When you hear the word pyramid, you probably think about ancient Egyptian pyramids or Mesoamerican pyramids towering high over the jungle canopy. There are some 3,000 year old pyramids in Northern Sudan, and National Geographic Engineer Alan Turchik set out to show the whole world their beauty.
The pyramids even to this day are somewhat of a mystery. There are some theories but no one really knows how they were built, who built them, or why. Adding to the mystery is the mathematical precision and astronomical significance of the structures. Thousands of years of erosion have taken their toll, but the structures still stand in remarkable condition. Check out the awesome aerial footage Turchik was able to capture.
Nubian pyramids are pyramids that were built by the rulers of the ancient Kushite kingdoms. The Kushites built these pyramids some 800 years after the pyramids of Ancient Egypt were built. They are thought to have mimicked the workmanship of the pyramids of Ancient Egypt, but on a much lesser scale.
The area of the Nile valley known as Nubia, which lies within present day Sudan, was home to three Kushite kingdoms during antiquity. The first had its capital at Kerma (2600–1520 BC). The second was centered on Napata (1000–300 BC). Finally, the last kingdom was centered on Meroë (300 BC–AD 300).
Kerma was Nubia’s first centralized state with its own indigenous forms of architecture and burial customs. The last two kingdoms, Napata and Meroë, were heavily influenced by ancient Egypt culturally, economically, politically, and militarily. The Kushite kingdoms in turn competed strongly with Egypt economically and militarily. In 751 BC, the Kushite king Piankhi overthrew the 24th Dynasty and united the entire Nile valley from the delta to the city of Napata under his rule. Piankhi and his descendants ruled as the pharaohs of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. The Napatan domination of Egypt ended with the Assyrian conquest of Egypt in 656 BC