October 20, 2014

1309 SUDAN - Archaeological Sites of the Island of Meroe (UNESCO WHS)

The Archaeological Sites of the Island of Meroe, a semi-desert landscape between the Nile and Atbarah rivers (the modern region of Butana), was the heartland of the Kingdom of Kush, a major power from the 8th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D. The property consists of the royal city of the Kushite kings at Meroe (on the east bank of the Nile, approximately 200 km north-east of Khartoum), the nearby religious site of Naqa and Musawwarat es-Sufra.

It was the seat of the rulers who occupied Egypt for close to a century (the Twenty-fifth Dynasty) and features, among other vestiges, pyramids, temples and domestic buildings as well as major installations connected to water management. Their vast empire extended from the Mediterranean to the heart of Africa, and the property testifies to the exchange between the art, architectures, religions and languages of both regions.

Prior to the Kushites building these pyramids, there had been no pyramid construction in Egypt and the Nile Valley for more than 500 years. The site of the city of Meroë is marked by more than two hundred pyramids in three groups, of which many are in ruins, but three of them were reconstructed (in the postcard). During the Meroitic period, over forty queens and kings were buried there. These architectural structures, the applied iconography and evidence of production and trade, including ceramics and iron-works, testify to the wealth and power of the Kushite State.

They have distinctive size and proportions of Nubian pyramids, which differ markedly from the Egyptian edifices: they are built of stepped courses of horizontally positioned stone blocks and range from approximately 6 to 30m in height, but rise from fairly small foundation footprints that rarely exceed 8m in width, resulting in tall, narrow structures inclined at approximately 70 degrees. Sadly, most of the Meroe pyramids were decapitated by a treasure hunter, Guiseppe Ferline, who passed through in 1834.

About the stamp
Since 1898, the Camel Postman was used in many series of stamps, and the one on the postcard is one of them, belonging of a definitive series issued recently.

Meroë - Wikipedia
Archaeological Sites of the Island of Meroe - UNESCO official website

Sender: Mohamed Ezzelden
Sent from Khartoum (Khartoum / Sudan), on 19.08.2014

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