(SMC) - The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), enlisted the palace of Ali Dinar-the last Sultan of Darfur
as World Heritage Site.
The palace of the Sultan-who had ruled between 1891 and 1916- is located in the city of El Fasher, the capital of the state of North Darfur.
Sultan Ali Dinar, is the most renowned sultan who ruled Darfur. He was Sultan Ali bin Sultan Zachariah bin Sultan Mohamed al-Fadul. He was probably born during 1865-1870 in the village of Shawayah, west of Nyala.
His first public appearance as a lad was in the company of his Uncle Abul Khairat after Zubair Pasha dissolved the Darfur Sultanate following Minwashe battle and annexed it to Egyptian Sudan in 1874 during the reign of Khedive Ismail. The Uncle was killed during the Abu Jumaizah revolution in the vicinity of Zalinge and thus Emir Ali Dinar became the heir who began claiming the Darfur throne from 1890 when he was 25 years old.
He joined the Mahdist Revolution and began spreading its principles during the reign of Khalifa Abdullah al Ta’ayshi and joined his forces.
In September 1898 he returned to El-Fasher retaking the throne of his forefathers.
Gift to Saudi Arabia Holy Sites
Sultan Ali Dinar was pious and used to send an annual load of gifts to the holy shrines in Mecca and Medina for 20 years. The famous wells in Mecca which named “Abar Ali” have been dug by the Sultan to secure water for the pilgrims.
Throughout his reign, Sultan Ali Dinar, who died about a century ago, was known to have an army of followers, make a covering known as the kiswa, for the holy kaaba in Saudi Arabia. The followers would then carry this kiswa all the way to Saudi Arabia.
He also dug wells in the holy sites, known as Aabar Ali-or Ali’s wells- on the outskirts of Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Resisting the British
He resisted the British invasion in defense of the country’s independence until he died as a martyr on November 6, 1916.
The British, in their war against Sultan Ali Dinar, used aircraft for the first time in their wars in Africa south of the Sahara.
The construction of the Palace of Sultan Ali Dinar began in 1912 under the supervision of Turkish Architect Al-Hajj Abdul Raziq who came from Bagdad especially for the purpose of building the Palace. He was assisted in this difficult job by two Egyptian engineers and two Greek carpenters. The foundations of the museum built of solid stones and the walls with thermal bricks and the ceiling from Sahab wood of a Savannah acacia tree supported by red sand, while the doors and windows from Gimbeel which was introduced for the first time in the region by Greek carpenter Thomas.
In 2003 and 2011, UNESCO listed a number of sites in Sudan as part of the World Heritage List, Jebel Barkal and Nubian Sites, as well as archaeological sites on Meroe Island.