sudan news record

Saturday, March 19, 2005


This web site illustrates some of the material on display at the Exhibition at the library of St.John's College, Cambridge. It has three pages,
Suakin Port, People and Trade and Religion at Suakin. The photographs are mostly from the Durham University Sudan Archive and the drawings are by J.P.Greenlaw published by Routledge in the Coral Buildings of Suakin. The text is by Mallinson Architects for any comments contact us on
Aerial view of Suakin Island in 1930 with Condensor Island in foreground and El Gerf with its enclosing defenses behind.
Hanafi Mosque
Suakin Port:
Suakin is the historic port town of the Sudan. The Roman remains of Evangelon Portus, referred to in the Periplus of the Erythrean Sea, may be on Condensor Island. First mentioned in the 10th Century it rose to pre-eminence in the 14th century. From 1517 AD it served as the southern most port of Egypt under the Ottoman Empire. In 1884-1889 it came under siege by the Mahdist Forces under Uthman Digna. The Anglo-Egyptian Garrison defensive walls still encircle El Gerf, the mainland town. Suakin was largely abandoned after Port Sudan was built in 1922 a further 30km North.

Shennawi Bey's House (No.163) in the centre of the Souk, is typical of a wealthy merchants house of the early period. It has a large Diwan and an upstairs Harim Maglis with Roshan Windows overlooking the street.
The House is part of the main Souk, which is built under its rear wall. .
The front elevation had a decorated door and a North facing arched opening into its Diwan. It is shown left above and beyond is a later Egyptian period house with screened window opening into its Dihlis (entrance room).
J.P.Greenlaw surveyed the buildings in the 1940s, here is the front elevation and the Harim Maglis or upper reception rooms.

Khorshid Effendi's House (No.35) is of the early Ottoman period and had a decorated Diwan, it may well have been the governor's residence. In the 1884 Campaign it was used as H.H.Kitchener's Residence and he is shown here outside the Diwan with his Egyptian and British Officer Corps.

This drawing by J.P.Greenlaw shows the interior of the Diwan when it was still standing.
The Diwan in 1978 (photographed by Fritz Hinkle) had lost its roof, since then the upper wall and arch have now gone.


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