"Suakin...Sudan gate by the Red Sea" Suakin Island by Sheemoz

Suakin Island Travel Guide: 11 reviews and 54 photos

*Sight of Suakin*

They were an unforgettable sight when they were intact, floating on their flat, Oval-shaped island-platform and were admired by all who saw them.

The visitor to Suakin will find it hard to believe that it ever contained the beautiful houses that I have tried to illustrate and describe. He will be equally surprised to learn that they were sufficiently intact. Their decay and collapse was unexpectedly rapid, it is true, accelerated to some extent by lack of mutual protection as they fell, but it is natural to ask how and why so unusual an example of a truly remarkable vernacular style of architecture was allowed to disappear so completely and leave its recording to a comparative amateur.

Suakin is an example of a small Turkish town built between the 16th-20th centuries situated around the Red Sea coasts opposite to Jeddah (KSA).

Suakin as a town continues to exist. it is the old island-town whose inhabitants where wealthy merchants from Jeddah (KSA) , the Yemen, Aden and Hadaramout, Ethiopia and Eritrea, India , Egypt and Syria, which has disappeared.

*Islands of Suakin*

There are 3 island in the Suakin lagoon but only one of them was ever fully built-up. The other 2 have supported a few buildings from time to time. one was occupied by the quarantine installations fro pilgrims to Mecca (KSA) the other, called condenser island by the troops who occupied it in the campaigns of 1885-1896 is now devoid of any complete structure!. The third the Town was not planned it grew up like most old towns with irregular narrow street sand small clearinns between blocks of houses of varying size and shape. The Geyf or main-land town is a separate entity encircled by fortifications built by colonel Kitchener in 1890-s and provide with an impressive fortified which is still standing and comparatively intact.

The Island-town presented a fairly homogeneous appearance because of the uniform scale and local building-materials used. Walking about its streets was pleasant and shady. The narrow streets funneled the Sea-breezes into the heart of the town,into the (Mashrabiyas) and through the numerous ventilators up the stair-shafts into each and every room.
The Mashrabiyas also provided extra overhanging shade in the street below.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Since 1950-s Suakin Island began to deteriorate and ultimately to disintegrate...
  • In a nutshell:A Sudanese Haritage is sinking!!!
  • Intro Updated Aug 13, 2009
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