museum (Sudan): Stele of Amenemhet with figures on display in the museum
Picture of Sudan National Museum (Sudan): Vase with golden gods and a Greek inscription on a blue background on display in the museum
Picture of Sudan National Museum (Sudan): Golden artifact on display in the museum
Picture of Sudan National Museum (Sudan): The ruins of the temple of Buhen, saved before the flooding of the area it was originally constructed
Picture of Sudan National Museum (Sudan): Detail of the temple of Buhen which was rebuilt on the premises of the museum before the opening of the Aswan Dam

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