Bookmark and Share

Open the online Arabic language course

Open map of Ancient EgyptAncient Egypt /
Ancient Sudan / Nubia / Cush /

Find Sudan on the world map

Open satellite map


Fortress of Buhen, Sudan

Fortress of Buhen, Sudan

Ancient Egyptian settlement in Nubia with an important fortress, situated below the 2nd cataract, 260 km south of Aswan, Egypt. Its location is today inundated by the Aswan High Dam, and corresponds to modern Sudan.
The fortress stretched about 500 metres along the Nile, being about 200 metres deep. Walls were about 5 metres thick and 10 metres high. It contained a fortified town, large enough for 3500 people. The fortress was equipped with drawbridges, bastions, buttresses, ramparts, battlements, loopholes and a catapult. Here was also the administration of the region between the 1st and 2nd cataracts.
There was also a large temple of Horus built by Queen Hatshepsut, which now is in the National Museum of Sudan, Khartoum, together with 2 other temples rescued from the rising waters after the completion of the Aswan High Dam.
During the Middle Kingdom, Buhen was one of several Egyptian fortresses in Nubia, together with Mirgissa, Shalfak, Uronarti, Askut, Dbenarti, Semna and Kumma.

Around 2600 BCE: Buhen is established as a miltary outpost against Nubia, protecting Egyptian mines in the region.
Around 2400: Egyptians are forced out of Buhen by the emerging Kingdom of Cush at Kerma.
Around 1860: The construction of a fortress at Buhen is begun by the command of the 12th Dynasty king, Sesostris 3, being the northernmost point on a line of fortresses penetrating deep into Nubia. This made Buhen's own military importance less, allowing it to develop more into a civilian settlement.
Around 1700: Buhen is conquered by the Cushites.
Around 1540: Buhen is taken back by the Egyptians.
Around 1070: The Cushites take Buhen back.
1930's: Excavations are performed at Buhen.
1964 CE: Remains of the fortress are swallowed by the rising water of Lake Nasser.

By Tore Kjeilen