Amani Shikhitu, the Queen of Gold

By: Ahmed Alhaj (Site Admin)



KHARTOUM, (SUDANOW)- Possessing 18-camel load of gold and jewels, Queen Amani Shikhitu was the most renowned Nubian Queen that used to adorn herself and sit on a gold throne to rule over her kingdom powerfully and sternly.

In the front of the exhibition accompanying,the 12th Arab Mining Conference here last week, a girl sat to mimic and embodies the Queen Amani Shikhitu adorn herself with gold. perhaps to introduce the richness of ancient Sudan with gold, and perhaps to show the skills of  ancient Sudanese in gold mining and using it

Archeology and Tourism Authority Tourist guide Muawya Osman al-Awad, of the Begrawiyah archeological city, sways Amani Shikhitu was the most famous Sudanese queen throughout history. He descended from a Nubian family and was the wife of Tehraqa who ruled both the Sudan and Egypt. Other sources say she was the wife of Ekenedat.

Awad said Queen Amani ruled over the Sudan’s ancient kingdom of Merowe that was founded after the 25th dynasty, more specifically in the third century BC. Its capital was Merowe in which several important industries, such as mining, were built.  


 Merowe was a rich and flourishing kingdom due to the iron and gold industries and trade with India and China. Mining workers from various parts of the world were working in Merowe.

Queen Amani ruled from late BC (before Christ) to early AD (Anno Domino). She was nick-named the Kandakah, a title for the Nubian queen. Her rule was up to north Egypt, succeeding Queen Amani Renas who a source says she was her mother.  

Her biography in the funeral room inside the pyramid explains her daily life and activities. She lived a luxurious way of life, like other kings and queens.

It is reported that Queen Amani was in possession of a tremendous fortune of gold and jewelry of which not a single piece now exists in Sudan. An Italian doctor called Joseph Friliny who accompanied Mohamed Ali Pasha campaign to the Sudan in 1838, was reported to have taken away all this gold and jewelry wealth which was estimated to weigh a load of 18 camels. The Italian doctor was reported to have undermined the Queen’s pyramid with a mangonel and taken away all her gold and jewelry belongings which are now in Munich and Berlin museums. There is a statue for Queen Amani in the Sudan National Museum in Khartoum and another statue in Wad Bannaga area, north Sudan.

Her palace still exists in Begrawiyah which was the religious capital of ancient Merowe Kingdom.

The Begrawiyah tourist guide says that despite her luxurious way pf life, Queen Amani was famous for her power and during her rule, the kingdom reached the peak of its boom and growth and she imposed full control of the entire kingdom (as depicted in the drawing engraved in the forefront of her pyramid, seen dragging prisoners of war with chains).


Queen Amani’s grave is in the northern royal graveyard in the Begrawiyah which is 213 km north of Khartoum. She was succeeded by her sister Amani Terry and her husband Netkamani.

Local narrators say Amani Shikhitu was the most powerful of the queen of Merowe (Shanadakht, Amani Renas- Amani Terry). They add that she was a Nubian queen (equal to a thousand men), she was of great influence and used to drag prisoners of war with chains.

The local narrators say they were told that she was bulky and grandeur and she always carried a royal hose with her name engrave in the Merowe language and closely attended to her beauty as is manifested in the drawing in the pyramid’s funeral room.

The story-tellers say that when the Italian doctor destroyed the pyramid with Mangonel, there appeared a great lump covered with smooth silk and beneath it was a four-sided bed similar to a platform or a casket made of wood. Pieces of glittering glass, golden ornaments, small statues and precious stones were scattered on the floor of the room.



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