Pronounced/ njubia, it is the name given to the region to the south of Egypt, of the town of Dabba, near the Fourth cataract, along the Nile and in what is now the northern Sudan. Most of Nubia is situated in Sudan with about a quarter of its territory in Egypt. In ancient times it was an independent kingdom. The name Nubia is first mentioned in Strabo's Geographica; the Greek author is believed to have visited Egypt c. 29 BC.
Nubia is located in today's southern Egypt and northern Sudan. The modern inhabitants of southern Egypt and Sudan still refer to themselves as Nubians. They speak the Nubian language as well as Arabic. Thousands of Nubians from the north were forced to relocate from their endangered homelands to be resettled in Egypt and Sudan. This relocation in the 1960's was because of the construction of a dam in Aswan, Egypt.
This dam created a 500 mile long lake which permanently flooded ancient temples and tombs as well as hundreds of modern villages in Nubia. While the dam was under construction, hundreds of archaeologists worked in Egypt and Sudan to excavate as many ancient sites as possible. The Oriental Institute worked in Nubia from 1960 until 68. Today, the 5000 Nubian objects in the collection of The Oriental Institute Museum and thousands of objects in other museums are our sole resource for recovering the rich civilization of northern Nubia, for the sites themselves now lie beneath the waters of Lake Nasser. In contrast, expeditions from many countries are working in southern Nubia.
The land of Nubia is a desert divided by the river Nile. For want of water and rich soil, most of Nubia has never been able to support a large population for long periods. However, some of Africa's greatest civilizations emerged here, centers of achievement whose existence was based on industry and trade. Because they did not write their own languages until very late in ancient times, we know these centers and their people largely through their archaeology and what the Egyptians and Greeks said about them.
To the ancient Mediterranean world, the land south of Egypt was a territory of mystery and legend. Wealth and exotic products came from there. In antiquity, Nubia was a land of great natural wealth, of gold mines, ebony, ivory and incense which was always prized by her neighbors.
Nubia is the homeland of Africa's earliest black culture with a history which can be traced from 3100 BC onward through Nubian monuments and artifacts, as well as written records from Egypt and Rome.
This land is one of enormous distances, and its exploration was long impeded by problems of transport and political unrest. In the last hundred years, Nubia has slowly yielded its secrets, its vanished peoples, abandoned cities and lost kingdoms brought to light by the excavator and analysis of inscriptions.
The Ancient Nubian
A Nubian has been always renowned for his sheer honesty. He is an artist by nature and his lucky number was always seven. He holds the nine as a sacred object and wishes to stay on the Nile bank throughout his life.
The Nubian languages:
- FIADIDJA-MAHAS, which is widely spoken in the Sudan and in Egypt it is spoken by all Nubian to the Kunuz areas in the north.
- KENUZI-DONGOLA and it is used by people of Dongola of Sudan and Kunuz of Egypt.