Khartoum (Arabic: الخرطوم al Ḫarṭūm) is the capital and second largest city of the Republic of Sudan and of Khartoum State. It is located at the confluence of the White Nile flowing north from Lake Victoria and the Blue Nile flowing west from Ethiopia. The location where the two Niles meet is known as "al-Mogran", meaning the Confluence. The main Nile continues to flow north towards Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea.
Divided by the Niles, Khartoum is a tripartite metropolis with an estimated overall population of over five million people consisting of Khartoum proper[clarification needed], and linked by bridges to Khartoum North called (al-Khartūm Bahrī) and Omdurman (Umm Durmān) to the west.
The origin of the word is uncertain. One tradition is that khartoum derives from Arabic kartūm الخرطوم meaning 'end of an elephant’s trunk', probably referring to the narrow strip of land extending between the Blue and White Niles. Captain J. A. Grant, who reached Khartoum in 1863 with Captain Speke’s expedition, thought that the derivation was most probably from the Arabic qurtum, safflower (Carthamus tinctorius), which was cultivated extensively in Egypt for its oil, used in burning.
Khartoum was established 15 miles (24 km) north of the ancient city of Soba in 1821 by Ibrahim Pasha, the son of Egypt's ruler, Muhammad Ali Pasha, who had just incorporated Sudan into his realm. Originally, Khartoum served as outpost for the Egyptian Army, but the settlement grew quickly as a regional center of trade. It also became a focal point for the trading in slaves. It became the administrative center for Sudan, and later the official capital.
Troops loyal to the Mahdi Muhammad Ahmad began a siege of Khartoum on 13 March 1884 against the defenders led by British General Charles George Gordon. The siege ended in a massacre of the Anglo-Egyptian garrison. The heavily damaged city fell to the Mahdists on 26 January 1885, and all its inhabitants were put to death.
Omdurman was the scene of the bloody battle on 2 September 1898, during which British forces under Herbert Kitchener defeated the Mahdist forces defending the city.
In 1899, Khartoum became the capital of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Several explanations have been offered for the design of the new, Anglo-Egyptian Khartoum. One is that Kitchener laid out the city's streets in a Union flag pattern as a symbol of British dominance. Another is that the grid system and diagonal streets of the city were designed to converge in a way that would allow machine-guns to sweep the town. However, there is no contemporary evidence to support either of these suggestions.
Modern history (20th–21st centuries)
In 1973, the city was the site of an anomalous hostage crisis in which members of Black September held ten hostages at the Saudi Arabian embassy, five of whom were diplomats. The US ambassador, the US deputy ambassador, and the Belgian chargé d'affaires were murdered. The remaining hostages were released (see 1973 Khartoum diplomatic assassinations). A 1973 United States Department of State document, declassified in 2006, concluded "The Khartoum operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasser Arafat."
The first oil pipeline between Khartoum and Port Sudan was completed in 1977.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Khartoum was the destination for hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflicts in neighbouring nations such as Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Uganda. Many Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees assimilated into society, while some of the other refugees settled in large slums at the outskirts of the city. From the mid-1980s onward, large numbers of South Sudanese and Darfuri internally displaced from the violence of the Second Sudanese Civil War and Darfur conflict have settled around Khartoum.
In 1991, Osama bin Laden purchased a house in the affluent al-Riyadh neighborhood of the city and another in Soba. He lived there until 1996 when he was banished from the country. Following the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, the United States accused bin Laden's al-Qaeda group of responsibility and launched cruise missile attacks (20 August) on the al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum North. The destruction of the factory produced diplomatic tension between the U.S. and Sudan. The ruins of the factory are a tourist attraction.
After the sudden death of SPLA head and vice-president of Sudan John Garang at the end of July 2005, there were violent riots in the capital for three days which died down after Southern Sudanese politicians and tribal leaders sent strong messages to the rioters. The situation could have been chaotic with mass killings and reprisals; even so, the death toll was at least 24, as youths from southern Sudan attacked northern Sudanese and clashed with security forces.
