Cities and Regions

Located at the conjunction of the Atbara tributary flowing down from Ethiopia, and the River Nile, Atbara is on two main railway routes: from Atbara to Port Sudan, and from Khartoum to Wadi Halfa. It is near the Nile’s Fifth Cataract and the disused old steam locomotives can be seen in railyards, 277 km northeast of Khartoum.


The city has a population of 75,000 people. In 1898 it was the site of a battle between the British and the Mahdists, when 2,000 of the latter were killed by Kitchener. After the battle, British officials settled here,building colonial-style houses, which are now used as government offices.


The ruins of the Royal City of Meroe are located about 100km south of Atbara. Residence of the kings of Meroe between 592BC and AD350, the city shows strong Egyptian architectural influence. The ruined Temple of Amun is still standing, together with the remains several palaces and a swimming pool.


In the desert, about 5km to the east, stand the royal pyramids where the dead kings of Meroe are buried.