What to Expect from Sudan National Museum in Khartoum
If you are in Khartoum, no matter how much interest you have in archeology, history or artifacts, you should visit Sudan National Museum.
Although named National Museum, don’t expect world class museum. Lower the expectations before you visit to avoid disappointment. Honestly, this place needs a renovation. Museum is poorly lit, quite dirty and dusty BUT it holds the historical gems from Sudanese history – artifacts of the Black pharaohs who once ruled a country where nearly three hundred pyramids were built.
In terms of what it holds inside, Sudan National Museum is wonderful.
Outside it features the temples of West and East Semma and Buhen which have been saved by the flooding caused by the Aswan Dam and, as it happened with Abu Simbel in Egypt, have been cut, moved and rebuilt in this area and placed east and west of a small pool in front of museum which represents the Nile, in an attempt to reproduce their original location with respect to the river.
Some parts of these temples are so well preserved that they still bear traces of the original colors. Also some statues from temples Naga and other archeological sites across northern Sudan have been moved here and placed against the wall at the entrance.
Sudan National Museum is quite small in comparison to western museums, has two floors, ground floor and first floor with garden area.
Museum is divided into three exhibitions. Sudanese archaeology on ground floor. Here you will find artefacts dating back centuries BC. From jewellery, all kind of ancient bowls, pottery, statues, amulets and mostly figurines of all sizes.
On upper floor of Sudan National Museum there are Coptic Christian frescos from Christian Nubia, which were painted mostly before 13th century and taken from the cathedral of Faras.
The frescoes depict saints, bishops, apostles and archangels. Shooting photos is not permitted in this section; hence I managed to snap a couple of photos before the guards noticed me breaking the rules.
In the garden in front of Sudan National Museum holds remains from three temples: Temple of Kumma which was rescued from Nasser lake flooding in 1960s, Buhen Temple and Temple of Semna.
Additional Tips for Visiting Sudan National Museum in Khartoum
- To see all exhibitions in Sudan National Museum, two hours are more than enough (for traveller with average interest) for a visit. Entrance fee 2 SDG.
- You can not hire a professional guide. There is no audio guides or apps to download either. Apart from few posters with short and dull explanation of each exhibited era, you will be on your own. It is good to research the exhibition beforehand online in order to understand the meaning and worth of precious artefacts.
- No air-condition in museum.
- The upstairs frescoes exhibitions can be a little dark. If you are into frescoes details, you may want to take a torch with you.
- Toilets are simply put filthy, go before you visit the museum.
- Like everywhere in Sudan, always have a bottle of water with you.
- There is no drink or food selling stands on the site, but around the corner you have tea ladies selling delicious Sudanese tea and spice coffee for 3 SDG.
- Just before the entrance gate to Sudan National Museum locals sell various sorts of souvenirs and really cool coffee paintings, prices start from 150 SDG. Your opportunity to haggle for a good price.
- While in this area of Khartoum you can seize the day after Sudan national museum visit. Head to Tuti Island on the opposite bank of the Nile, on the way you will see Sudanese parliament on the right and if you want some panoramic views of confluence of river Nile, we recommend having a drink or meal in nearby Corinthia Hotel restaurant in 16th floor which is the highest publicly accessible place for panoramic views of Khartoum.