Ancient Egyptian Architecture and Their Spectacular Structures
Today, even after centuries the Egyptian Architecture(3100BC to 900BC) continues to fascinate the construction, geometry, and mysteries of massive structures. Primitive architecture of mud and bundles of reeds changed to a style of stone and granite.
Characteristics and Features
- Mesmerizing Architectural and Engineering Skill
- Massive constructions
- Materials used – Limestone, Mud brick (Mud was collected from the Nile River and sun dried), sandstone, granite.
- Post and Lintel construction
- Load-bearing construction
- Decorations – Wall paintings, carved status from stone, sacred carvings
- Relief sculpture
Other Influences in Egyptian Architecture
Egypt is called the gift of the Nile. It consists of sandy desert with a strip of fertile lands on the banks of river Nile. Even though there were annual floods that were destructive, they have restored fertility to the land leading to the new farming season, for the growing of crops. Egyptian civilization grew on the river Nile.
Egypt of the ancient world had easy access to Northern Sea(Mediterranean Sea) as well as Eastern Sea(Arabian Sea).
Natural materials such as limestone, sandstone, and granite were found abundantly in the northern, central and southern regions respectively. Granite plays a significant role in influencing the Egyptian Architecture. Bricks were also used, but were faced with some harder material.
Egypt was known to have to a warm temperature, and had two seasons – spring and summer.
A close connection between religion and architecture can be seen in ancient Egyptian Architecture, which can be seen in the form of temples as well as tombs. Egyptians were proficient in astronomy, mathematics, and philosophy. They were also strong believers in life after death, hence their care is seen in the form of pyramids.
Social and Political:
A large force of workers were available for employment on public works for the erection of large architectural masterpieces. In addition, there existed a centralized government that was favorable to execute the monumental structures.
Examples of Egyptian Architecture
Tombs and temples were built of stone whereas bricks were used to build palaces and fortresses. The houses were made of mud.
Egyptians buried the dead in huge structures of stone. Mastabas (single-story structures) were built before Pyramids. They were built for kings, courtiers, and their families. In the Mastaba, the body was placed in a sarcophagus and buried underground in a single chamber. Other rooms were built for statues of the deceased and receiving mourners.
The Spectacular Pyramids of Egypt are achievements of victory for the Architecture and geometry that continue to amaze. As per ancient belief, they represent humanity’s widespread striving to reach God and are considered as a stairway to heaven.
Later in 2700BC, they build Pyramids by placing Mastabas one above the other forming step Pyramids. The step form ranges from three to five, each structure a bit smaller than the one below it.
The most famous and massive pyramids were the pyramids of Giza and even today remain the largest structures. They were named for three pharaohs: Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure.
The pyramid of Khufu is the largest of the three covering thirteen square acres. The ground was leveled precisely and the base was a perfect square with four equal sides. The Interior includes several rooms for housing the pharaoh’s body and possessions. The materials used for the construction were local limestone for the structure and red granite inside. A burial chamber was placed inside the middle above the ground or underneath the pyramid, which was accessible by a sloping walkway.
An enormous statue with a human head on top of a lion’s body called the SPHINX crouches near the pyramids of Giza.It is carved out of limestone and stands about 65ft tall. (from Wikipedia).
Temples of Egyptian Architecture
Egyptian architecture also signifies the enormous temples built during those days. Common features of the temples were:
- Constructed using post and lintel system.
- The carved columns adorned with capitals resembled organic forms of papyrus, lotus, and palm.
- The entrances were emphasized with large statues of obelisks on either side.
- Obelisks were carved from a single stone.
- Large courtyard and then hall with massive columns were near the entrance.
The famous ancient temples of Egypt are
The temple is welcomed by 24m high Pylon gateway with statues of pharaohs on either side and a 25m high Granite Obelisk in the center. The pylon gateway leads to the courtyard, processional colonnade, and rest of the temple.
Temple of Karnak
Covering 200 acres, the temple consists of four main Precincts and a few small temples, pylons, sanctuaries, avenues of ram-headed sphinxes.
Temple of Malkata
The complex was considered as a town not just a temple and dwelling of Pharaoh. It was a huge land with apartments, Royal palaces, temples.
Fortresses and Gardens
Secondary walls were built outside the main walls of Fortresses to protect the kingdom from invaders. The walls were built with mud brick and reinforced with timber. Limestone is used to build the structures of Pelusium. Fortresses were also served as port and storehouses.
Temple gardens, private gardens, and vegetable gardens were three types of gardens from ancient Egypt. Temple gardens are seen in a few temples provided with trees and grooves. Private gardens were for the palaces, planted with trees and flowers surrounded by high walls. Vegetable gardens, laid in squares, were privately owned or belonged to the temples.