Meroë mĕr´ōē [key], ancient city in N Sudan, on the east bank of the Nile, N of Khartoum. In the mid-6th cent. BC, Meroë replaced Napata as the central city of the Cushite dynasty (see Cush ) and from 530 BC until AD 350 served as the capital of the dynasty. By the 1st cent. BC, Meroë was a major center for iron smelting. It is believed that knowledge of iron casting was carried (7th–10th cent.) from the middle Nile to the middle Niger by a great African overland route. Among Meroë's extensive ruins are royal palaces (6th cent. BC) and a temple of Amon. Nearby are cemeteries and three groups of pyramids.
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