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In the words of French writer, Olivier Rolin, "More truly and mysteriously than Egypt, Sudan is the realm of this fabled river". The magnetic beauty of North Sudan bears a resemblance to what Egypt was a century ago, before industrialisation and tourism took over. A country whose people are exceptionally open and warm. There are few roads leading northwards from Khartoum following the path of the Nile, and conditions are tough. The region is extraordinarily rich in archaeological heritage: on 11 January 2003 seven monumental statues of kings of the 25th dynasty were discovered in Kerma by members of the Swiss mission led by Charles Bonnet. But the 20 years of conflict between Muslims in the north and Christians in the south, and the current massacre in the Darfur region, have sadly done nothing to develop the country's heritage. The building of a dam on the 4th cataract is now threatening to destroy some exceptional and still little-known sites.

The mysterious kingdoms of the Nile. Photos ŠCyril le Tourneur d'Ison Text ŽClaudine Le Tourneur d'Ison Contact - Thierry Tinacci Lightmediation Photo Agency +33 (0)6 61 80 57 21 thierry@lightmediation.com


1467-05: Entrance gateway of one of the Meroe pyramids.


1467-02: The Meroe archeological site and its royal necropolis - the most famous site in the Sudan with its forty or so pyramids dating back to the Meroitic period (third century BC to four A.D.).

1467-03: A tribe of Bedouins crossing the ancient Meroe site, entirely isolated from modern civilization by desert sands.

1467-04: The pyramids of Meroe facing the rising sun. The site was unearthed and restored by German architect Friedrich Hinkel.

1467-05: Entrance gateway of one of the Meroe pyramids.


1467-06: In the foreground, several pyramids rebuilt by German architect Friedrich Hinkel, who spent years studying and measuring the pyramids of the Sudan.

1467-08: One of the pyramids of Meroe decapitated by plunderers. In 1824, Ferlini, an Italian, discovered a treasure inside one of the queen's pyramids. He claimed to have found the treasure at the summit of the

1467-09: A young girl sells sea shells on the Meroe site. The child belongs to a tribe of Bedouins who live in the desert areas surrounding the site.

1467-10: German architect Friedrich Hinkel posing in front of the paintings at the Buhen Temple (New Empire) which he had dismounted in 1962 during the construction of the Assouan dam. The temple was


1467-21: El-Kurru, the oldest royal necropolis in the region. This is where the first kings of the 25th dynasty were buried. The pyramidal structures which once stood on the grave sites are now gone. Here lie the funerary chambers of King Tanutamon where well preserved wall paintings still adorn the space.


1467-11: The alley of the rams at the temple of Amon on the Musawwarat es-sufra site, which dates back to the Meroitic period.

1467-12: A Roman style pavilion on the Naga site dates back to the Meroitic period (2nd to 3rd century A.D.)

1467-13: Bas-relief representing the diety Apedemak as a lion. Naga, temple of the Lion, Meroitic period.

1467-14: Relief sculpture from the temple of the Lion deity Apedemak (late 3rd century A.D.) in Musawwarat es-sufra. This magnificent edifice was entirely restored by Friedrich Hinkel.


1467-16: From the summit of Djebel Barkal, a view of the vestiges of the temples found in the former capital of the kingdom of Kush, Napata (around 750 B.C.)

1467-17: At the foot of the Djebel Barkal stand two columns representing Goddess Hathor. Seen head on, the mountain's rocky spire appears. This spire was considered a representation of the Cobra god by

1467-18: Italian archeolgist Irene Liverani stands before the pyramids located beside the Djebel Barkal.

1467-20: Irene Liverani at the foot of Djebel Barkal, standing in front of a text written during the times of King Taharqa of Nubia, third pharaoh of the 25th dynasty ( around 690 B.C.)


1467-81: In the foreground, several pyramids rebuilt by German architect Friedrich Hinkel, who spent years studying and measuring the pyramids of the Sudan.

1467-09: A young girl sells sea shells on the Meroe site. The child belongs to a tribe of Bedouins who live in the desert areas surrounding the site.


1467-21: El-Kurru, the oldest royal necropolis in the region. This is where the first kings of the 25th dynasty were buried. The pyramidal structures which once stood on the grave sites are now gone. Here

1467-22: El-Kurru. Paintings inside the tomb of Queen Kalhata.

1467-23: Pyramids of Nuri, one of royal necropolises of Napata (660 - 300 B.C.)

1467-24: Pyramids of Nuri, one of royal necropolises of Napata (660 - 300 B.C.)


1467-26: The pyramids of Nuri. Fifty eight pyramids belonging to the last kings of the 25th dynasty. The largest of the group was built to pay homage to King Taharqa.

1467-28: Construction on the dam began by setting up an inroad about two hundred meters from the Nuri pyramids. The placement of the new road threatens the site's chances at further survival.

1467-30: The rapids of the fourth cataract. At this spot, the Nile is astonishingly beautiful. The inhabitants of villages located near the banks of the river refuse to leave such a heavenly setting, in which they and

1467-32: The inhabitants of the fourth cataract. They are determined to struggle against the government in order to obtain substantial compensation for their losses, but the Sudanese authorities do not appear


1467-51: Not far from Kerma, Charles Bonnet unearthed the vestiges of a temple devoted to Akhenaton on the Dokki Gel site. The temple had been built on top of the ruins of an older temple dedicated to Thutmosis IV. Here poses the archeological mission's house draftswoman, Francoise Plojoux.


1467-34: A farmer stands on the fertile soil found on the banks of the Nile. The strata or layers of soil are the result of repeated floods which deposit fertile silt on the river banks.