The Organisation of African Unity summit of 18–22 July 1978 was held in Khartoum, during which Sudan was awarded the OAU presidency. The African Union summit of 16–24 January 2006 was held in Khartoum.
The Arab League summit of 28–29 March 2006 was held in Khartoum, during which the Arab League awarded Sudan the Arab League presidency.
On 10 May 2008 the Darfur rebel group of the Justice and Equality Movement moved into the city where they engaged in heavy fighting with Sudanese government forces. Their soldiers included minors and their goal was the toppling of Omar Hassan al-Bashir's government, though the Sudanese government succeeded in beating back the assault.
On 23 October 2012 an explosion at the Yarmouk munitions factory kills two people and injures another person. The Sudanese government claims the explosion is the result of an Israeli airstrike.
Khartoum features a hot desert climate, with only the months of July and August seeing significant precipitation. Khartoum averages a little over 155 millimetres (6.1 in) of precipitation per year. Based on annual mean temperatures, Khartoum is one of the hottest major cities in the world. Temperatures may exceed 53 °C (127 °F) in mid-summer. Its average annual high temperature is 37.1 °C (99 °F), with six months of the year seeing an average monthly high temperature of at least 38 °C (100 °F). Furthermore, none of its monthly average high temperatures falls below 30 °C (86 °F). This is something not seen in other major cities with hot desert climates such as Riyadh, Baghdad and Phoenix. Temperatures cool off considerably during the night, with Khartoum's lowest average low temperatures of the year just above 15 °C (59 °F).
|Climate data for Khartoum|
|Average high °C (°F)||30.8 |
|Average low °C (°F)||15.6 |
|Precipitation mm (inches)||0 |
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||0||0||.1||.1||.9||1.2||4.8||4.8||3.2||1.2||0||0||16.3|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||341||311||310||330||300||300||279||279||300||310||330||341||3,731|
|Source #1: World Meteorological Organisation (UN) |
|Source #2: BBC Weather |
|2008 Census Preliminary||639,598||5,274,321|
After the signing of the historic Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLA), the Government of Sudan has begun a massive development project. In 2007, the biggest projects in Khartoum were the Al-Mogran Development Project, two five-star hotels, a new airport, Mac Nimir Bridge (finished in October 2007) and the Tuti Bridge that links Khartoum to Tuti Island.
In the 21st century, Khartoum has developed based on Sudan's oil wealth. The center of the city has tree-lined streets. Khartoum has the highest concentration of economic activity in the country. This has changed as major economic developments take place in other parts of the country, like oil exploration in the South, the Giad Industrial Complex in Al Jazirah state and White Nile Sugar Project in Central Sudan, and the Merowe Dam in the North.
Among the city's industries are printing, glass manufacturing, food processing, and textiles. Petroleum products are now produced in the far north of Khartoum state, providing fuel and jobs for the city. One of Sudan's largest refineries is located in northern Khartoum.
Khartoum has one of the largest open markets or souqs, the Souq Al Arabi. The market is spread over several blocks in the center of Khartoum proper just south of the Great Mosque (Mesjid al-Kabir) and the minibus station. It is divided into separate sections, including one focused entirely on gold.
Al Qasr Street and Al Jamhoriyah Street are considered the most famous high streets in Khartoum State.
Afra Mall is located in the southern suburb Arkeweet. The Afra Mall has a supermarket, retail outlets, coffee shops, a bowling alley, movie theaters, and a children's playground.
In 2011, Sudan opened the Hotel Section and part of the food court of the new, Cornithia hotel Tower. The Mall/Shopping section is still under construction.
Khartoum is the main location for most of Sudan's top educational bodies.
- Khartoum Old High Secondary School for Boys
- Khartoum Old High Secondary School for Girls
- The British Educational Schools (BES)
- Khartoum American School, established in 1959.
