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Jebel Barkal

Jebel Barkal, sometimes spelled Gebel Barkal, is a mountain structure that stands alone within the desert of Egypt. It is located roughly 250 miles north of Khartoum in the Sudan. The mountain sits upon the bend of the Nile and is located towards the center of Egypt.

The mountain was used as a territorial marking for the pharaoh Thutmose III around 1450 BC during the 18th Dynasty. It is believed the Pharaoh Thutmose III led this campaign near the structure in an effort to attack Nubia. This campaign was launched when the pharaoh was estimated to be in his fiftieth year as king. Although he had brought his Egyptian army to wage war in this area in order to establish Egyptian footholds, it appears that Egyptian culture had already begun to spread before this hostile effort was begun. Current history indicates that an Egyptian document was found in this area and that it had been circulating three years prior to the arrival of Thutmose III. About 300 years after the commencement of the campaign led by Pharaoh Thutmose III, the site was eventually overtaken by the Kush. This, then become the capital for the new captors. The area was then further developed by the Nubian King Piye who then enlarged the temple of Amun and its surrounding structures. This site functioned as a religious place for both the Kushites and the Ancient Egyptians.

When the site was acquired by Egyptian forces, they deemed the location the birthplace of their Deity Amun. The Egyptians tried to spread their devotion to Amun throughout the region and insisted the mountain was tied to the renewal of life through the Nile’s yearly flooding. It is thought by historians that because the structure stands alone, the Ancient Egyptians perhaps thought the site to be the primordial mound that started life. The Ancient Egyptians most believed that the Deity Amun resided within this mountainous location. This thinking is likely due to the Story of Creation; whereas, it says that in the beginning, the world was covered with water. Thereafter, a mound of earth arose and thus the Gods were born. This included gods such as Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Osiris, Seth, Isis and other gods as well.

The site became the second most important religious complex for the Egyptians. The mountain was once surrounded with temples and monuments dedicated to Amun. Over the years, and due to constant construction, the site is now filled with ruins buried in sand. The structure is thought to hold 13 temples and three palaces. The site’s main attraction are the ruins of the temple dedicated to Amun and a large structure that protrudes from the mountain’s side that looks like a cobra. To the Egyptians, this large structure was believed to represent kingship. The site also housed a large fortress; however, today, almost nothing is left of this particular ancient structure.