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25 Incredible Facts About Sudan

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There are so many fascinating facts about Sudan. In fact, this is one of the most interesting countries there is! But what makes Sudan such a fascinating place? Read on to find out…

Facts About Sudan

Located in Northeast Africa, Sudan is a country full of rich history, beautiful nature due to the Red Sea, and an amalgamation of diverse cultures. 

The country boasts a population of more than 45 million people and is also one of the largest countries in Africa. 

Sadly, Sudan has often been in the news due to the political unrest that goes on in the country. Due to this reason, there are many intriguing facts about Sudan that are overlooked by the people.

So, let’s dive deep into the most incredible facts about Sudan if you’re curious to explore its other side!

1. Sudan Hosted the First AFCON 

This is one of the facts about Sudan for sports lovers!

AFCON, which stands for Africa Cup of Nations, is an international competition for men’s football. Presently, over 24 countries are participating in this competition. 

The competition was first organised in February 1957. It took place in Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan. In the first AFCON, Egypt defeated Sudan, the host country, and won the prestigious Abdel Aziz Abdallah Salem Trophy!

Sudan also had one of the best football teams between 1950 and 1970. They went on to win the AFCON Cup in 1970. 

2. Sudan Has More Pyramids Than Egypt!

When most of us think about Egypt, the first thing that comes to my mind is the pyramids. 

Yet, one of the intriguing facts about Sudan is that this country has more pyramids than Egypt.

Egypt has around 118 identified pyramids. On the other hand, Sudan is home to around 225 identified pyramids. So, it has twice the number of pyramids found in Egypt.  

More than 100 pyramids are found on The Island of Meroe, just 200 kilometres from the northeast of Khartoum. It was the prime location of the Kingdom of Kush between the 8th century B.C. and the 4th century A.D. 

The pyramids in Sudan are smaller than the Egyptian pyramids but have stunning architecture. 

25 Incredible Facts About Sudan

3. The History Behind Sudan’s Naming

A country’s name can speak a lot about its history and culture. Hence, these naming facts about Sudan are also worth discussing!

The name “Sudan” comes from the Arabic phrase “bilād as-sūdān” which translates to “land of the black people”. 

Back in the medieval period, geographers referred to the regions that started at the southern edge of the Sahara as “bilād as-sūdān”. This way, the country got its name and is known as Sudan today!

The Egyptians also used to refer to present-day Sudan as Nubia, Ta Nehesi, or Ta Seti.

4. The Nile River Flows Through Sudan 

You might be under the impression that the Nile mainly flows through Egypt! However, let’s talk about some surprising facts about Sudan. 

The River Nile runs from North Sudan to South Sudan and is responsible for providing 77 per cent of freshwater. 

Also, the two rivers, the White Nile and the Blue Nile join together to form the River Nile, in Khartoum. Hence, the entire city of Khartoum also relies on these rivers for its irrigation needs. 

5. Sudan Has More Than 500 Sub-Tribes 

These facts about Sudan are enough to show that the country is extremely diverse. 

Sudan is full of Sudanese Arabs as they comprise 70% of the population

However, you’ll also find many non-Arab groups, like the Beja, the Zaghawa, the Fur, and the Nuba residing in Sudan. 

There are over 500 indigenous sub-tribes living on the borders of Sudan too. 

Due to its multi-ethnicity, the country also has many languages that I’ve discussed in other facts about Sudan. 

6. Sudan Has a Sufi Culture Too 

I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of Sufism. After all, the whole point of Sufism is to let of worldly pleasures and focus on connecting with God on a personal level. 

Sufism may have originated in Arabia and Persia. However, you can see its influence in Sudan too. 

Sudan has one of the largest Sufi communities in the entire world.  In fact, Jaafer Nimeiri, one of the Sudanese leaders also belonged to the Al Sammaniya Sufi order. 

You’ll also come across various traditions followed by the Sufis in Sudan. 

