Khalifa House Museum

The Khalifa House Museum is an ethnographic museum, located opposite the Mahdi’s tomb in the city of Omdurman in Sudan.[1] It was the residence of the successor of the Mahdi, Kalifa Abdallahi ibn Muhammad and the headquarters of the administration of the Mahdi State. The House was transferred to a museum in 1928.

Khalifa House Museum
In the foreground: Cupula of the original Mahdi's Tomb. In the background: The new Mahdi's Tomb.
Situation of the Khalifa House Museum
LocationOmdurman,  Sudan
Coordinates15.383°N 32.290°E / 15.383; 32.290
TypeEthnographical collection covering the Mahdiyah rule

The house

The Khalifa House is a low, two-storied building with a series of linked courtyards. The ground floor was built in 1888 and the upper floor in 1891. Its traditional mud-brick structure is of great historical importance, since it exhibits the style and architecture prevailing at the period.

The museum

The Khalifa House Museum contains artefacts covering the Mahdiyah rule during the last two decades of the nineteenth century such as suits of mail,[2] Mahdist coins, flimsy banknotes issued by Gordon during the Siege of Khartoum, swords and personal belongings of the Kalifa. Some rooms are dedicated to the Battle of Omdurman showcasing rifles, banners, spears and robes obtained from the battle field. Included within this are photos of Khartoum during this time and its subsequent occupation by the British.

The courtyards house several interesting items such as the cupola saved from the ruins of the original Mahdi's Tomb and also the first car in Sudan, an Arrol-Johnston motor tractor.


  1. Official information board hanging on the Khalifa House
  2. The making of mail at Omdurman, in: Kush. Journal of the Sudan Antiquities Service, vol.IV 1956 pp.83-84

See also

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