Sudan is a country in Northern Africa.
The official name of the country is the Republic of the Sudan.
It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west and Libya to the northwest.
As of 1 January 2017, the population of Sudan was estimated to be 41,529,370 people.
With an area of 1,886,068 square kilometers (728,215 square miles), Sudan is the 15th largest country in the world, and the 3rd largest in Africa.
Khartoum is the capital and largest city of Sudan. The city is located where the Blue Nile and White Nile Rivers merge. In 1821, Khartoum was established 24 kilometres (15 mi) north of the ancient city of Soba, by Ibrahim Pasha, the son of Egypt’s ruler, Muhammad Ali Pasha, who had just incorporated Sudan into his realm.
The landscape of Sudan consists mainly of flat plains punctuated by several mountain ranges.
Deriba Caldera is at the highest point of Jebel Marra at an elevation of 3,042 meters (9,980 feet), in Darfur in the western part of Sudan. The caldera rim became Sudan’s new highest point, after the independence of South Sudan. It is between 5 km and 8 km in diameter across the outer crater. The inner crater is filled by a crater lake.
Sudan has 853 kilometers (530 miles) of coastline with many beaches.
With its unspoiled natural setting, the beaches in Sudan offer something different for beach lovers. The most common and popular water sport in Sudan is scuba diving. This is unsurprising, given the variety of corals and fishes that are found in the shallow waters of the Red Sea bed.
Protected areas in Sudan covers about 2.3% of the national territory. It is made up of 4 national parks, 2 Marine National Park plus other types of protected areas.
Dinder National Park is a national park and biosphere reserve in eastern Sudan. The park was established in 1935 and it is one of two parks in the Sudan designated as Biosphere Reserves. The park lies along the transition ecotone between two floristic regions : the Ethiopian high plateau and the arid sahara Sudanian biomes. The park is home to 27 species of large mammals such as Masai lions, African leopards, Sudan cheetahs, over 160 species of birds, 32 species of fish, and small mammals, bats, reptiles, and amphibians.
Sanganeb National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Sudan. It was established in 1990 and it was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2016. It is the first marine national park in Sudan. The park is filled with exquisite colorful corals and fish.
By far the most popular tourist attraction in the country, the Pyramids of Meroe are one of the last remaining symbols from an ancient civilization. Built by the Meroitic Pharaohs around 500 BC, the pyramids are different from their counterparts in neighboring Egypt. They display steep brick sides and appear in groups of 12. The site is not nearly as touristy as the Egyptian landmarks, and travelers won’t have to fight off tourist touts to see them. Travelers are permitted to enter the pyramids, in which ancient graffiti and hieroglyphics can be seen. The best time to visit is just before sunset when the sun illuminates the structures with a golden hue. The Pyramids of Meroe were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011.
Gebel Barkal and the Sites of the Napatan Region comprise five archaeological sites on both sides of the Nile in an arid area considered part of Nubia. Together they cover an area more than 60 km (37 mi) long. The sites (Gebel Barkal, Kurru, Nuri, Sanam and Zuma) represent the Napatan (900 – 270 BC) and Meroitic (270 BC – 350 AD) cultures of the second kingdom of Kush. They include tombs, with and without pyramids, temples, burial mounds and chambers, living complexes and palaces. They exhibit an architectural tradition that shaped the political, religious, social and artistic scene of the Middle and Northern Nile Valley for more than 2000 years (1500 BC- 6th Century AD). Gebel Barkal and the Sites of the Napatan Region were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.
The National Museum of Sudan is a double storied building constructed in 1955 and established as a museum in 1971. The building and its surrounding gardens house the largest and most comprehensive Nubian archaeological collection in the world including objects from the Paleolithic through to the Islamic period originating from every site of importance in the Sudan.
What is now northern Sudan was in ancient times the Kingdom of Nubia, which ruled Egypt in the early years. Nubian civilization flourished until 350 AD.
Sudan was a collection of small, independent kingdoms and principalities from the beginning of the Christian era until 1820-21, when northern Sudan was again invaded from Egypt, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire. The sultan’s third son was sent to rule Sudan, which was valued as a route for slaves and gold out of Africa.
By the 1880s, the Sudanese were discontent with rule from Egypt, which was now under British influence. In 1881, a religious leader called Muhammad Ahmad rose up.
When the British took over Egypt, they also occupied Sudan to protect the Nile waters. Defeating the Mahdists in 1898, the British gave Sudan its own status.
With the consent of the British and Egyptian Governments, Sudan achieved independence on January 1, 1956, under a provisional constitution.
Since its independence in 1956, the history of Sudan has been marred by civil war between the mainly-Muslim north and the Christian/animist south. In July 2011, the two countries separated.
Sudan had been the largest country on the continent until the 2011 independence of South Sudan.
The country’s place name Sudan is a name given to a geographical region to the south of the Sahara, stretching from Western Africa to eastern Central Africa. The name derives from the Arabic bilād as-sūdān (بلاد السودان), meaning “the lands of the Blacks” in reference to the dark skin of the inhabitants.
Sudan is a poor country, despite its potential resources. Sudan’s economy is basically agricultural, with inadequate infrastructure and ridden by civil wars and social and ethnic conflict.
Sudan lost most of its oil reserves (over 80 percent), after the secession of South Sudan.
Sudan is the world’s largest producer of gum arabic. This is a natural resin which comes from the acacia trees growing across the central belt. The gum can be used as a glue on stamps or in inks and paints. But it is most valued for its use in foods such as sweets and fizzy drinks.
Religion plays an important role in Sudan, with 97% of the country’s population adhering to Islam.
The Arab presence is estimated at 70% of the Sudanese population. Others include the Arabized ethnic groups of Nubians, Zaghawa, and Copts.
Sudan has 597 groups that speak over 400 different languages and dialects.
The most popular sports in Sudan are athletics (track and field) and football.