Sudan: Old Dongola – Qubbas at the Islamic Cemetery

The Christian kingdom of Makuria fell to the Egyptian sultan in the 1300s and eventually came to decline. However, the most interesting part of the area is the vast Islamic cemetery from the 17th century with many giant qubbas – domed tombs. They look totally surreal in the desert landscape, like giant pyramids. In between the qubbas, there are hundreds of simple sand and stone graves, perfectly preserved by the desert heat. But it’s what’s inside the qubbas that is mind-blowing – several of them are filled with thousands of small bats. You crawl through a small door, your eyes tearing from the guano smell, and you see the bats all around on the cupola and walls, in a total cacophony of sounds.