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For other uses, see Khartoum (disambiguation).
Khartoum at night
Khartoum at night
Flag of Khartoum
Nickname(s): Triangular Capital
Khartoum is located in Sudan
Khartoum's location in Sudan
Coordinates: 15°38′N 32°32′E / 15.633°N 32.533°E / 15.633; 32.533Coordinates: 15°38′N 32°32′E / 15.633°N 32.533°E / 15.633; 32.533
Country Sudan
State Khartoum
 • Governor Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein
Population (2014)
 • Total 5,185,000[1]
Demonym(s) Khartoumese, Khartoumian (the latter more properly designates a Mesolithic archaeological stratum)
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)
 • Summer (DST) Not observed (UTC+3)
Satellite view of Khartoum
Khartoum with White and Blue Niles

Khartoum (/kɑːrˈtm/ kar-TOOM)[2][3] is the capital and second largest city of Sudan and Khartoum state. It is located at the confluence of the White Nile, flowing north from Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile, flowing west from Ethiopia. The location where the two Niles meet is known as "al-Mogran" المقرن, meaning the confluence. The main Nile continues to flow north towards Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea.

Divided by the Niles, Khartoum is a tripartite metropolis with an estimated overall population of over five million people, consisting of Khartoum proper, and linked by bridges to Khartoum North (الخرطوم بحري al-Kharṭūm Baḥrī) and Omdurman (أم درمان Umm Durmān) to the west.



The origin of the word Khartoum is uncertain. One theory argues that khartoum is derived from Arabic kharṭūm خرطوم meaning 'trunk' or 'hose', probably referring to the narrow strip of land extending between the Blue and White Niles.[4] Captain J. A. Grant, who reached Khartoum in 1863 with Captain Speke's expedition, thought that the name was most probably from the Arabic قرطم qurtum, safflower (Carthamus tinctorius), which was cultivated extensively in Egypt for its oil to be used as fuel.[5] Some scholars speculate that the word derives from Agartum in the Nubian language, which stands for "the abode of Atum"; the Nubian and Egyptian god of creation. Other Beja scholars suggest Khartoum is derived from "Hartooma" which means meeting in the Beja Language.[6][7]

Founding (1821–1899)[edit]

Khartoum at the Bend of the Nile
Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi religious leader of the Mahdist War

Khartoum was established 24 kilometres (15 mi) north of the ancient city of Soba in 1821 by Ibrahim Pasha, the son of Egypt's ruler, Muhammad Ali Pasha, who had just incorporated Sudan into his realm. Originally, Khartoum served as an outpost for the Egyptian Army, but the settlement quickly grew into a regional centre of trade. It also became a focal point for the slave trade. Later, it became the administrative center of Sudan and official capital.

Troops loyal to the Mahdi Muhammad Ahmad started a siege of Khartoum on 13 March 1884, against defenders led by British General Charles George Gordon. The siege ended in a massacre of the Anglo-Egyptian garrison. The heavily damaged city fell to the Mahdists on 26 January 1885 and all its inhabitants were put to death.[8]

Omdurman was the scene of the bloody Battle of Omdurman on 2 September 1898, during which British forces under Herbert Kitchener defeated the Mahdist forces defending the city.

Modern history (20th–21st centuries)[edit]

In 1973, the city was the site of an anomalous hostage crisis in which members of Black September held ten hostages at the Saudi Arabian embassy, five of whom were diplomats. The US ambassador, the US deputy ambassador, and the Belgian chargé d'affaires were murdered. The remaining hostages were released. A 1973 United States Department of State document, declassified in 2006, concluded "The Khartoum operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasser Arafat."[9]

The first oil pipeline between Khartoum and the Port of Sudan was completed in 1977.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Khartoum was the destination for hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflicts in neighboring nations such as Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Uganda. Many Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees assimilated into society, while others settled in large slums at the outskirts of the city. Since the mid-1980s, large numbers of refugees from South Sudan and Darfur fleeing the violence of the Second Sudanese Civil War and Darfur conflict have settled around Khartoum.

In 1991, Osama bin Laden purchased a house in the affluent al-Riyadh neighborhood of the city and another in Soba. He lived there until 1996 when he was banished from the country. Following the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, the United States accused bin Laden's al-Qaeda group and launched cruise missile attacks (20 August) on the al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in northern Khartoum. The destruction of the factory produced diplomatic tension between the U.S. and Sudan. The ruins of the factory are now a tourist attraction.

After the sudden death of SPLA head and vice-president of Sudan, John Garang, at the end of July 2005, there were three days of violent riots in the capital. The riots finally died down after Southern Sudanese politicians and tribal leaders sent strong messages to the rioters. The situation could have been much more dire; even so, the death toll was at least 24, as youths from southern Sudan attacked northern Sudanese and clashed with security forces.[10]

The Organisation of African Unity summit of 18–22 July 1978 was held in Khartoum, during which Sudan was awarded the OAU presidency. The African Union summit of 16–24 January 2006 was held in Khartoum.

