Omdurman Coordinates: Coordinates: Country Sudan State Khartoum State Elevation 178 m (584 ft) Population (2008) – Total 2,395,159 Time zone East Africa Time (UTC+3)
Omdurman (Standard Arabic Umm Durmān أم درمان) is the second largest city in Sudan and Khartoum State, lying on the western banks of the River Nile, opposite the capital, Khartoum. Omdurman has a population of 2,395,159 (2008) and is the national centre of commerce. With Khartoum and Khartoum North or Bahri, it forms the cultural and industrial heart of the nation.
- 1 History
- 2 Demographics
- 3 Arts
- 4 Education
- 5 Shopping and recreation
- 6 Famous places and buildings
- 7 Sports
- 8 Communication and mass transit
- 9 Sister cities
- 10 References
In 1884, Muḥammad Aḥmad, "the Mahdi", made his military headquarters in the village of Omdurman. The conflicts that followed over the next fifteen years have become known as the Mahdist War. Following the defeat of the besieged defenders of Khartoum in 1885, the Mahdi's successor, Khalifa ʻAbdullahi ibn Muḥammad, made Omdurman his capital.
The city, now the location of the tomb of the Mahdi, grew rapidly. However, in the Battle of Omdurman in 1898 (which actually took place in the nearby village of Kerreri), Lord Kitchener decisively defeated the Mahdist forces, ensuring British control over the Sudan, and killed Khalifa.
Kitchener restored Khartoum as the capital and, from 1899 until 1956 Sudan was jointly governed by Great Britain and Egypt. Although most of the city was destroyed in the battle, the Mahdi's tomb was restored and refurbished.
On the 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 goal was to topple Omar Hassan al-Bashir's government.
Year Population 1909 (Census) 42.779 1941 116.196 1956 113.600 1973 299.399 1983 526.284 1993 1.271.403 2007 Estimate 3.127.802 2008 2.395.159 2010 2.577.780
Depicted as an icon for nationalism and diversity, Omdurman has been featured in numerous poems and songs. As the unofficial national capital of Sudan, the word "national" is tied to many of the city attractions. Some of Omdurman's famous arts facilities include National Theatre, Al-Arays (Puppets) Theatre, Alwataniya Cinema, Sudan TV and radio station studios, The Higher Institute for Music and Theatre and Qasr Alshabab o Alatfal (Youth & Kids Palace).
Every Friday in Omdurman one can see the Whirling Dervishes. The whirling Dervishes are heterodox Sufi Muslims who wear colourful patchwork robes and dance to the beat of drums, twirling and stamping their feet until they go into a trance. They consider this dance a ritual from Islam's earliest days, though it is generally considered in Sudan and abroad as a peculiar local Folklore. At the height of the dance, participants say that their souls communicate with Allah (i.e. God, in Arabic) and are cleansed of evil. The spell is only broken with the call to evening prayer.
There are several educational institutions in Omdurman. Some of the notable schools include:
- Elementary Schools:
- Omdurman Elnamozegia Elementary School
- High Schools:
- Abu Kadok High School
- Almotmar High School
- Basheer Mohamed Saeed Secondary School
- Omdurman Ahlia High School
- Mohammed Hussien High School
- Omdurman High School
- Wadi Saydna High School- one of famous historical high schools in Sudan
Public universities are:
- Karary University
- Omdurman Islamic University
- University of the Holy Quran and Islamic Sciences
Private universities are:
- Ahfad University for Women
- Omdurman Ahlia University
- University of Science and Technology - Omdurman
Furthermore, there are several public libraries in Omdurman. Albashir Alrayah Library is a famous library and hot destination for students, researchers and intellectuals. The library hosts several lectures and panels from different guest speakers and organizations.
Shopping and recreation
Omdurman has several multicultural tourist targets and facilities that attract local and international visitors. Souq is the Arabic term for a market. Souq Omdurman, Souq Libya and Souq Aljilod are considered the largest merchandise spots common sceneries at Alshohada. Along this busy and noisy environment, there lies two hospitals: Omdurman Hospital and for Sudanese commodities and gadgets.
Another important destination in Omdurman is Almourada. Famous for its fish market along the banks of the Nile, Almourada is one of the old historical neighbourhoods in Omdurman. Fishermen and local merchants post at the shores selling their fresh catch. It is also home of Al-Mourada football club, named after the neighbourhood, a top Sudan Premier League team that has represented Sudan on numerous CAF, and other regional tournaments.
Another shopping area is Alshohada or Hay Alsouq , Omdurman's downtown area. Transportation lines, buses, taxis, canteens, barbershops, fast-food restaurants and music stores are Blue Nile Hospital with several pharmacies at walking distances.
Another important speciality trading area is Abu Rouf. Known for its small-scale crafts including metallic beds, boat-making and extracting wood. Located along the shores of the Nile, swimming is considered an eternal hobby of Abu Rouf residents.
