Jebel Barkal


Jebel Barkal, the tabletopped mountain hanging on the town's south side, was sacred ground for the Egyptians at the time of the 18th-dynasty pharaohs. At the base of the mountain are some well preserved pyramids and the Temple of Amun. Buried into the belly of the mountain, and immediately below the needle of rock, is the fresco-decorated Temple of Mut (US$10), dedicated to the Egyptian sky goddess. Close to the Temple of Amun there's a small museum containing finds from around Jebel Barkal.

Both the Egyptians and the Kushites believed that the mountain was home to the god Amun and if you look closely (and with a little imagination!) at the needle of rock sticking out of the mountain's southern side, you can make out the shape of a cobra wearing a crown; the symbol of the king.

To enjoy a panoramic view of the site and the city, you can hike to the top of the mountain. It takes about 20 minutes.