Atbara, Sudan

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Atbara, Sudan

Region: Atbara is located in the River Nile state


Geographic Coordinates: 17.697200, 33.978300
Temperature Range: 20.0°C to 45.0°C (68°F to 113°F)
Climate: Dry and hot climate with occasional rainfall during the summer months.
Population: 139768
Language: Arabic

Atbara is a city located in northern Sudan, At the confluence of the Atbara River and the Nile. The city serves as a crucial transportation hub connecting northern and central Sudan to Khartoum, The capital city. The population of Atbara is approximately 150, 000 people who are predominantly Muslim. Atbara has a rich history dating back to ancient times when it was an important trading center between Egypt and Ethiopia. The name Atbara means the meeting point in Arabic, Reflecting its significance as a place where different cultures and trade routes converged.

During colonial times, Atbara played an essential role in the British conquest of Sudan due to its proximity to Port Sudan on the Red Sea. The economy of Atbara is primarily based on agriculture with cotton being one of its major crops. Additionally, There are several industrial factories including sugar refineries, Textile mills, And cement plants which provide employment opportunities for locals. In recent years there has been an increase in foreign investment particularly from China which has led to further development and growth in the region.

One notable landmark in Atbara is the railway station built during British colonial rule in 1906. It’s considered one of the best-preserved examples of colonial architecture with its red-brick facade and arched windows. The railway line connects Khartoum with Port Sudan via Atbara making it an important transportation link for both passengers and goods. Jebel Marra National Park located about 100 kilometers southwest of Atbara is another attraction worth visiting while exploring this bustling city.

It covers over 8, 000 square kilometers with diverse landscapes including mountains, Valleys and forests providing habitat for various wildlife species such as elephants, Leopards and hyenas. In terms of culture, Several annual festivals take place in Atbara including Eid al-Fitr celebrated by Muslims worldwide marking the end Ramadan fasting period; And also cultural festival showcasing local music dance traditional Sudanese cuisine. Overall, Atbara is a bustling city with a rich history and diverse culture. Its strategic location has made it an important transportation hub connecting northern and central Sudan to Khartoum.

With its growing industrial sector, Natural attractions such as Jebel Marra National Park and cultural festivals, Atbara is definitely worth exploring for anyone visiting Sudan.



Important Landmarks

  1. Atbara is a city in northeastern Sudan that is famous for its railway station and its role as a transportation hub between Khartoum and Port Sudan.
  2. Visitors to Atbara can explore many landmarks and tourist attractions, such as:
    • The historic Atbara Railway Station, which was built during the British colonial era in 1906.
    • The Atbara Museum, which showcases different aspects of the city’s history, including its railway heritage, ancient artifacts, traditional crafts, and local culture.
    • Al-Khandaq Bridge (also known as The Iron Bridge), which was built by the British in 1907 to connect Khartoum with Port Sudan through Atbara.
    • The Nile River, which runs through Atbara and offers scenic views of the surrounding landscape.
    • Jebel Marra Mountains, which are not located within Atbara itself but are a popular destination for hiking enthusiasts who want to explore Sudan’s natural beauty.
    • Souq Al-Ataba, which is another must-visit spot for tourists looking to experience local culture. This bustling market has vendors selling everything from textiles to spices to electronics.
    • Khashm El Girba Dam, which provides irrigation water for agriculture in surrounding areas while also generating hydroelectric power for nearby towns and cities.
    • Wadi Abu Dom Archaeological Site, which contains several ancient ruins dating back to prehistoric times that offer insights into early human civilization.
  3. Visitors should note that some landmarks may be closed or have limited access due to COVID-19 restrictions or other factors; it is best to check with local authorities or travel agencies before planning a trip.

Primary Industries

  1. Agriculture: The city’s location in the Nile River valley makes it an ideal spot for agriculture, with crops such as cotton, sesame, sorghum, wheat, and others being produced.
  2. Textile industry: Atbara has a thriving textile industry that produces cotton fabrics and garments.
  3. Cement industry: One of Sudan’s largest cement factories is located in Atbara.
  4. Railway transport: The city has a railway station that connects it to other major cities in Sudan.
  5. Food processing: Several food processing companies are situated in Atbara that produce packaged foods and beverages.
  6. Construction: With the growth of the population and economy comes an increased demand for construction services.
  7. Retail trade: Many small retail shops offer goods ranging from basic necessities to luxury items like electronics and appliances.
  8. Service sector businesses include banking services, healthcare facilities like hospitals and clinics as well as educational institutions such as schools and universities alongside hospitality services like hotels restaurants etc..

