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Sudan's Meroe Pyramids Are Just As Spectacular As The Ones You'll Find In Egypt

05/21/2015 07:00 am ET | Updated Oct 03, 2015

While the pyramids of Egypt may be the most famous in the world, they're not the only pyramids in Northern Africa. Sudan happens to be home to its own set of incredibly impressive, ancient structures: the Meroe pyramids.

Meroe was the capital of the Kingdom of Kush, which was ruled by the Nubian kings. Up to 4,600 years old, the pyramids of Meroe were built in the what's known as Nubian style, marked by steep slopes and small bases.

These pyramids are not only striking. They're numerous -- about 200 strong, to be exact. According to Slate, "there are more pyramids in one small section of the northern Sudanese desert than there are in the whole of Egypt."

Like the pyramids of ancient Egypt, the Meroe pyramids were also built as tombs. The pyramids stood the test of time until the the 1880s, when Italian explorer Giussepe Ferlini destroyed the tops of many of the structures in search of treasure. While some of the pyramids have been restored, others remain effectively decapitated. Either way, they're still striking sights to behold.

The U.S. State Department's travel warning urges U.S. citizens to avoid travel to the Darfur region of Sudan, the Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states. Until travel to that region is safe, images of these stunning, lesser-known pyramids will have to suffice.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this Thursday, April 16, 2015 photo, a view of the historic Meroe pyramids in al-Bagrawiya, 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Khartoum, Sudan. The site once served as the principle residence of the rulers of the Kush kingdom, known as the Black Pharaohs. Their pyramids, ranging from 6-meters (20-feet) to 30-meters (100-feet) tall, are some 4,600 years old. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)
  • AFP via Getty Images
    A picture shows the pyramids in the Meroe desert, north of Khartoum, on February 26, 2010. Archaeologists say the desert of north Sudan holds mysteries to rival ancient Egypt.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this Saturday, March 10, 2012 photo, a general view shows some of Sudan's 144 pyramids of the Meroitic kings and queens in Meroe, 202 kilometers (125 miles) north of Khartoum, Sudan.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this Thursday, April 16, 2015 photo, hieroglyphics are pictured inside a room at the historic Meroe pyramids, a sign of the influence of ancient Egyptian civilization on the Sudanese Meroite kingdom, in al-Bagrawiya, 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Khartoum, Sudan. The pyramids bear decorative elements from the cultures of Pharaonic Egypt, Greece and Rome, according to UNESCO, making them priceless relics.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this Thursday, April 16, 2015 photo, a view of the historic Meroe pyramids.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this Thursday, April 16, 2015 photo, a Sudanese tour guide and a member of the security forces observe a temple at the Meroe pyramids site.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this Thursday, April 16, 2015 photo, Sudanese security guards walk next to one of the Meroe pyramids.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this Thursday, April 16, 2015 photo, local tourists visit the Meroe pyramids. Sudan's tourism industry has been devastated by a series of economic sanctions imposed over the country's civil war and the conflict in Darfur.
  • AFP via Getty Images
    A Sudanese man sits on a camel as he looks at the pyramids in the Meroe desert, north of Khartoum, on February 26, 2010.

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