1467-36: A mixed crowd consisting of trucks, four wheel drive vehicles, donkeys and men ride aboard the ferry.

1467-37: On the eastern bank of the Nile, mausoleums built to house the remains of Muslim sheikhs date back to the eighteenth century. They were built on the ruins of the former Christian capital, Old Dongola.

1467-39: The columns of one of the 14 churches built within the perimeters of Old Dongola during the first Christian kingdom of Nubia (6th - 14th century of our era).


1467-40: The ruins of the former Christian capital of Old Dongola.

1467-41: The ruins of the former Christian capital of Old Dongola.

1467-42: Polish archeologist Stephan Jakobielski in the monastery cleared of the desert sands by himself and inside which he has been conducting digs for the last decade.

1467-43: Archeologists from the Polish mission supervized by Stephan Jakobielski inside the 6th century monastery.


1467-37: On the eastern bank of the Nile, mausoleums built to house the remains of Muslim sheikhs date back to the eighteenth century. They were built on the ruins of the former Christian capital, Old Dongola.


1467-44: Byzantine era frescoes which remained intact on the walls of some of the rooms inside the monastery discovered by Stephan Jakobielski.

1467-46: Byzantine era frescoes which remained intact on the walls of some of the rooms inside the monastery discovered by Stephan Jakobielski.

1467-50: Not far from Kerma, Charles Bonnet unearthed the vestiges of a temple devoted to Akhenaton on the Dokki Gel site. The temple had been built on top of the ruins of an older temple dedicated to

1467-51: Not far from Kerma, Charles Bonnet unearthed the vestiges of a temple devoted to Akhenaton on the Dokki Gel site. The temple had been built on top of the ruins of an older temple dedicated to


1467-52: Swiss archeologist Charles Bonnet in front of the reconstruction map made using information taken from digs made in the capital, Kerma.

1467-53: The reserve area guard at the Dokki Gel site. On the shelves sit fragments of talata very specifically characteristic of the Akhenaton period.

1467-55: Vestiges of the city of Kerma. On the ground, restorations made by Charles Bonnet allowing for greater legibility of the various temple, dwelling and palace structures.

1467-56: In the village of Tombos, about an hour drive from Kerma, the abandoned colossus representing a 25th dynasty king ( 713 - 660 B.C.).


1467-61: The magnificent Nubian village of Tombos. Tradition requires that all homes be painted by women rather than men.


1467-58: At the banks of the Nile in Tombos, inscriptions by Pharaoh Thutmosis I, who was the first to make his way as far as the second cataract of the Nile during the Egyptian colonisation during the New

1467-59: Crossing over the Nile at Tombos.

1467-61: The magnificent Nubian village of Tombos. Tradition requires that all homes be painted by women rather than men.

1467-63: Egyptologist Catherine Berger el-Nagar in front of the ruins of the Temple of Soleb, on the banks of the Nile.


1467-64: Digs were conducted at the jubilee temple of Soleb which was restored after 1957 by the Italian mission supervized by Michela Shiff-Gorgoni. The monument was erected by Pharaoh Amenophis III,

1467-65: Digs were conducted at the jubilee temple of Soleb which was restored after 1957 by the Italian mission supervized by Michela Shiff-Gorgoni. The monument was erected by Pharaoh Amenophis III,

1467-68: A child from the village of Soleb in front of the temple at sunset.

1467-70: Young archeologist Vincent Francigny recording data from measurements taken in a Meroitic tomb in Sedeinga.


1467-75: Statue of a king, carved in bronze and gilded, Meroitic period, around 200 B.C. This piece of statuary was discovered during digs under the Swiss mission run by Charles Bonnet at the great temple of

1467-76: Statue of a scribe found in the pharaonic temple of Buhen, New Empire. National Museum of Khartoum.


1467-72: A farmer and his granddaughter stand facing the island of Sai.

1467-73: On the island of Sai, vestiges of a Pharaonic fortress built during the 18th dynasty (New Empire).

1467-75: Statue of a king, carved in bronze and gilded, Meroitic period, around 200 B.C. This piece of statuary was discovered during digs under the Swiss mission run by Charles Bonnet at the great temple

1467-76: Statue of a scribe found in the pharaonic temple of Buhen, New Empire. National Museum of Khartoum.


1467-77: Stele of Lapakhdaye in sandstone from the Meroitic period ( 2nd to 3rd century of our era). National Museum of Khartoum.

1467-79: Blue vase found in a grave in Sedeinga, dated 2nd to 3rd century A.D. National Museum of Khartoum.

1467-33: A Nubian village on the banks of the Nile.

1467-35: Within the borders of the Sudan, the Nile has preserved its natural and majestic beauty. Only a single ferry allows travelers to make the crossing.


1467-08: De nombreuses pyramides ont ete Ă moitie detruites. En 1824, Ferlini, un chasseur de tresors italien decouvre un tresor au sommet d'une pyramide de reine. Il s'empresse de divulguer ou etait localise son tresor, ce qui a provoque des mutilations en serie de pyramides. /// One of the pyramids of Meroe decapitated by plunderers. In 1824, Ferlini, an Italian, discovered a treasure inside one of the queen's pyramids. He claimed to have found the treasure at the summit of the pyramid. His declaration spurred the systematic looting of the pyramids, beginning by the dismemberment of the summit. No other treasure was ever discovered, but the pyramid structures were irreparably damaged.


1467-72: A farmer and his granddaughter stand facing the island of Sai.

The mysterious kingdoms of the Nile.  

In the words of French writer, Olivier Rolin, "More truly and mysteriously than Egypt, Sudan is the realm of this fabled river". The magneti...