Suakin Island

The island of Suakin, on the Red Sea in Sudan, was a major trading port for centuries. Ships plied their trade and pilgims traveled from here across to the holy city of Mecca. The early 20th Century saw the opening oif the Suez Canal and the flow of much larger ships sailing between Europe and the East. As Suakin was unable to accommodate these ships a new port, Port Sudan was opened just up the coast, Suakin’s trade dwindled and the once-bustling town was largely abandoned, leaving just a few buildings, as we see in the image below.

Despite this decline, Suakin remains a site of significant cultural importance in Sudan and families across the country retain a strong connection with their old home. The Ottoman connetctions with the port were acknowledged in recent years by the contributions of Turkey’s heritage agency, TIKA, to the resoration of some major building. Virtual Experience Company was commissioned, as part of the Sudan Memory project, to create an interactive reconstruction of Suakin, through which it would be possible for Sudanese people to access the rich archives relating to the cultural heritage of the island. The model is designed to be as accessible as possible, primarily to a Sudanese audience, using mobile phones.

The project was developed in collaboration with Kings College London and was funded by the British Council and the Cultural Protection Fund. The site can be accessed HERE or by scanning this QR code