People have been fighting over Suakin since ancient times. Its natural
harbor made it a valuable port in the western Red Sea.
Today, only a few people, mostly caretakers, live in Old Suakin. A few
buildings in an advanced state of disrepair remain standing, and several
structures are undergoing restoration. Suakin looks like an earthquake
happened only yesterday reducing most of the walls and buildings to a pile
Ancient cannons guard the gates at the entrance to town, and other canons
remain strategically placed in front of former government buildings. It's
fun to explore the ruins of Suakin, and as long as you don't use a video
camera, the caretakers let you roam at will.
Small canons like these are strategically placed around the perimeter of
Suakin. At one time this cannon could be moved around on wheels, but
now the wheels are gone.
Several caretakers have residences inside the walls of ancient Suakin.
They can watch over the ruins and participate in restoration projects in
this historical landmark.
The Treasury Building is undergoing slow restoration using traditional
methods of construction. A water carrier is parked next to piles of
sand and lime used in the reconstruction project.
One of the ancient pillars of the Treasury lies
in the water awaiting restoration.
The ravages of time and weather take a toll on the grand mosque of old
Suakin. The walls gradually crumble under the relentless wind and
David stands outside the main entrance to the mosque.
In its interior, the mosque has an elevated station from which the imam can
read the Koran and lead the faithful in their prayers five times a day.
The center of the mosque has a large courtyard, and just outside the
courtyard are chambers and corridors where people can say their prayers.
This is all that remains of a what appears to be a four or five story
Suakin was a major commercial center, and security was
important to the taxing authorities and to people who lived there.
That's why you see so many walls and cannons around the town.
This government building is well endowed with cannons reminding everyone
that the Emir is in charge. Nothing good can come from having an angry
Emir take an interest in your life.
This may not be a weapon of mass destruction, but when they fired this
cannon, people paid attention.
Nothing lasts forever. Every civilization and culture endures for a
time and then disappears into obscurity.
The old ways of doing things pass away, and new ways take over. The
satellite dish in the foreground shows that the media now rules the hearts
and minds of the masses. This picture would be even better if there
was a cannon next to the satellite dish. After all, if you can't
control their hearts and minds with media, you can probably win them over
with the power of intimidation. When push comes to shove, cannons
still rule the earth.