Western Deffufa

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The "Western Deffufa" is a Nubian mud-brick temple, situated in the ancient Kerma Settlement, in modern day Sudan. The deffufa is a unique structure in Nubian architecture.

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Deffufa, possibly from the ancient Nubian, meaning a mud-brick-building, or possibly from the Arabic word Daffa meaning pile is a type of ancient Kerma Temple.

The Deffufa once functioned as a temple and the religious center of a Nubian city that was founded there around 2500 BCE on what was once an island in the middle of the Nile. Also known as Kerma, it was the earliest urban center in Africa outside Egypt.


circa 2200 BCE

The Western Deffufa is 50 by 25 metres (164 by 82 feet). It is 18 metres (59 feet) tall and comprises three stories. It was surrounded by a boundary wall. Inside were chambers connected by passageways. Inside the Deffufa were columned chambers connected by a complex network of passageways. The walls were lavishly decorated with faience tiles and inlays and gold leaf.

Consisting of multiple levels, an interior staircase leads to a rooftop platform, and a series of subterranean chambers could be accessed via connecting galleries. Evidence of a limestone altar, built for animal sacrifice, was also found. The repeated works of construction and development efforts indicate the centrality of the monument in the town of Kerma; most likely the town's principal temple.


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