Old Dongola

Old Dongola

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Old Dongola

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Old Dongola (Old Nubian: Tungul; ) is a deserted town in Sudan located on the east bank of the Nile opposite the Wadi Al-Malik. An important city in medieval Nubia, and the departure point for caravan west to Darfur and Kordofan, from the fourth to the fourteenth century Old Dongola was the capital of the Makurian state. The urban center of the population moved downstream 50 miles (80 km) to the opposite side of the Nile during the nineteenth century, becoming the modern Dongola.

A Polish archaeological team has been excavating the town since 1964.


Old Dongola was founded in the fifth century as a fortress, but town soon evolved around it. Later with the arrival of Christianity it became the capital of Makuria, and several churches were built. These include, to use the names contemporary archeologists have given them, Building X and the Church with the Stone Pavement. These two structures were erected about 100 meters apart from the walled town centre, indicating that at this time the town already extended over the original walls of the fortress. Building X was soon replaced by the Old Church.

In the middle of the seventh century, the two main churches were destroyed, but rebuilt soon after. Building material was taken from the Old Church and used to repair the city walls. Archeologists believe this destruction is evidence that the First (642) and Second Battles of Dongola (652).

At the end of the seventh Century, the Church of the Granite Columns was erected over...
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