Just outside of Omdurman there is a camel market, where merchants come to buy and sell their desert animals. The white or paler coloured camels are the more desired and therefore highly prized, and many of the camels wear leather kitabs, talismatic pouches containing prayers to protect to the animals on their long walk to the souq.
Omdurman city has its own industrial area, in which many of huge factories are working under the control of Sudanese government, in terms of production control and quality assurance.
Famous places and buildings
There are several outdoor activities and destinations that are worth visiting in Omdurman. This include Almourada Family Park, on the opposite side of Souq Almourada. Rivera Recreational is another modern park along the shores of the Nile that features outdoor dining and children playing facilities. The recreational facility has a large rental ballroom that is available for the public for hosting events such as weddings.
Another attraction is also the tomb of Sheikh Hamad El Nil Tomb, a Muslim propagator, who was active in Sudan during the Funj Kingdom (1505-1820). The tomb and the adjoining mosque are located on the western side of Omdurman. The followers of Quadriya sect Sufi gather on Friday afternoons for Zikr (recital). The congregations usually attract large crowds of local people and tourists.
There is also Souq El Naaga, which is a typical pastoral market, Located southwest of Omdurman, cattle sales are held at the market, where it also offers various basic necessities for pastorals. The major attraction of the Souq is its stalls of freshly slaughtered meat and traditional food sheds where roasted and stewed meat is served. Camel meat, and its spiced uncooked liver are considered delicious delicacies to many Sudanese. The Camel Market Located west of Omdurman, this Souq is one of the main trading centers of camels in Sudan. Camels offered in this market are brought in mainly from western Sudan and subsequently are usually herded overland to markets in Lower Egypt.
In a country torn by wars and poverty, more facilitated hospitals are needed in the whole of Sudan. Furthermore being a highly dense city, small private clinics that are scattered throughout the city, are a common sight, especially close to Hay Alshohada. Some notable hospitals include:
- Omdurman Teaching Hospital, the biggest public hospital with an emergency centre.
- Omdurman Military Hospital (or Alsilah Altiby).
- Omdurman Maternity Hospital (or Aldayat Hospital), a public hospital specializing in pregnancy and delivery, and woman's health.
- Blue Nile Hospital, a private hospital
- Asia Hospital, a private hospital
- Altigany Almahy Hospital, a public historical hospital specializing in psychological and mental disorders
With Sudan's best three football clubs based in Omdurman, the city is considered as the centre of football in Sudan. Al-Hilal, Al-Merreikh and Al-Mourada football clubs constitute the triplet of Sudanese football. Other sports played include basketball, with Coptic School Omdurman Club being one team that plays the sport.
Al-Hilal versus Al-Merrikh
When historic rivals Alhilal and Almerrikh play against each other, precautions and advisory announcements are posted. On game days, police forces circle the pitch, local companies compete to support the teams, musical instruments play, newspapers are burnt, and vehicle horns honk. Early fan arrivals are recommended. It is the biggest and most watched derby in the Sudan and one of the fiercest rivalries in Africa.
Communication and mass transit
The telephone system in Sudan has greatly improved since the privatization of the telephone company. The telephone service was further improved by the introduction of the cellular system in 1996. Khartoum State (including Omdurman) follows closed telephone numbering plan as follows:
(87)xxx-xxx (calls within Khartoum State that includes Omdurman, Khartoum North and Khartoum city)
249-187-xxx-xxx (call from outside Sudan)
Television and radio
Omdurman features the buildings and studios of the national TV and radio stations. "Hona Omdurman", (This is Omdurman), is the name of Sudan's national radio station. Other local radio stations include: Taybah 103 FM, AlKawthar, Mango 96, 100 FM and radio Holy Quran stations.
There are two TV stations in Sudan, Sudan TV which is the national TV of Sudan and Blue Nile Channel, a private channel that is part of Arab Radio and TV network package.
There are several bus lines that operate within Khartoum state. From Khartoum city to Omdurman, the main lines include Alshohada, Atthoura (passes through Alshohada) and Alfitihab. Minivans, Amjaads (4-wheeled microvans), taxis and raksha (s) (autorickshaw) are also common mass transportation schemes.
According to Sudanese officials, a new airport facility has been proposed 30 miles (50 km) south of Omdurman. Arguably speaking to be within the non-defined boundaries of Omdurman, the project is estimated to be completed by 2012 with an estimated budget of $530 million.
- ^ Curfew in capital as Sudanese army clash near Khartoum with Darfur rebels - Sudan Tribune 2008-05-10
- ^ Sudanese rebels 'reach Khartoum' - BBC News 2008-05-10
- ^ PHOTOS: Sudan capital after today's attack from Darfur JEM - Sudan Tribune 2008-05-10
- ^ http://bevoelkerungsstatistik.de
- ^ Encyclopedia Britannica von 1911: Band 20, Seite 101
- ^ "Sudanese higher education". Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research. http://www.mohe.gov.sd/. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
- ^ "Universities of Sudan". Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas. http://www.webometrics.info/university_by_country.asp?country=sd. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
- ^ CIA World Facts, Telephone Systems
- ^ Arab Times, Khartoum New Airport
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