The cathedral was probably the seat of the archbishop.
Polish archaeologists working in Dongol, Sudan have discovered the ruins of the largest medieval church in Nubia. According to researchers, this building could have been the residence of the archbishop, who ruled about a thousand kilometers along the Nile, between the first and fifth rapids, according to zn.ua.
Dongola was the capital of Macuria, one of the three Christian Nubian kingdoms. The Archbishop of Dongola led the bishop of Faras. Polish archaeologists have been working here since 1964.
According to the researchers, the new discovery is changing the perception of the city. In 2021, they managed to clear the apse wall along with the adjoining wall and the nearby dome of a large tomb. The walls of the apse were decorated with murals depicting two monumental figures, the largest of its kind found in Nubia. Its diameter is six meters.
“If our estimates, based on known dimensions, are confirmed, this is the largest church discovered so far in Nubia. Size is important, but so is the location of the building in the heart of the city. A large domed building was added to the east of the apse. We have a great analogy for such an architectural complex: Faras. There, the cathedral also stood in the center of the citadel, and to the east of it was the domed tomb of John, Bishop Faras, “said the head of the research team, Artur Oblusky.
Scholars believe that the large church in Dongol served as a cathedral, next to which a tomb was erected, probably a bishop. The building itself has influenced the religious architecture of Nubia for several centuries.
The newly discovered building stands in the center of the citadel, surrounded by a wall about 10 meters high and 5 meters thick. Excavations showed that it was the heart of the entire kingdom, since all the structures discovered there were of a monumental character: churches, a palace and large villas belonging to the church and state elite.