The royal cemetery of El-Kurru
The archaeological site of El-Kurru lies on the eastern bank of the Nile River, 20 km south of the city of Karima. It was the Royal Cemetery of Napata and contains the remains of dozens of tombs including the Pharaohs Pianky, Kashta, Shabaka and Tawentamani. The earliest tombs date back to the 9th century, and they were just covered with a tumulus or stone. The Pyramids started being built with the XXV° Dynasty of King Pianky. Most of the Pyramids have faded away, and the only one you can still see belongs to an unknown King dating back to 360 BC.
However, it’s possible to visit two tombs containing wonderfully preserved paintings. The first is the tomb of the King Tanwetamani (the 4th of the 5th Pharaohs of the XXVV Dynasty), nephew and successor of King Taharqa, dating back to the 7th century BC. The second tomb belongs to Queen Qalhata, mother of Tanwetamani. At the moment of our visit, it was only possible to visit the Tanwetamani tomb. After entering down a flight of stairs cut out of the rock, you’ll get to two plastered chambers covered in stunning wall paintings. The king Tanwamani is painted with dark skin wearing the Kushite cap. The style of the paintings is Egyptian. El Kurru was inscribed as part of the UNESCO World Heritage in 2003.
Need to know about El Kurru
If you are travelling yourself, you can catch a bus from Khartoum to Karima, and once in the city, you can ask a taxi/tuk-tuk to take you to the site. The best option is to bargain with a taxi driver and rent the taxi all day to visit the sites of the area. The tombs are locked, and you might have to ask the villagers for the guardian to come and open up. You also have to haggle the entrance fee with him (we paid 220 SDG pp). Click here to see the location of El-Kurru Necropolis.