The pyramids of Meroe, Sudan’s most popular tourist attraction, pictured on Saturday, March 31, 2007. The old Kushite capital of Meroe contains around 100 pyramids in various states of preservation. The earliest date from around the 8th century BC, Kings and Queens continued to be buried here until the fall of Kushite rule in the 4th century AD.
The ancient kingdom of Kush emerged around 2000 BC in the land of Nubia, what is today northern Sudan. At their height the Nubians ruled over ancient Egypt as the 25th Dynasty between 720 BC and 664 BC (known as the Black Pharaohs) and saw their borders reach to edges of Libya and Palestine. The Kushite kings saw themselves as guardians of Egyptian religion and tradition. They centered there kindgom on the Temple of Amun at Napata (modern day Jebel Barkal) and brought back the building of Pyramids in which to inter their kings – there are around 220 pyramids in Sudan, twice the number in Egypt. After Napata was sacked, by a resurgent Egypt, the capital was moved to Meroe where a more indigenous culture developed, Egyptian hieroglyphics made way for a cursive Meroitic script, yet to be deciphered. The Meroitic kingdom eventually fell into decline in the 3rd century AD with the arrival of Christianity.