Memories in space – an amazing flight over Batn el-Hajar

This month it is already five years since I had the opportunity to fly over the northernmost parts of the Nile Valley in Sudan with the Norwegian Bjarne Giske and his Ukranian pilots in a single propel biplane aircraft.

We were flying from Soleb, the location of the impressive temple of pharaoh Amenhotep III (1390-1352 BCE), to the southernmost extension of Lake Nubia/Lake Nasser, the 500-km long reservoir behind the Aswan High Dam.

The idea for going to this remote part of Sudan was the note “Hidden treasures of Lake Nubia” by D. Welsby in Sudan & Nubia (vol. 8, 2004). In 2002, Welsby discovered that two of the Second Cataract fortresses of the Middle Kingdom were not submerged by the reservoir of the Aswan High Dam, as believed until then.

It was indeed amazing to see the southernmost of the two fortresses, Uronarti, appearing on a small island below us. This mud brick structure has survived since it was built almost 4000 years ago, most probably by Senusret III (1870-1831 BCE).

After circling over Uronarti, we continued a short distance before Shelfak appeared on another small island.


On our way north, we flew over the mountains and wadis (dry riverbeds) of the Nubian Desert on the east bank.

Nubian Desert

On the way back to Soleb, we followed the river at the beginning. We could then see well-known locations from the medieval times. Like the late medieval castle and settlement on the southernmost tip of Kulubnarti.


Just 500 metres further south is the impressive remains of the fortified late medieval settlement at Kulb.


We also saw the great tumuli of the post-meroitic period at Firka and Kosha.

Post-meroitic tumuli at Kosha

This is also where we left the Nile again and crossed over the desert back to Soleb.

Jebel Firka

I therefore missed the chance to see Sai and its antiquities from a bird’s perspective. Nevertheless, it was the most amazing flight.Temple at Soleb

I am grateful to Bjarne and Nadia for giving me this flying experience, and to the people of Hamid for their great hospitality at Soleb.

Hamid at Soleb

This entry is dedicated to the most amazing man on this special day :-*

This entry was posted in archaeology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Memories in space – an amazing flight over Batn el-Hajar

  1. Henrihafsakos says:

    Χρονία πολλα και καλα, αγαπουλα μου :-*

  2. ounoginiri says:

    thank you Henrihafsakos for this amazing trip!!!! :-)

  3. teresa tsakou says:

    Bravo Henriette!

  4. dianabuja says:

    WOW!! wonderful! :-D

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