7. The Black Pharaohs Ruled Over Sudan 

Just like the ancient rulers who belonged to Egypt were known as Pharaohs, the ones that belonged to Sudan were termed Black Pharaohs.

The Nubian Dynasty or the 25th Dynasty originated from Napata which is a part of modern-day Sudan. 

The rulers of this dynasty were known as “Black Pharaohs” as they also ruled over Egypt between 744 BC and 656 BC.

8. Coffee Is a Part of Sudanese Culture 

Coffee is an integral part of life in the Arab countries, including Sudan. 

In Sudan, the traditional name of coffee is Qahwa. The Sudanese people serve the coffee in special coffee pots, known as Jabana

Sudanese coffee is often sweet and also contains additional ingredients like cinnamon or ginger for flavour enhancement. 

Again, these facts about Sudan are for sports, more specifically wrestling lovers!

Apart from football, Sudanese are also fond of wrestling as it has been a part of their culture for over 3,000 years. 

There are many wrestling matches that are held between different tribal groups and villages. Wrestling is also more commonly referred to as “Nubian wrestling” in Sudan. 

10. Sudan’s Independence Day Falls on 1st January 

Sudan has two major events on the 1st of January – the New Year and the country’s Independence Day! 

Sudan was under the combined rule of Egypt and Britain since 1899. However, in 1953, most Sudanese voted for independence in a referendum. 

The country finally received freedom and became an independent country on 1st January 1956.

25 Incredible Facts About Sudan

11. Many Films Were Shot in Sudan 

Sudan has some breathtaking landscapes, due to which, there have been many movies shot here, making this a popular film tourism destination. 

The 2019 Canadian movie, The Red Sea Diving Resort, was filmed in certain locations in Sudan. 

Other movies such as The Four Feathers, starring Heath Ledger and Kate Hudson, were mainly filmed in Sudan too. 

12. Sudanese Are Known for Their Craftsmanship

Trust me, if you’re into art and craft, you should know these facts about Sudan!

Sudan has many skilled craftsmen involved in making artistic pieces like baskets, carved wood, and beaded jewellery. Pottery is yet another craft that Sudanese tend to enjoy!

People in Sudan also build their own thatched roofs, made up of straws or other plant materials.

Certain tribes in Sudan have their own unique dance forms. For instance, the Beja tribe has the Hadandawa Dance. 

The Hadandawa Dance was only performed by men before. However, over the years, women also became a part of this dance. 

In this dance, the men carry swords and the women carry sticks. The swords symbolise the sword fights that were carried out by the nomadic Sudanese tribes. 

25 Incredible Facts About Sudan

14. The Meaning Behind the Flag of Sudan 

Sudan’s flag can speak a lot about the country’s values and struggles. 

The flag consists of three horizontal bands – red, white, and black. The red colour symbolises the sacrifice of the Sudanese people, white symbolises peace and Islam, and black is used to represent Sudan. 

There’s also a green triangle on the flag which symbolises its rich agriculture.  

15. Sudan Appointed the First Female Judge in the Arab World 

These facts about Sudan prove that the country has also broken a few boundaries when it comes to gender equality!

Sudan was the first country in the Arab region to appoint the first female chief justice, Judge Nemat Abdallah Kheir, in October 2019. 

Sudan was also one of the few countries (Mali, Seychelles, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Ghana, and Zambia) to elect a female chief justice in the entire African continent too. 

16. Sudan Is the Third Largest Country in Africa 

Africa has many large countries, including Sudan.

Sudan covers an area of 1,861,484 square kilometres and is the third-largest country in Africa after Algeria (2,381,741 square kilometres) and the Republic of Congo (2,344,858 square kilometres).

One of the surprising facts about Sudan is that it was the largest African country by area before South Sudan’s secession in 2011. 

17. The National Dish of Sudan Is Ful Medames

These facts about Sudan are for the foodies! 

Sudanese cuisine consists of mainly gravies and stews. You’ll also find unique salads, dips, and different types of bread being a part of it. 

