"Bejrawiya or Begrawiya or Bijrawiya" Meroe by uglyscot
Meroe Travel Guide: 47 reviews and 167 photos
The word Meroe has several different meanings according to one archaeologist, name now forgotten. It refers to a period in Sudan's history dating from about 900 BC -35 AD: The Kingdom of Meroe, which stretched from between the 5th and 6th cataracts.
It also refers to the Royal City of Meroe just outside Shendi, and pyramids of Meroe nearby which are actually at Bejrawiya. So, I put my pictures under Shendi, until I discovered others have put theirs under Meroe, so I'm joining them.
This must not be confused with the modern town of Merowe which lies on the bend of the Nile, opposite Karima [VT Kuraimah]. It is here that the pyramids and tombs of Barkal, Nuri and EL-Kurru stand.
Leaving Shendi, it is a short drive to reach the pyramids. In the past you had to drive across the railway line and by plantations. But now with the new Khartoum -Atbara- Haya-Port Sudan road you can drive straight from Khartoum without entering Shandi. There in the desert , on a narrow range of elevated land the pyramids stand. They are like a row of decapitated dunce's caps, or a set of rotten teeth. The oldest of these pyramids were built on the southern spur and on the northern spur at the highest elevation, and later rulers were forced to built further down. Most of the pyramids have lost their tops, as the adventurer Ferlini thought treasure would be discovered in them, because one of the pyramids did have gold hidden near the top.
In all there are 223 pyramids in the Sudan, far more than in Egypt.These can be found as mentioned above at Nuri, EL-Kurru , Barkal and Begrawiya.
Here at Begrawia/Meroe were buried over 40 kings and queens. The tombs are underground, and above are pyramids built of stone blocks in stepped horizontal courses. Most have a slope of about 70 degrees, far steeper than those of Egypt. So they look tall and narrow, though vary from 6 -30 metres in height. In front of some of the pyramids at the base can be found an Egyptian-like offering temple or chapel, shaped like pylons, and with engraved pictures of the royal occupant and gods. The walls show representations of the mummification of the deceased which was covered with jewellery and placed in a wooden coffin.
A number have been reconstructed out of concrete and painted.
One of the best is N21.
Across the road to the west is the Western cemetery where there are more pyramids. Their situation is not so striking, nor are there as many. We just drove to them and round the enclosure's wire fence as it was getting late.
Since my earlier visit 10 years ago, a lot of changes have taken place, not just in the ease of getting there. The pyramids have been encroached on by huge sand dunes. There had been some signs when we were last there, but now it is a big problem. More chapels and small pyramids have been restored. Nomads are now offering camel rides, and becoming as persistent as those in Cairo. Instead of a couple of little boys trying to sell mud models of birds, there are now men and women with tables or sacks on which they spread their wares : model pyramids carved from sandstone, small lion statues, old silver and bronze, beads and necklaces, daggers, coins from the 1970s , and even the Mahdia at a price SDG 70, stones and pebbles and a man may whisper to you to come and look as he pulls a scarab or amulet from his inside waistcoat pocket. Genuine? Probably not, though even if the article is no t, he is probably descended from someone who did carve the original genuine items.
So far the price of the models are quite low and make a nice souvenir.
- Pros:ancient site
- Cons:still relatively unknown
- In a nutshell:a mystical timeless place
The monuments at Begrawiya are quite fragile, although over two thousand years old. Early explorers deliberately damaged... more travel advice
There are still quite a few of the original carvings to be seen in the funerary chapels and on the pylon walls, although... more travel advice
uglyscot's Related Pages
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- "The Kush Kingdom"
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- "The Pyramids of Meroe, at Bajrawiya"
- "Ancient Meroe"
- "Meroe Pyramids"
- "Merowe [not Meroe]"
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