- Khartoum International Community School, KICS, established in 2004.
- Unity High School.
- Comboni and St. Francis
khartoum new high secondary school for boys
- Khartoum International preparatory school (KIPS), established in 1928.
- Qabbas Private International Schools
- Suliman Hussein Academy
Public universities in Khartoum are:
- Al-Neelain University,
- Al Zaiem Alazhari University,
- Omderman Islamic University,
- International University of Africa,
- Nile Valley University,
- Open University of Sudan,
- Public Health Institute, a post-graduate institution operated by the Ministry of Health
- Sudan University of Science and Technology, one of the leading engineering and technology schools in Sudan, founded in 1932 as Khartoum Technical Institute and has been given its present name in 1991.
- University of Khartoum. Founded as Gordon Memorial College in 1902, it was later renamed to share the name of the city in the 1930s.
Private universities include:
- Bayan College for Science & Technology,
- Canadian Sudanese College,
- Comboni College for Science and Technology
- Future University of Sudan, the first specialized university for ICT inter-related studies in Sudan, founded by Dr. Abubaker Mustafa.
- National College for Medical & Technical Studies,
- National Ribat University,
- University of Medical Sciences and Technology, better known as UMST, it was founded in 1996 by Prof. Mamoun Humaida as Academy of Medical Science & Technology.
The city is also home to Juba University, relocated from Juba during the civil war. This is one of the universities in Sudan that maintains English as the language of instruction. Plans exist to relocate the university or part of it back to South Sudan.
Khartoum is home to the largest airport in Sudan, Khartoum International Airport. It is the main hub for Sudan Airways, Sudan's main carrier. The airport was built at the southern edge of the city; but with Khartoum's rapid growth and consequent urban sprawl, the airport is now located in the heart of the city. A new international airport is currently being built about 40km south of the city center. It will replace the current airport in Khartoum as Sudan's main airport, followed by Port Sudan Airport in Port Sudan.
The following bridges cross the Blue Nile and connect Khartoum to Khartoum North:
- Mac Nimir Bridge
- Blue Nile Road & Railway Bridge
- Burri Bridge
- Elmansheya Bridge
- Soba bridge
The following bridges cross the White Nile and connect Khartoum to Omdurman:
- White Nile Bridge
- Fitayhab Bridge
- Al Dabbaseen Bridge (Under Construction)
- Omhuraz Bridge (Proposed)
the following bridges cross from Omdurman: to Khartoum North:
- Shambat Bridge
- Halfia Bridge
The following bridges cross to Tuti from Khartoum states three cities
- Khartoum-tuti bridge
- Omdurman-Tuti Suspension bridge proposed
- Khartoum North-tuti bridge proposed
The largest museum in all of Sudan, is the National Museum of Sudan. Founded in 1971, it contains works from different epochs of Sudanese history. Among the exhibits are two Egyptian temples of Buhen and Semna which were originally built by Queen Hatshepsut and Pharaoh Tuthmosis III respectively but relocated to Khartoum upon the flooding of Lake Nasser.
Another museum in Khartoum is the Palace Museum, located adjacent to the historical Presidential Palace on Blue Nile Street.
Khartoum is home to a small botanical garden, in the Mogran district of the city.
Khartoum is home to several clubs such as the Sailing Club, German Club, Greek Hotel, Coptic Club, Syrian Club, International Club etc. There is also a football club situated in Khartoum - Al Khartoum
- Amman, Jordan.
- Cairo, Egypt.
- Istanbul, Turkey.
- Ankara, Turkey.
- Saint Petersburg, Russia.
- Wuhan, People's Republic of China.
- Asmara, Eritrea.
- Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
- Omdurman, Sudan.
- Brasília, Brazil.
- Hargeisa, Somaliland (Somalia)
- Djibouti City, Djibouti.
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates, (Since 31 July 2011).
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