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Location: Meroe   Map

Date: 260 BC to 350 AD

Height: 98 feet (30 m)

When: Oct- Mar

Entry: $9

Temp: Jan 90F (32 C)

Apr 100F (38 C)

Oct 104F (40 C)

Pyramids of Meroe

Meroe pyramids






Description of Pyramids of Meroe Archaeological Site

Pyramids of Meroe

Pyramids of Meroe are located outside of the city and 200 km north-east of Khartoum in Sudan.  This archaeological site of Pyramids of Meroe consists of three royal cemeteries that were used to bury royalty as well as their family and servants. Close proximity to the ancient Egypt certainly influenced the shape of the burial structures of Meroe. However they are smaller with steeper walls. Pyramids of Meroe are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.





The first settlements on the site of Meroe began to appear, apparently, back in the VIII century. BC e. After the conquest of Egypt by Assyria in 671 BC. e. on the territory of the historical region of Kush, a kingdom was formed with a center in the city of Napata.

In the second half of the VI century. BC e. the capital of the state was moved to Meroe (hence the Meroite kingdom). After relocating the capital, Napata retained the significance of a religious center. Here were the royal tombs - the pyramids, the coronation of the kings was carried out, the election of which was approved by the priests.

About the middle of the 3rd century BC e. King Meroe Ergamen (Irk-Amon) put an end to the political influence of Napat priests, who before that had the opportunity to depose disagreeable kings and to nominate their successors. There is evidence that the king of Hellenistic Egypt, Ptolemy IV and King Ergamen maintained constant diplomatic relations. Since that time, the king’s power is believed to become hereditary, Meroe also turns into a religious and cultural center.

During the period of Persian rule in Egypt, the Meroite kingdom lost a number of its northern territories. In the II – I centuries. BC e. in connection with the decline of the political power of the Ptolemaic power and the aggravation of the social struggle within Egypt, the Meroite kingdom began to intervene in Egyptian affairs, supporting popular movements in southern Egypt. When the Romans in 30 BC. e. they conquered Egypt and the people of Thebes tried to rebuff them, raising uprisings, Ethiopian troops led by Kandaks invaded Egypt, but were driven back, and the Egyptians pacified. In 23 BC e. Roman troops led by the prefect Guy Petronius captured Napata, annexed northern Ethiopia to the Roman province of Egypt.

From the 3rd century n e. the kingdom began to decline. The states of Alva, Mukurra, Nobatia were formed on the territory of the Meroit kingdom.


The first of the Europeans of the Meroe pyramid reached Linan de Belfon in 1821. In the same year, they were first investigated by the French scientist and traveler Frederic Cayo. In 1834, an Italian adventurer Giuseppe Ferlini undertook an expedition here. In search of treasures, Ferlini destroyed about 40 pyramids, 5 of them were destroyed to the ground. Ferlini is believed to have used explosives to achieve his goal.

Excavations of Meroe by archaeologists began in 1902. In the years 1909-1914, they were led by the English archaeologist John Garstang (however, their results were never published), in 1920-1923 the royal scientist George Reisner studied the tsar necropolises. Of great importance were the excavations of Meroe by the English archaeologist Peter Shinny.

Since January 2009, a Russian-Italian archaeological expedition has been working at the archaeological site of Abu Erteil of the Meroit civilization of the 1st – 3rd centuries, 9 km south of Meroe.

In 2011, Meroe with the nearby archaeological zones of Musavvarat es Sufra and Naga was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site by UNESCO.





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