Jebel Barkal

Jebel Barkal

Travel to Jebel Barkal – The Holy Mountain

Just 2 km to the south of Karima in Northern Sudan is Jebel Barkal, a sacred hill for the Egyptians of XVIII Dynasty. A distinct landmark in the Nubian desert, the 100m high mountain can be seen from several kilometres away.

At the foot of this wonderful isolated red sandstone mountain, considered holy since ancient times, there is a large temple dedicated to the Pharaohs of the New Reign and to their patron, Amun. Here, the Temple of Amun is second only in length to Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt.

Amun’s ancient “Pure Mountain”, the Olympus of the Nubians, was the religious Nubian heart for more than 1000 years. In the time of the Cush, two places along the Nile competed on being the capital – Meroe in the south and Napata in the north.

Beside the ruins of the big temple there are still several sculptured granite rams that were said to border a long avenue that probably led to a pier on the Nile. In the mountain wall there is a large room decorated with bas-reliefs. Just west of the temple is the Royal Necropolis of the ancient city of Napata, the Nubian capital (from 800 to 400 AD). Here magnificent pyramids stand in a similar style to those at Meroe.

A popular activity here is to walk and scramble to the top of Jebel Barkal for magnificent views over the Nile Valley, Karima town, Nubian desert and possibly (if you time it right) – sunset. Many locals from nearby Karima make the walk which takes anything between 15 to 30 minutes depending on fitness levels – local boys acting as guides will show you the way.

Find a quiet spot on the top of Jebel Barkal and enjoy breathtaking views over the Nile (a pair of binoculars will be more than useful).

The whole site around Jebel Barkal can easily be explored on foot. A good half day should be allowed for a thorough appreciation of the temple complex, pyramids and mountain.

  • Ascend Jebel Barkal for breathtaking views of Sudan’s River Nile
  • Explore the Temple of Amun with its sculptured granite rams
  • Wander through the pyramid complex of the Royal Necropolis of Napata


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