For many reasons, a large number of tourists who visit Egypt are usually interested in Nubia, this piece of land situated between Southern Egypt and Northern Sudan. Perhaps, it’s the long diverse history of the region, the marvelous natural scenery this region offers, all the habits and the traditions of the Nubians who have always preserved them up till today.
Tourists who travel to Egypt sometimes pay the land of the Nile a visit simply to explore a Nubian village and spend sometime with their people to know better about their old customs and different style of life that is hard to be found anywhere else in the world today.
Geographical Location of Nubia
The villages of Nubia are situated on both sides of the River Nile between the South of the city of Aswan to North to the Southernmost point in Dongola in Sudan for a distance that is more than 1000 kilometers. Moreover, the battles of modern contemporary history have played a major role in the reshaping of the lands of Nubia.
The Northernmost point in Nubia, that is located inside the Egyptian borders to the South of Sudan, is about 800 kilometers to the North of Cairo, 500 kilometers to the North West of Hurghada, 200 kilometers to the North of Luxor, and about 1000 kilometers to the East South of Alexandria.
Tourists spending their vacation in Egypt can easily reach Nubia via a rented car from Aswan or even a motorboat. However, it is always recommended for travelers who visit Egypt to use the services of one of the travel agencies in Egypt to organize a trip for them to explore Nubia.
The Name Nubia
The Nubia is actually derived from the ancient Egyptian word Nubu that meant gold. This was because in the Pharaonic times, the region was rich with many gold mines.
The History and establishment of Nubia
Nubia has always played an important political, religious, and social role to play in Egypt and in the region of the Middle Nile since ancient ages that goes back to more than five thousand years BC. This was when the kingdom of Napata was first established near the city of Dongola today.
The Kingdom of Napata played a significant role in the Nile Valley in the period from the 8th till the 9th centuries BC. When the 21st Egyptian dynasty witnessed a decline in the 10th century BC, military forces from Libya named the Meshwesh took control of the country and ruled over Egypt during the reign of the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd, dynasties.
When the Nubian King Piye recognized the situation in Egypt, he swore that he will take control of Egypt and to have a unified kingdom with Upper and Lower Egypt once again and he succeeded in taking control of Egypt a region after the other.
After this great victory of the Nubian king, he established the 25th dynasty of the ancient Egyptian history and it ruled Egypt for 95 years from 751 till 656 BC in the city of Memphis until it fell before the Egyptians took control of their lands once again.
After the decline of the Napata kingdom a new dynasty was established in Nubia and held the name Merowe in the middle of the 3rd century BC. This kingdom played a vital role in the civilization of Nubia for more than 700 years.
The Merowe kingdom has witnessed the Ptolemaic and the Roman rule of Egypt and they defended any attacks of their armies to the lands of Nubia. One of the most significant features of the rule of the kingdom of Merowe was that the women have known the way to the throne, as there were 20 queens that ruled over the kingdom throughout its history.
The Merowe kingdom has gone into the phase of decline as soon as Christianity started spreading around Nubia. After the king of Aksum defeated the military troops of Merowe in 356 AD, there were three Christian kingdoms in Nubia, Nobatia, Makuria, and Elwa.
Later on, the two kingdoms of Makuria and Nobatia united together to form the Nubian kingdom that defended Nubia strongly when the Moslems tried to conquer Nubia in the 7th century AD for more than 10 years and many sever battles.
Due to the difficulties the Moslems have faced to take control of Nubia, the two sides have signed a piece treaty that ruled the relation between the two sides for more than 700 years. It was in the 16th century that Islam started spreading in Nubia.
About Nubia Today
Due to the ancient civilizations of Nubia and their isolation from other sections of Sudan to the South and Egypt to the North, the Nubians have always had their own style of life, habits, and traditions.
Many travelers spending their vacation in Egypt would go visit a Nubian village for a day or so to get to know the Nubian style of life that always amazed tourists visiting Egypt.
Among the most marvelous features of Nubia are the wonderful colors of their traditional houses with their bright colors and decorations. The house in Nubia usually consists of an entrance, an open courtyard, domed sleeping rooms, storage chambers, toilets, and kitchens.
There are also the group Nubian dances that are featured with the participation of all the members of the Nubian community including men, women, and even children. These dances were always associated with agriculture and the harvest seasons.
Marriage also has its special rituals and habits for the Nubians. The habits include that the girl is usually married to her cousin to the extent that the dowry is far higher if she is going to marry someone out of her family. The Nubian are also very keen to present gifts and money to the married couple.
Since the River Nile has played an important role in the lives of the Nubians, the newly married couple has to swim in the Nile as a ritual of their marriage.
It is quite different if a man has a baby boy or a baby girl in Nubia. If the baby were a boy, the family would have a large celebration with Quran recitals and a large BBQ dining. However, if the baby was a girl, it is usually a much smaller celebration.
There is some gender discrimination in Nubia as for example the Nubian can marry any woman he desires. On the other hand, a Nubian lady can only marry from her tribe or from another Nubian tribe.