Dervishes of the whirling variety are most famously associated with Turkey, where they’ve become something of a tourist attraction throughout the country. But the dervish tradition extends far beyond modern-day gawkers and Turkey’s borders. Dervishes are Sufi Muslims who lead an ascetic lifestyle. Whirling dervishes spin rhythmically in order to reach a state of religious or spiritual ecstasy, and are found in many places outside of Turkey. In fact, the whirling dervish ceremony just outside of Khartoum, Sudan, where Flickr user Mark Fischer snapped this photo, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the capital. If you’d like to see your great shots on Photo of the Day, share them with us in the Gadling Flickr pool.
Sudan is near the top of my list of countries I haven’t been to that I want to explore. One of the main things I’m aching to see are the pyramids of Meroë. This site has dozens of pyramids built starting around 720 BC.
Meroë was one of the capitals of the Nubian Empire, which at times rivaled its more famous northern neighbor, Egypt. As archaeologists continue to excavate in the Sudan, they’re finding that it had more influence on ancient Egyptian culture than previously thought. The Nubians even took over Egypt and installed their own dynasty there, ruling from 760-656 BC before the Egyptians kicked them out.
The pyramids at Meroë are a two-and-a-half hour drive north of the modern capital Khartoum. This video takes us on that journey, with a classic soundtrack to get us in the mood. The camel crossing reminds me of a similar holdup I experienced in Ethiopia’s Somali region!
Color. It surrounds us so completely that it’s easy to take it for granted, becoming a sort of visual white noise, unobserved and innocuous. Yet the strategic use of color in a travel photo can really draw in the viewer’s attention. Take the emerald green scarf in the photo above – it’s exactly what caught my eye in Flickr user Mark Fischer’s photo from Sudan. It literally shouts at your eyes against the muted white background of the characters in back. The man’s weathered face, faint smile and white wisps of facial hair further add to the intrigue of this mysterious character.
Archaeologists digging in the ancient city of Meroë in the Sudan have discovered what they believe is a palace dating to 900 BC.
The team discovered the building under the remains of a later palace. It’s believed to be the oldest building yet discovered at the site, which was once the capital of the Kingdom of Kush. Kush had several great cities and exported iron all the way to China. From 747-656 BC, the Kushites ruled Egypt as the twenty-fifth dynasty. The empire lasted from about 1000 BC to 350 AD before being conquered by the Empire of Axum in Ethiopia.
Meroë is one of the greatest archaeological sites in Africa. It has more than 200 pyramids, although they’re smaller than the largest Egyptian pyramids.
For a long time Meroë and Kush were understudied in favor of the more famous Egyptian civilization. Now scholars are beginning to realize that this Sudanese civilization contributed a lot to Egyptian culture.
Meroë is two-and-a-half hours north of Khartoum and it’s feasable to do in a long day trip. If you’re not going to the Sudan, the British Museum in London has a whole room dedicated to this civilization and its art.
Image courtesy Sven-steffenarndt via Wikimedia Commons