Khartoum | Gulf Air
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The national capital of The Sudan sits at the confluence of the Blue Nile and White Nile and, in its relatively short history, has been the scene of many dramatic events.
The Sudan's history dates back to ancient times, when there were two main civilisations in the country, Nubia and Kush. It was divided into many smaller kingdoms at this time, some which were converted to Christianity, while others became Muslim states. As the influence of Egypt grew in the second millennium, Islam gained prominence, but the invasion of refugees in the south has continued to divide the country, both religiously and tribally.

The Egyptian ruler Muhammad Ali sent armies of occupation in 1821 and Khartoum was founded in 1823 because of its strategic position. Ismail Pasha tried to strengthen Egypt's influence and in 1874 appointed the British General Gordon as governor general until 1879. The Islamic leader, the Mahdi, believing he was a new prophet, led a rebellion in 1881 and Gordon returned to evacuate the Egyptian army from its Khartoum headquarters, but died in the siege of the city during 1885. In 1898 the Mahdi's successor was defeated at Omdurman by an Anglo-Egyptian Army led by Lord Kitchener and thereafter the allies jointly ruled the Sudan until independence in the mid-50s.

Khartoum takes its name from the strip of land between the two rivers at the centre of the city, which resembles the curling end of an elephant's trunk, in Arabic - Ras-al-hartum - the end of the trunk. Kitchener laid out the rebuilt city centre in the patriotic form of a Union Jack, and this area contains some fine examples of African colonial architecture as well as mosques and the national museum. Despite the country's desperate poverty and constant civil strife Khartoum is well maintained and radiating an outward air of some prosperity.

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Fact File
 City: Khartoum 
 Country Name: Sudan 
 Currency: Sudanese pound 
 Local Time: GMT+3 
 Main Language: Arabic 
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