Omdurman is the largest city in Sudan and the Khartoum state. The city lies on the western banks of the River Nile, opposite the capital of Sudan Khartoum. The city claims a population of 2,395,157 as of 2008. Omdurman is the national centre of commerce and is also the country’s legislative capital.
In 1884, Omdurman was just a riparian and unimportant village until Muhammad (The Mahdi) Ahmad defeated the besieged defenders of Khartoum. In 1885, the Mahdi’s successor Khalifa ‘Abdullahi ibn Muhammad made Omdurman the capital; the city then rapidly grew as unplanned mud houses. However, in the Battle of Omdurman in 1898, Lord Kitchener defeated the Madhist forces and killed the Khalifa, certifying British control over Sudan. Despite being under British control, Omdurman still continued to flourish and develop as the country’s cultural, religious and commercial capital
Visit the Sheikh Hamad El Nil tomb. The tomb and the mosque are located in the western side of Omdurman. Another must see is the Al-Nilain Mosque. It’s reputed to be the largest mosque beside the River Nile, stretching from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean. Visit it to see its architectural resemblance to the taiga or the Muslim prayer cap. Don’t miss out on seeing the Whirling Dervishes. These are a group of
Sufi Muslims who wear colourful robes and stamp their feet and dance to the beat of the drums until they go into a trance. You cannot afford to miss the spectacle which also doubles as a nice cultural treat. Finally top off your visit with a necessary stop at the historical Khalifa House Museum. Established in 1928, the museum houses and contains antiquities of the Mahdist period, and is rightly located next to the Mahdi’s tomb.
In Omdurman, roasted and stewed meat is widely eaten. Camel meat and its spiced uncooked liver are considered delicious delicacies to majority of the Sudanese people. Like in many places in Sudan, one of the most popular delicacies includes kissra. Kissra is a special type of bread made out of durra or corn; it is usually eaten with stew. These stews are normally made out of dried meat, spices, peanut butter and dried onions. An example of stew includes Miris, which is made out of sheep’s fat, onions and dried okra. For drinks, the strong Sudanese coffee is served in a jebena, which is a special tin or jug used to serve the coffee. The coffee rather than being sweetened with sugar, the Sudanese people prefer to use spices such as ginger or cinnamon. In Omdurman, there aren’t many restaurants; so if you fancy a nice meal you can drive down to Khartoum or use one of the bus routes. At Khartoum there are a variety of restaurants to choose from.