In the company of the Nubian People

and my travels in the Sahara

1st March 2020

More than mountains, forests, and beaches, I have always loved deserts. Its open brink of nothingness that excites me. I guess there is a strange spirituality in the silence of the desert. 

It’s no coincidence that Jesus, Moses, and Mohammed went into the desert to talk with the Almighty. 

 

I would pore over National Geographic magazines and dream of adventures and the rolling dunes of the Sahara.  At the break of dawn,  here I am climbing the dunes and leaving behind nothing but footprints as I have always imagined In my boyhood years. 

 

I stood patiently for the first rays of dawn to illuminate the pyramids of Meroe the burial site of the Nubian kings and queens making this one of the most important empires of the ancient world.

18°
26'
41.63'' N
30°
9'
32.15'' E

Rising high in the sky in the modern-day nation of Sudan with a large or excessive sum of pyramids. They mark the site of the ancient city Meroë,  now a  UNESCO World Heritage site.

" You are now in the sites of Meroe, Naqa and Musawwarat, located in the Nile province of Sudan and is the heartland of the Kush Kingdom from the 8th Century B.C to the 4th Century AD.  also known as ‘The Island of Meroe’ because of its position at the confluence of Blue Nile, the White Nile, and the Atbara River. 

I have been working here for the past  10 years and haven't missed a day at work. There are many unsolved and unexplored areas at this site, I am glad you have come to my country "

 

 -  Musthafa,  56  

 

 Smoked-filled room with Nubians, the halfway point to nowhere in this new frontier.  Sunlight poured through the round windows adding drama to the room just like in an Indiana Jones Movie 

  

   -  28th Feb 2020 

Al  Matammah village, Sudan

The Nubian people are an ethnic group that originated in present-day Egypt and Sudan. and is one of the most ancient civilizations in Africa.  They have a long history that dates back to the Egyptian dynasty and they ruled Egypt during the VIII century B.C. They speak their own language, which, even though it’s hard to imagine, is a non-written language. 

Donkey-drawn carts are the most popular way of transport for the local Nubians

Somewhere between Dongola and Wadi Halfa lies Soleb, an ancient town in Nubia, on the western side of the Nile.

Nubian family, Mohommed with his two wives and daughter in the nearby village invited us for tea

Dawn at the ancient temple site of Solab

Impressive sites of Musawwarat es-Sufra and Naqa is now inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list as part of the serial nomination ‘Island of Meroe’ in 2011.

" My work here at Musawwarat  is not complete  I came here as a small boy in 1968. today I carry out  excavation with the team  and look after this site with pride and will be here for a lot more years to come "

- Mushtaq, 55

Naqa or Naga'a is a ruined ancient city of the Kushitic Kingdom of Meroë

Hieroglyphic inscriptions revealed Arnekhamani was the King who had commissioned the building of Lion Temple,

which he dedicated to the lion-headed Meroitic god, Apedemak – responsible both for creation and war.

The little Nubian girl seeks shelter from the hot midday sun 

The British build this 200m well 40 years ago today its the only source of water for the nearby villagers of Naqa

Nubians are welcoming people This small wayside boutique is filled with character.

father and son sharing a mid-day meal, the cook waits patiently till I finish photographing to take my order and finally, the guy is busy washing dishes.

for lunch, it was kissera (bread made with wheat & durian) with a generous portion of Goat stew,  to complete the meal a warm cup of hibiscus tea. Just perfect  

"With some of the friendliest people in Africa, this journey has been a once in a lifetime experience. After many days of travel, I have truly experienced the hospitality of  the Nubian people and I am  grateful for the untamed and solitary ruins of Sudan which allowed me to be alone with the ancient world’

 - Viran de Silva

 Sudan March 2020

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Artist | Photographer | Traveller

Viran de Silva