The Arab League summit of 28–29 March 2006 was held in Khartoum, during which the Arab League awarded Sudan the Arab League presidency.

On 10 May 2008 the Darfur rebel group of the Justice and Equality Movement moved into the city where they engaged in heavy fighting with Sudanese government forces. Their soldiers included minors and their goal was the toppling of Omar al-Bashir's government, though the Sudanese government succeeded in beating back the assault.[11][12][13]

On 23 October 2012 an explosion at the Yarmouk munitions factory killed two people and injured another person. The Sudanese government has claimed that the explosion was the result of an Israeli airstrike.[14]

Panorama of Khartoum



Sudan, in northeast Africa, measures about one-fourth the size of the United States. Its neighbors are Chad and the Central African Republic on the west, Egypt and Libya on the north, Ethiopia and Eritrea on the east, and South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of the Congo on the south. The Red Sea washes about 500 mi of the eastern coast. It is traversed from north to south by the Nile, all of whose great tributaries are partly or entirely within its borders.

Khartoum is located in the middle of the populated areas in Sudan almost northeast center of the country between 16 degrees latitude north and 15 degrees latitude south and longitude 21 degrees west and 24 degrees longitude east, and expands an area amounting to 20,736 km (12884 Mile) square between the West Bank of the River Nile, from North Khartoum Bahri, Shendi, River Nile State, from both the East Kassala, Kassala State, Port Sudan, Red Sea State and North East Blue Nile, from the West White Nile, Omdurman, North Kordofan and Northwest Omdurman, Northern State, from South Wad Madani, Al Jazirah (state) and Southwest Ed Dueim, White Nile State.



Khartoum features a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWhw) with a dry season occurring during winter, typical of the Saharo-Sahelian zone which marks the progressive passage between the Sahara Desert, vast arid areas and the Sahel, vast semi-arid areas. The climate is extremely arid for most of the year with about nine months where average rainfall is lower than 5 mm (0.20 in). The very long dry season is itself divided into a hot, very dry season between November and March as well as a very hot, dry season between April and June. During this part of the year, hot, dry continental trade winds from deserts sweep over the region such as the harmattan (a northerly or northeasterly wind):, the weather is stable and very dry. The very irregular, very brief, rainy season lasts about 1 month as the maximum rainfall is recorded in August with about 75 mm (3.0 in). The rainy season is characterized by a seasonal reverse of wind regimes, when the Intertropical Convergence Zone goes northerly. Average annual rainfall is very low, with only 121.3 mm (4.78 in) of precipitation. Khartoum records on average six days with 10 mm (0.39 in) or more and 19 days with 1 mm (0.039 in) or more of rainfall. The highest temperatures occur during two periods in the year: the first at the late dry season, when average high temperatures consistently exceed 40 °C (104 °F) from April to June, and the second at the early dry season, when average high temperatures exceed 39 °C (102 °F) in September and October months. Khartoum is one of the hottest major cities on Earth, with annual mean temperatures hovering around 30 °C (86 °F). The city also had hot winters. In no month does the average monthly high temperature fall below 30 °C (86 °F). This is something not seen in other major cities with hot desert climates such as Riyadh, Baghdad and Phoenix. Temperatures cool off enough during the night, with Khartoum's lowest average low temperature of the year just above 15 °C (59 °F).

Climate data for Khartoum (1971–2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 39.7
Average high °C (°F) 30.7
Average low °C (°F) 15.6
Record low °C (°F) 8.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 0.0
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.9 0.9 4.0 4.2 3.4 1.2 0.0 0.0 14.7
Average relative humidity (%) 27 22 17 16 19 28 43 49 40 28 27 30 29
Mean monthly sunshine hours 316.2 296.6 316.2 318.0 310.0 279.0 269.7 272.8 273.0 306.9 303.0 319.3 3,580.7
Mean daily sunshine hours 10.2 10.5 10.2 10.6 10.0 9.3 8.7 8.8 8.1 9.9 10.1 10.3 9.8
Source #1: World Meteorological Organisation,[16] NOAA (extremes and humidity 1961–1990)[17]
Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (sun, 1961–1990)[18]


Year Population
City Metropolitan area
1907[19] 69,349 n.a.
1956 93,100 245,800
1973 333,906 748,300
1983 476,218 1,340,646
1993 947,483 2,919,773
2008 Census Preliminary 3,639,598 5,274,321


Development in Khartoum

After the signing of the historic Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLA), the Government of Sudan has begun a massive development project.[20][21] In 2007, the biggest projects in Khartoum were the Al-Mogran Development Project, two five-star hotels, a new airport, Mac Nimir Bridge (finished in October 2007) and the Tuti Bridge that links Khartoum to Tuti Island.

