Sudan’s pyramids to be restored soon after long neglect

 Saturday, November 16, 2019 


Sudan’s pyramids are among world-class attractions neglected for long by the world.


Sudan has more, although smaller pyramids than Egypt, but attracted only about 700,000 tourists last year as compared to some 10 million by its northern neighbor.


Conflicts and crises under veteran ruler Omar al-Bashir, a tough visa regime and a lack of roads and decent hotels outside Khartoum have made Sudan an unattractive tourist destination.


However, with Bashir losing power in April, the new civilian transition government is simplifying visa rules to attract more visitors to places like the Royal Pyramids of Meroe. A film crew was shooting a promotional video for a travel agency in Khartoum.


Like the Egyptians, the Nubian Kush dynasty ruling in the area some 2,500 years ago buried members of the royal family in pyramid tombs.


Near Meroe’s pyramids, there are an array of temples with ancient drawings of animals and the ancient city of Naga, and there are more pyramids further north at Jebel Barka.


The new government of Sudan has already started easing the visa system, including dropping a permit that was needed to travel outside Khartoum, said Graham Abdel-Qadir, undersecretary of the ministry of information, culture and tourism.


“There has been already a rise of tourists in October and November thanks to the new system,” said Abdel-Qadir.


Arrivals went down this year due to unrest but numbers are expected to go beyond 900,000 next year and might reach up to 1.2 million in 2021, he said.


Sudan needs tourists after decades of isolation and hyperinflation. At Meroe, thanks to money from Qatar and German expertise, a visitor’s center has been set up that explains the history of Sudan and the pyramids. There are walking tracks and a new reception center.


For the first time, visitors can enter the pyramids’ interior and will soon be able to go into tombs underneath. Several pyramids will also be restored after decades of neglect.


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