Noteable History

  1. The Battle of Atbara took place in 1898 between the British Empire and Mahdist Sudanese forces during the Mahdist War. General Herbert Kitchener led the British army to victory over Osman Digna’s Sudanese forces.
  2. Atbara had a railway station built in 1897 as part of a project connecting Khartoum with Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast, which played a crucial role in transporting troops and supplies during both World War I and II.
  3. General Charles Gordon was killed during the Siege of Khartoum by Mahdist forces led by Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi in 1885, prompting a relief expedition from Cairo that passed through Atbara en route to Khartoum.
  4. Mohamed Awad El Siddig is a prominent Sudanese politician who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs twice, born in Atbara in 1949.
  5. Abdelrahman Swar al-Dahab was born in Atbara in 1930 and became president of Sudan after leading a military coup against President Jaafar Nimeiry’s government following widespread protests against it.
  6. Osman Digna was an early leader of the Mahdist movement who commanded some of its forces against British troops at the Battle of Atbara.
  7. Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi is an Iraqi politician who has been Prime Minister since March 2020, born in Atbara back on 1954.
  8. Ahmed Ibrahim Lawi is a footballer from Sudan who played for several clubs including Al-Hilal and Al-Merreikh, also being part of his national team – he was born on Atbara back on 1947.
  9. Khalid Hassan Abbas is another famous person from this city – he’s known for being a writer/journalist focused on topics related to politics, culture & society; he was born in Atbara in 1956.
  10. Abdullah Ali al-Zain is a well-known Sudanese artist whose paintings depict life in rural areas of the country, born in Atbara back on 1962.

Museums and Things To See

  • Atbara Railway Museum
  • Atbara Cultural Center
  • Al-Mahdi Mosque
  • Views of the Nile River
  • Wadi Abu Dom Archaeological Site
  • Khatmiyya Sufi Shrine
  • Al-Qadarif Dam



  • Cultural Events

    • My database does not contain any information on cultural events and festivals in Atbara, Sudan.
    • However, there are several popular cultural events and festivals that occur throughout Sudan. These include:
      1. Eid al-Fitr, which is a significant Muslim festival celebrated at the end of Ramadan
      2. Independence Day, which commemorates Sudan’s independence from British colonial rule on January 1st
      3. Moulid al-Nabi, a celebration of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday that involves processions and feasting
      4. Sufi Festivals held annually by Sufi orders across Sudan to celebrate their spiritual heritage
      5. The Khartoum International Book Fair taking place in Khartoum each year and bringing together publishers, authors, and readers from across Africa
      6. The Nuba Wrestling Festival – a traditional wrestling tournament held among the Nuba people in Southern Kordofan state
    • It is important to note that specific cultural events or festivals may change over time due to political or social factors.
    • Therefore it is recommended to check with local authorities or travel agencies for up-to-date information about such occurrences in Atbara or other parts of Sudan.

    • Cuisine

      • Ful Medames: A dish made from fava beans that are cooked and mashed with spices, served with bread.
      • Kebda: Grilled liver, usually served with bread or rice.
      • Shahan Ful: A stew made from fava beans, tomato sauce, onion and spices.
      • Kisra: A type of flatbread made from sorghum flour.
      • Bamia: Okra stew usually cooked with meat or chicken.

      Some popular restaurants in Atbara where you can try these dishes are:

      1. Al-Tayeb Restaurant
      2. Al-Quds Restaurant
      3. Al-Rawabi Restaurant
      4. Kinanah Restaurant
      5. Al-Mohandis Restaurant

      These restaurants serve authentic Sudanese cuisine and are highly recommended by locals and tourists alike for their delicious food and hospitable service.


      Parks and Recreation

      1. Al-Mawasi Park: A public park located in the center of Atbara with green spaces and playgrounds for children.
      2. Al-Hashimiya Park: Another public park with a large open space for picnics and sports.
      3. Nile River: The Nile River runs through Atbara, offering opportunities for fishing and boating.
      4. Sports Complex: The city has a sports complex that includes facilities for soccer, basketball, volleyball, and tennis.
      5. Horse Riding: Horse riding is a popular activity in Atbara with several stables offering guided tours around the city’s outskirts.

      Please note that due to Covid-19 restrictions or other reasons these places may be closed temporarily or permanently now.


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