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Arabic: kassalā

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Kassala, Sudan
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With the famous mountains in the background.

City in northeastern Sudan with 470,000 inhabitants (2009 estimate), capital of the Kassala state with 1.8 million inhabitants (2008 estimate) and an area of 37,000 km². It lies at an elevation of 495 metres, with the Kassala Mountains to the east and the Mokram Mountains to the south. The immediate Taka Mountains rise characteristically behind the city.
Kassala is a market town and a transport hub, especially connecting other centres by both highway and railway. Agriculture is also important, specializing in fruits. Before, the production of cotton was of great importance.
Kassala is the home of one of Sudan's main Sufi orders, the Kharmiyya.
Kassala is popular tourist destination for Sudanese, especially with honeymooners.
The population of Kassala comes from several ethnic groups, the dominant being the Beja; other large groups are the Rashaida and the Fellata. In recent years, refugees of Eritrea and Ethopia have formed a large community since the 1960's. Since the 1980's, internal refugees from the Nuba Mountains have arrived here in large numbers, counting some 160,000 in the. Presently, UN personnel is not allowed into town.

1840: Founded as an Ottoman military camp, serving the Egyptian-led offensive into Sudan.
1885: Conquered by the Mahdists.
1894: Conquered by Italy.
1897: Transferred back to Egypt.
1899: Comes under British control.
1940-1941: Under brief Italian control.

By Tore Kjeilen