"A World Heritage Site" Barkal by uglyscot

Barkal Travel Guide: 15 reviews and 79 photos

the Sacred Mountain

Jebel Barkal is a table-topped mountain with an unusual pinnacle ,standing in a flat plain. It lies in the wide bend of the river Nile near the towns of Karima and Merowe. It is made of sandstone and stands about 98 m high. It was a spiritual centre of Ancient Egyptians and the Meroitic kingdom for about a thousand years.
The Ancient Egyptians believed it to be the main residence for the God Amun, who decided who should be ruler, and advised on matters of state, like whether to make war or peace.
On this site were 13 temples and two palaces according to some archaeologists. These include the Great Temple of Amun and the Royal cemetery. Both Ramses the Second and Tuthmosis III made Jebel Barkal the southernmost limit to their kingdom.
Although both kingdoms worshipped Amun , each portrayed him in a different way: to the Egyptians he was a man with a tall feathered crown, or mummiform with erect phallus, but at Barkal he is a man with a ram's head.

The temple of Mut has the figure of Taharqa, a Nubian ruler of Egypt and two standing pillars in the shape of a sistrum, with a woman's face and cow's ears. The inner sanctuary is cut into the mountain.


As well as Jebel Barkal and its pyramids, the World Heritage locations under the Barkal site include Nuri and El-Kurru, both within reasonable distance, especially now that there is a good network of tarmac roads.
The site at Nuri is visible from the road, but cnce there, it is difficult to get close to some of the pyramids as the sand dunes are steep.
In recent years a mummy was stolen from the site, but the thief was apprehended, by the security.We were taken by a guide behind the pyramids where there is a hollow surrounded by stones from whence the mummy was taken.
At Nuri there were once about 80 pyramids, but only 20 are now standing.The tombs themselves were under ground and then topped with pyramidal structures. 52 queens and princes, and 21 kings were buried here, including Taharqa, whose pyramid was the oldest and biggest. The pyramids, now very much broken down, seem to have been built on a pink sandstone base, now covered by sand. [see Nuri page]
In recent years a mummy was stolen from the site, but the thief was apprehended, by the security.

I now have a separate Nuri page.

El- Kurru

To get to El-Kurru was more difficult than the other sites. Find the village of El -Kurru and head inside until you reach an enclosed area. In the centre is a heap of collapsed material that was once a fair sized pyramid. Little is really recognisable without guidance. The only man we found who had the key to a locked tomb was knowledgeable about it though. Before the British left, the tomb has been covered to prevent it from rain or flood damage by an elongated mud-brick cover. A second tomb, belonging to Tanwetamani's mother Qaltasha , is not covered but also has equally good wall paintings, I believe . It was deemed too dirty for me to enter.. Husband suspects it is being used as a public toilet. However the tomb of Tanwetamani, the nephew and successor of King Taharqa, can be entered, although with some difficulty. {see El-Kuru page}

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:interesting history
  • Cons:much neglected
  • In a nutshell:a magical site much overlooked so far.
  • Last visit to Barkal: Mar 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (10)

Comments (9)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    May 25, 2010 at 4:24 AM

    How are you Shane? This is an interesting place, the Pyramids look quite good in the photo's. I do hope they look after them, and try to stop people climbing them.

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    May 19, 2009 at 10:36 PM

    Shane-a really interesting description of these amazing ancient wonders. I had never heard of them before, but will do a google search for more info. Great pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  • Feb 22, 2009 at 3:05 AM

    Hi All the information about the rest house are correct , but not the price. it is 500 SDG per room per night for two person with Dinner and Breakfast included. and not per person.

  • evaanna's Profile Photo
    Dec 30, 2008 at 7:32 AM

    What an amazing site! It's a pity getting to some parts of it seems to be difficult. I think there should be a guard there preventing people from climbing the pyramids. That hotel does sound expensive. Nice updates.

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Nov 28, 2008 at 2:09 PM

    Interesting page on this little known location !

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Jul 17, 2008 at 3:14 PM

    Definitely worth viewing the pyramids, etc., from the outside and they appear to be somewhat different from those in Egypt. Nice descriptions and history!

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Jun 18, 2008 at 4:37 AM

    nice page!

  • RoyJava's Profile Photo
    Mar 29, 2008 at 12:30 AM

    Hello Shane,... just cybered into your Sudan... amazing, will soon check all of it, looks amazing! Have nice weekend, greets RoyJava

  • sachara's Profile Photo
    Mar 7, 2008 at 1:06 PM

    Shane, thanks for showing this interesting place ! I enjoyed it !


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