Jebel Barkal or Gebel Barkal (Arabic: جبل بركل) 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 25th Dynasty Nubian king Piye later greatly enlarged the New Kingdom Temple of Amun in this city and erected his Year 20 Victory stela within it.
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 only in 1916 archeological excavations were started by George 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, under the direction of Sergio Donadoni, 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.
For these reasons, the mountain, together with the historical city of Napata and other ancient sites, were considered by UNESCO, in 2003, World Heritage Sites.
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.