The national dish of Sudan, Ful Medames, is made up of cooked fava beans, vegetables, spices, lemon juice, and many such ingredients. If you look at its consistency, it’s somewhat between a dip and a salad. 

The best part is that this dish is suitable for vegetarians too as there’s no meat added traditionally!

18. Sudan Has People From Many Religions 

These facts about Sudan may prove you wrong if you think Islam is the only religion in the country. 

Even though more than 95% of Sudanese practice Islam, some follow Christianity too. The country also has tribes that follow their own indigenous religions. 

19. Sudan Is Also Known as the “Food Basket of the Arab World”

This is one of the interesting facts about Sudan. 

The country is often referred to as the “Food Basket of the Arab World”. It has one of the most arable landscapes compared to the other dry and deserted Arab countries.  

20. The Sanganeb Marine National Park Is a Must-Visit Place in Sudan 

Do you love coral reefs? Then, read these intriguing facts about Sudan! 

The Sanganeb Marine National Park in Sudan consists of two regions – Sanganeb and Dungonab Bay and Mukkawar Island.

Sanganeb is located 25 km away from Sudan and is the only atoll in the central Red Sea. 

On the other hand, Dungonab Bay and Mukkawar Island are located 125 km away from Port Sudan and have several coral reefs, islets, beaches, and even mangroves. 

If you’re into exploring coral reefs, you can even dive or snorkel here.

25 Incredible Facts About Sudan

21. Sudan Is Involved in the Great Green Wall Project 

If you’re a nature lover, you’ll love these facts about Sudan.

The Great Green Wall is a project in which 26 countries are participating to prevent desertification and the adverse effects of climate change. 

They’re planning to achieve these targets by growing a massive area of trees and other vegetation on deserted or barren lands.

Sudan also has six Great Green Wall zones, known as intervention zones. These include the Khartoum State, North Darfur, North Kordofan, River Nile, Northern State, and Kassala. 

22. Sudanese Speak Various Languages 

Let’s discuss some language-related facts about Sudan. 

Sudan has two official languages – English and Arabic. However, the country is known to be multilingual as it has over 114 indigenous languages and 500 accents!

70% of the Arabic population speaks Sudanese Arabic whereas other popular languages include Beja (spoken by over 2 million people), Fur (spoken by over 1 million people), and Nuba (spoken by over 1 million people).

You’ll also find variations in the Arabic language as there are regional versions such as  Najdi Arabic and Hejazi Arabic.

23. Sudan Is Known for Gum Arabic Production 

Gum Arabic is a type of natural gum used for various purposes like making emulsifiers, food or beverage thickeners, and even stabilizers. 

Sudan is the world’s largest producer of Gum Arabic. As per a report of 2021, it was also the second largest exporter of Gum Arabic ($111M) right after France ($147M).

Gum Arabic accounts for 15% of Sudan’s exports. 

24. Sudan Was Divided Into Two Countries 

In 2011, Sudan was divided into two countries – Sudan and South Sudan. It was due to a civil war that caused the people to vote for the country’s division. Therefore, the youngest country in the world is the Republic of South Sudan. 

It’s unfortunate that South Sudan is still not shown as a separate country on most world maps or even on the entire map of Africa. 

25. The Kingdom of Kush Was Situated in Sudan

The present-day Sudan was a part of one of the most significant African kingdoms, The Kingdom of Kush.

Kush or the Kingdom of Kush ruled over the entire region of Sudan for more than 3,000 years! The kingdom’s capital is situated in Meroe, which is currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Sudan. 

This kingdom was an important trading centre for precious items like gold, ivory, and ebony. It also exported many African animals like elephants and giraffes to other parts of the world, like the Mediterranean region and Asia. 

Further Reading – Facts About Sudan

As I mentioned earlier, Sudan is one of those countries that is only highlighted in the news for its governing issues or civil unrest. 

Yet, after reading these facts about Sudan, I hope you discovered the true identity and culture of this country that lies beneath all the issues. 

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