Taharqa is probably one of the most famous rulers of Napatan Kush, reigning from 690 to 664 B.C. At 16, this great Nubian king led his armies against the invading Assyrians in defense of his ally, Israel. This action earned him a place in the Bible (Isaiah 37:9, 2 Kings 19:9).
During his 25-year rule, Taharqa controlled the largest empire in ancient Africa. His power was equaled only by the Assyrians. These two forces were in constant conflict, but despite continuous warfare, Taharqa was able to initiate a building program throughout his empire, which was overwhelming in scope. The number and majesty of his building projects were legendary, with the greatest being the temple at Gebel Barkal in the Sudan. The temple was carved from rock and decorated with images of Taharqa over 100 feet high.