In the 21st century, Khartoum has developed based on Sudan's oil wealth. The center of the city has tree-lined streets. Khartoum has the highest concentration of economic activity in the country. This has changed as major economic developments take place in other parts of the country, like oil exploration in the South, the Giad Industrial Complex in Al Jazirah state and White Nile Sugar Project in Central Sudan, and the Merowe Dam in the North.[citation needed]

Among the city's industries are printing, glass manufacturing, food processing, and textiles. Petroleum products are now produced in the far north of Khartoum state, providing fuel and jobs for the city. One of Sudan's largest refineries is located in northern Khartoum.[citation needed]


The Souq Al Arabi is Khartoum's largest open air market. The "souq" is spread over several blocks in the center of Khartoum proper just south of the Great Mosque (Mesjid al-Kabir) and the minibus station. It is divided into separate sections, including one focused entirely on gold.[citation needed]

Al Qasr Street and Al Jamhoriyah Street are considered the most famous high streets in Khartoum State.

Afra Mall is located in the southern suburb Arkeweet. The Afra Mall has a supermarket, retail outlets, coffee shops, a bowling alley, movie theaters, and a children's playground.

In 2011, Sudan opened the Hotel Section and part of the food court of the new, Cornithia hotel Tower. The Mall/Shopping section is still under construction.


Khartoum is the main location for most of Sudan's top educational bodies.In Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, there are four main levels of education. First: kindergarten and day-care. It begins in the age of 3-4, consists of 1-2 grades, (depending on the parents). Second: elementary school. the first grade pupils enter at the age of 6-7 .and It consists of 8 grades, each year there is more academic efforts and main subjects added plus more school methods improvements. By the 8th grade a student is 13–14 years old ready to take the certificate exams and entering high school. Third: upper second school and high school. At this level the school methods add some main academic subjects such as chemistry, biology, physics, geography, etc... there are three grades in this level. The students ages are about 14-15 to 17-18. Higher Education: there are many universities in Sudan such as the university of Khartoum, even foreigners attend universities here, because the reputation of the universities are very good and the living expenses are low compared to other countries. After all, the education system in Sudan went through many changes in the late 1980s and early 1990s.[22][23][24]

High schools[edit]

Al-Mawahib Schools - Khartoum Bahry
  • Khartoum Old High Secondary School for Boys
  • Khartoum Old High Secondary School for Girls
  • The British Educational Schools (BES)[25]
  • Khartoum American School, KAS, established in 1957.
  • Khartoum International Community School, KICS, established in 2004.
  • Unity High School.[26]
  • Suliman Hussein Academy
  • Comboni and St. Francis, khartoum new high secondary school for boys
  • Khartoum International preparatory school (KIPS)|Khartoum International preparatory school, established in 1928.
  • Qabbas Private International Schools
  • Riad English School, established 1987

The higher institutes in Khartoum[edit]



Khartoum is home to the largest airport in Sudan, Khartoum International Airport. It is the main hub for Sudan Airways, Sudan's main carrier. The airport was built at the southern edge of the city; but with Khartoum's rapid growth and consequent urban sprawl, the airport is now located in the heart of the city. A new international airport is currently being built about 40 km (25 mi) south of the city center. There have been delays to start construction because lack of funding of the project but it is known that the airport will be completed sometime in 2017. It will replace the current airport in Khartoum as Sudan's main airport.


White Nile Bridge, Omdurman to Khartoum, Sudan

The following bridges cross the Blue Nile and connect Khartoum to Khartoum North:

The following bridges cross the White Nile and connect Khartoum to Omdurman:

the following bridges cross from Omdurman: to Khartoum North:

The following bridges cross to Tuti from Khartoum states three cities


Khartoum has rail lines from Wadi Halfa, Port Sudan on the Red Sea, and El Obeid. All are operated by Sudan Railways. Some lines also extended to some parts of south Sudan


University of Khartoum

Architecture of Khartoum cannot be identified by one style or even two styles; it is as diverse as its culture, where 597 different cultural groups meet. In this article are 10 buildings of Khartoum to showcase this diversity in buildings’ shapes, materials, treatments. Sudan was home to numerous ancient civilizations, such as the Kingdom of Kush, Kerma, Nobatia, Alodia, Makuria, Meroë and others, most of which flourished along the Nile. During the pre-dynastic period Nubia and Nagadan Upper Egypt were identical, simultaneously evolved systems of Pharaonic kingship by 3300 BC.

