In a desert in eastern Sudan, along the banks of the Nile River, lies a collection of nearly 200 ancient pyramids - many of them tombs of the kings and queens of the Meroitic Kingdom which ruled the area for more than 900 years. The Meroë pyramids, smaller than their Egyptian cousins, are considered Nubian pyramids, with narrow bases and steep angles on the sides, built between 2,700 and 2,300 years ago, with decorative elements from the cultures of Pharaonic Egypt, Greece and Rome. Though the pyramids are one of the main attractions for Sudan's tourists, the local tourism industry has been devastated by a series of economic sanctions imposed over the country's civil war and the conflict in Darfur. According to reports, Sudan now receives fewer than 15,000 tourists per year, compared to past projections of as many as 150,000. [16 photos total]

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1
One of the many pyramids of Meroë, photographed in al-Bagrawiya, 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Khartoum, Sudan, in September of 2012. Original image found here. (CC BY-SA Joe Pyrek) #
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A tour guide walks his camel as he waits for tourists at the historic Meroë pyramids on April 16, 2015. (Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP) #
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A view of the historic Meroë pyramids site, in al-Bagrawiya, Sudan, on April 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy) #
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A view of stone rams at Amun Temple in Naga, near the Meroë pyramids, south of the ancient city of Meroë, Sudan, on March 10, 2012. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters) #
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A picture taken on March 1, 2014 shows some of the pyramids in the Meroë desert north of Khartoum. (Ian Timbarlake/AFP/Getty Images) #
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A view of the historic Meroë pyramids in al-Bagrawiya, Sudan, on April 16, 2015. (Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP) #
7
A view of Hathor Chapel, as a tourist looks at the Lion Temple, in Naga and al-Musawwarat, south of the ancient city of Meroë, in the River Nile state of Sudan on March 10, 2012. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters) #
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Hieroglyphics are pictured inside a room at the historic Meroë pyramids, a sign of the influence of ancient Egyptian civilization on the Sudanese Meroite kingdom, on April 16, 2015. (Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP) #
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A picture taken on March 1, 2014 shows pyramids in the Meroë desert, north of Khartoum. (Ian Timbarlake/AFP/Getty Images) #
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A view of one of the historic Meroë pyramids in al-Bagrawiya, Sudan, on April 16, 2015. (Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP) #
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Tourists visit the Meroë pyramids in al-Bagrawiya on April 16, 2015. (Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP) #
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A Sudanese girl runs inside Hathor Chapel in Meroë, on March 10, 2012. (Abd Raouf/AP) #
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A tourist explores the "Lion Temple" in al-Musawwarat, south of the ancient city of Meroë, on March 10, 2012. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters) #
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Tourists explore pyramids of kings and queens in the ruins of the ancient city of Meroë, next to Begrawiya, on March 10, 2012. (Reuters/ Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah) #
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Some of Sudan's pyramids of the Meroitic kings and queens, in Meroë on March 10, 2012. (Abd Raouf/AP) #
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A view of the landscape surrounding the pyramids of Meroë, photographed in February of 2010. Original image here. (CC BY Wikimedia/TrackHD) #

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