Decay and the city – Khartoum
Last weekend I went to an exhibit at Hanoi’s Goethe Institute – ‘The city – Becoming and Decaying’ – with 176 photographs displayed from cities around the world from the German photographer agency – OSTKREUZ. It showed scenes of decline, abandonment, damage from war but also the growth of new cities. It was a striking exhibit with some great photographs, but it made me think about Khartoum, a city not featured in the exhibit, where I lived for three years.
Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, located at the confluence of the Blue and While Niles still has a sleepy and dusty air to it with many of the buildings having changed little since Independence in 1956. While there are a smattering of new buildings which seem to look to Dubai for their inspiration, unfortunately, there seems to be very little desire to restore old buildings, so many remain crumbling away. Due to the climate, incredibly hot and dry, it is more a process of desiccation rather than decay. Despite appearances many of the buildings are still in use whether it be the racecourse, the sailing club, old cinemas, or Khartoum University. Photography is frustratingly very difficult as one needs a permit and even then one is liable to be stopped by police (as happened to me as an overzealous new arrival in my first week). As a result, I never managed to photograph, many of the beautiful Condominium era municipal buildings, particularly in downtown Khartoum near the presidential palace. Below are some snapshots from around Khartoum and also, further along the Nile, the ancient Nubian sites which collapsed more than 1,000 years ago.
Do you have any photos more photos of Khartoum or other cities which had their heyday in the past?