Omdurman (ŏmdərmänˈ) [key], Arab. Umm Durman, city (1993 pop. 1,271,403), E central Sudan, on the White Nile opposite Khartoum. It is the largest city and chief commercial center of Sudan and part of a tricity metropolitan area (with Khartoum and Khartoum North) that forms the country's industrial and cultural heart. Industries include leather tanning and furniture and pottery making.
In 1884 the Mahdi Muhammad Ahmad made his military headquarters at the village of Omdurman. After the Mahdist forces destroyed Khartoum (1885), the Mahdi's successor, Khalifa Addallah, made Omdurman his capital, and the city grew rapidly as the site of the Mahdi's tomb. The battle of Karari, which took place (1898) near Omdurman, marked the defeat of the Mahdist state in Sudan by the Anglo-Egyptian army of Lord Kitchener. Although most of the city was destroyed after the battle, the Mahdi's tomb has been restored and embellished. The Khalifa's former residence is now a museum.
See P. Ziegler, Omdurman (1974).