"Jebal Barkal near Meroe" Barkal by yurxlnc

Barkal Travel Guide: 15 reviews and 79 photos

A special mountain

Jebel Barkal [or Gebel Barkal ] is a small mountain located some 400 km north of Khartoum, in Sudan, on a large bend of the Nile River, in the region called Nubia. Around 1450 BC, the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III extended his empire to that region and considered Gebel Barkal its southern limit. There, he founded the city of Napata that, about 300 years later, became the capital of the independent kingdom of Kush.

The mountain is 98 m tall, has a flat top, and apparently was used as a landmark by the traders in the important route between central Africa, Arabia, and Egypt, as the point where it was easier to cross the great river.

The Ancient Egyptians gave special significance to the mountain as from the side there appeared to be the royal uraeus. They had a temple erected to the important god Amun-Ra, and it became a place of pilgrimage.
Nowadays the remains of several temples can be observed.

The ruins around Gebel Barkal include at least 13 temples and 3 palaces, that were for the first described by European explorers in the 1820’s, although archeological excavations were started in 1916 by George A. Reisner under a joint expedition of Harvard University and the Museum of Fine Arts of Boston. From the 1970’s, explorations continued by a team from the University of Rome La Sapienza and that was joined by another team from the Boston Museum, in the 1980’s, under the direction of Timothy Kendall. .

The larger temples, such that of Amon, are even today considered sacred to the local population. The mountain, together with the historical cities of Meroe and Napata, were considered by UNESCO, in 2003, to be World Heritage Sites.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:a mysterious mountain
  • Cons:in poor condition
  • Last visit to Barkal: Dec 1988
  • Intro Updated Feb 23, 2008
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