Island of Meroe


The Archaeological Sites of the Island of Meroe, a half-desert landscape between the Nile and Atbara rivers, was the center of the Kingdom of Kush, a major power from the eighth century B.C. to the fourth century A.D. The assets consist of the royal city of the Kushite kings at Meroe, close to the River Nile, the nearby religious site of Naqa and Musawwarat es Sufra. It was the place of the rulers who occupied Egypt for close to a century and features, among other vestiges, pyramids, temples and domestic buildings as well as major installations connected to water management.


Their huge empire extended from the Mediterranean to the heart of Africa, and the property testifies to the exchange between the art, architectures, religions and languages of both areas.
Meroë was the foundation of a prosperous kingdom whose assets was due to a physically powerful iron industry, and international trade involving India and China. So much metalworking went on in Meroë, through the operational of bloomeries and possibly blast furnaces, that it has even been called “the Birmingham of Africa” because of its vast manufacture and trade of iron to the rest of Africa, and other international deal partners.

At the time, iron was one of the most significant metals worldwide, and Meroitic metalworkers were among the most excellent in the world. Meroë also exported textiles and jewelry. Their fabrics were based on cotton and working on this creation reached its highest attainment in Nubia around 400 BC. Furthermore, Nubia was very rich in gold. It is possible that the Egyptian word for gold, nub, was the basis of name of Nubia. Trade in “exotic” animals from farther south in Africa was another feature of their economy.

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