In response to the worldwide deterioration of the environment and the increase in pollution levels, there has been a strong movement towards sustainable architecture across the globe. This movement has received attention and concern from governments as well as private sectors. In the past decades, Sudan has seen a huge surge in infrastructure and technology, which has led to many new and innovative building concepts, ideas and construction techniques. There is now a constant flow of new projects arising, thus leading to a new, transformed, modernised form of architecture. [29]

  • Squares and public gardens

Masjids and Places of worship



A statue, claimed to depict Natakamani, at the front of the National Museum of Sudan


The largest museum in all of Sudan is the National Museum of Sudan. Founded in 1971, it contains works from different epochs of Sudanese history. Among the exhibits are two Egyptian temples of Buhen and Semna which were originally built by Queen Hatshepsut and Pharaoh Tuthmosis III respectively but relocated to Khartoum upon the flooding of Lake Nasser.

The Republican Palace Museum opened in 2000 is located in the former Anglican All Saints' cathedral on Sharia al-Jama'a, next to the historical Presidential Palace.

The Ethnographic Museum is located on Sharia al-Jama'a, close to the Mac Nimir Bridge.

Botanical gardens[edit]

Khartoum is home to a small botanical garden, in the Mogran district of the city.


Khartoum is home to several clubs such as the Blue Nile Sailing Club, the German Club, the Greek Hotel,[31] the Coptic Club, the Syrian Club and the International Club. There is also a football club situated in Khartoum – Al Khartoum

Photo Gallery[edit]

Twin cities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Dictionary Reference: Khartoum
  3. ^ The Free Dictionary: Khartoum
  4. ^ Room, Adrian (2006), Placenames of the World (Second edition)., McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-2248-3. P. 194.
  5. ^ Walkley, C. E. J. (1935). "THE STORY OF KHARTOUM". Sudan Notes and Records. University of Khartoum. 18 (2): 221–241. doi:10.2307/41710712 (inactive 2015-04-09). JSTOR 41710712. 
  6. ^;view=fulltext
  7. ^ Hasan Shukri, "Khartoum and Tuti 'Shreen Munz Qarnan", Khartoum, 1:11, August 1966, p. 23.
  8. ^ Hammond, Peter (2005), Slavery, Terrorism & Islam, Cape Town, South Africa: Christian Liberty Books 
  9. ^ "The Seizure of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Khartoum" (PDF). U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-12-16. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  10. ^ "World | Africa | Riots after Sudan VP Garang dies". BBC News. 1 August 2005. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  11. ^ Curfew in capital as Sudanese army clash near Khartoum with Darfur rebels – Sudan Tribune 10 May 2008
  12. ^ Sudanese rebels 'reach Khartoum' – BBC News 10 May 2008
  13. ^ PHOTOS: Sudan capital after today's attack from Darfur JEM – Sudan Tribune 10 May 2008
  14. ^ "Khartoum fire blamed on Israeli bombing". Al Jazeera. 25 October 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ "World Weather Information Service – Khartoum". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  17. ^ "Khartoum Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Klimatafel von Khartoum / Sudan" (PDF). Baseline climate means (1961-1990) from stations all over the world (in German). Deutscher Wetterdienst. Retrieved 22 October 2016. 
  19. ^ "Encyclopædia Britannica von 1911: Band 15, Seite 773". Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  20. ^ "Sudan and UNDP launch Millennium Goals project". Sudan Tribune. 5 September 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2008. 
  21. ^ Winter, Joseph (24 April 2007). "Khartoum booms as Darfur burns". BBC. Retrieved 28 June 2008. 
  22. ^ [2]
  23. ^ [3]
  24. ^
  25. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  26. ^ Archived February 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› 
  27. ^ "Sudanese higher education". Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  28. ^ "Universities of Sudan Ahfad university for women". Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ "". 2009-02-09. Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  32. ^ "İstanbul'un Kardeş Şehir, İşbirliği Protokolleri ve Mutabakat Zaptı/İyi Niyet Mektupları" [Istanbul's Sister Cities, Cooperation Protocols and Memorandum of Understanding/Goodwill Letters] (in Turkish). İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  33. ^ "Sister Cities of Istanbul". Istanbul. 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  34. ^ "Ethiopia's Capital Addis Ababa and Khartoum sign twin cities agreement". Nazret. 26 September 2010. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  35. ^ "Kardeş Kentleri Listesi ve 5 Mayıs Avrupa Günü Kutlaması [via]" (in Turkish). Ankara Büyükşehir Belediyesi – Tüm Hakları Saklıdır. Archived from the original on 14 January 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  36. ^ "Brotherhood & Friendship Agreements Signed Between Cairo & Arab Cities". Ministry of State for Administrative Development, Cairo Governorate. 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016. Twinning document; Khartoum; Sudan; 14/2/1979 
  37. ^ "Sister Cities". Wuhan University. 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Khartoum at Wikimedia Commons