North-west of Khartoum center lies the district of Omdurman that hosts most of Khartoum’s sights: the Mahdi’s Tomb, the Khalida’s House, Sudan’s largest Souk and the ultimate highlight of any visit to Khartoum, the Dancing Dervishes who gather every Friday at the Tomb of Skeikh Hamed al Nil set in the middle of a Sufi cemetery.
Author Archive | Heidi Sequenz
Once a week sellers, buyers and of course lots of camels gather at the Camel market of Muehjle. One of the places I was very eager to see in Sudan, but to go there after only a few hours of sleep was not really appealing. Kelly and I were dead tired, our flight had arrived at 2am and we had planned to spend the day leisurely in Khartoum. Besides US 60 for a car plus driver seemed a lot. Well, we were so glad we did it, it was such a great experience. The camels are bread in Darfur and are walked all the way up to Khartoum where they are sold and put on trucks to be finally sold and slaughtered in Egypt. In former days the camels walked all the way to their deaths, which took them 24 days.
George, the owner of Hotel Acropolis, got us tickets to the party at the Germany Embassy for US60. It will always be remembered as the best New Year’s Party. The “Who is Who” of Khartoum was present, diplomats, businesspeople from all corners of the world as well as lots of Sudanese.
How we got the idea to visit the SOS children’s village? The mother of a student of mine told me about it. A quick mail to the German organization and we were all set. Kelly and I were received by the director of the village, Mr Abdel Kareem, a very charismatic, kind man and Lena the assistant of the national director.
Khartoum – the very name makes most people’s phantasies go wild, since so little is known about the capital of Sudan. Well, there is actually a lot to explore if you take your time and we certainly did. The confluence of the Blue and White Nile is probably the most famous sight in Khartoum. Unfortunately, most visitors simply drive across the bridge and look down, since the closest place to the watch the two rivers merge is officially closed, Mogran Family Park. There used to be a fairy-wheel that provided a superb view, but it has been dismantled years ago, like all the other rides. That would not keep Kelly and me from going there anyway, what we discovered was the most bizarre place.
The city celebrated its 350th birthday a few years ago, hard to imagine. It is not a hectic, cosmopolitan place but definitely a thriving city with beautiful architecture. Famous are the 19th old wooden houses of Irkutsk with beautifully painted window panes. Some of them are nicely renovated, whereas others look neglected.
Moscow’s metro stations are still a sight on their own. My last to Moscow was in 1983, even back then I marveled at the beautifully decorated stations. My absolute favorite became one that is dominated by a dog chiseled in black marble. To touch its nose brings good luck. I could not believe how many Muscovites rushed by, quickly brushing over the nose that has changed color already into a dirty white. Some things even outlast Communism.
The start of this one-month trip to Russia’s far east was super easy. My first stop was Moscow where I was welcomed by Sanita and Yuili in their riverside apartment. I met Sanita in 2011 in Ethiopia and we have stayed in contact ever since. There is no better way to get to know a place than with local friends.
There are quite a few things that I found either unique to Armenian or omnipresent in this country: the gas-pipelines crisscrossing the country , the candle trays in churches, Lavash and Zhingalov, the famous flat bread, or Khachkars, stone crosses. And lets not forget the current hairstyle for young men.
Lavash and Zhingalov Khat
Lavash, a kind of flatbread, is the staple food in Armenia, it is found everywhere. There is even a sweet version. Unique to Nagorno Karabagh is a refined version, Zhingalov Khat. It is Lavash filled with many different herbs. In Goris I was lucky enough to come across a group of ladies who were making lavash in a tiny bakery, they three were working like machines. One was rolling the dough out flat and thin , the next step and done by a second woman was spreading the think spread of dough on a cushioned board and then slamming sticking against the walls of an oven set in the ground. The third was getting the Lavash out with a long iron hook.
It was the very name that first drew my attention, finally a name I could easily remember. Once there, it became ingrained in my memories forever. Large parts of Sushi are still in ruins, 23 years after the war with Azerbijan that cost the lives of thousands of Azari and Aremnians soldiers and civilians. The reminders of this war are much more evident in Shushi than Stepanakert, only 15 minutes drive away.