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Omdurman, Sudan: Tomb of El Mahdi
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Tomb of El Mahdi.

Omdurman, Sudan

City hall.

Omdurman, Sudan: Tomb of El Mahdi
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Modern buildings.

City in Sudan with 2.4 million inhabitants (2009 estimate). Situated on the western bank of the Nile, Omdurman is an integrated part of the larger capital area (with Khartoum and North Khartoum), with between 5.5 and 6 million inhabitants. Omdurman is at an elevation of 390 metres, the same as for Khartoum.
Omdurman is an important commercial centre to Sudan, spanning from financial activities to trade. There are 3 major market areas, and outside of Omdurman there is a camel market, where camels still are priced not only by their practical qualities but also by their beauty. There are many industries in Omdurman, as well as small-scale manufacturing and the building of boats.
The tomb of El-Mahdi has been restored and is perhaps the foremost sight of modern Sudanese history. Another attraction is also the tomb of Shaykh Hamad an-Nil, an 18th century Muslim preacher. The latter has surprising architectonic similarities with old Russian churches.
Omdurman has almost only low buildings, religious buildings representing the few exceptions.
It is a city with a rich cultural life, spanning from the National Theatre and public TV and radio, to the Whirling Dervishes who stages shows here every Friday.
Omdurman has 4 universities: Ahfad University for Women (est. 1966); University of Holy Quran and Holy Sciences, Omdurman (est. unknown); Omdurman Ahlia University (est. 1986); and Omdurman Islamic University, Omdurman (est. 1921).

1884: Omdurman, then merely a village, is made military headquarters of El-Mahdi.
1885: Following the death of El-Mahdi, his successor, Khalifa, makes Omdurman his capital.
1898: Khalifa is besieged by the British, and Khartoum is reestablished as capital.
2008 May 10: The civil war of Darfur has a battle staged at Omdurman, with Darfuri militia aiming to attack the Sudanese government.

By Tore Kjeilen