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Ancient Egyptian Architecture and Spectacular Structures

Today, even after centuries the Egyptian Architecture continues to fascinate the construction, geometry, and mysteries of massive structures.

3100BC to 900BC

Egypt has been called the gift of the 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.

  • Mesmerizing Architectural and Engineering Skill
  • Materials used – Limestone, Mud brick and stone.
  • Mud was collected from the Nile River and sun dried.
  • Decorations – Paintings, carved status from stone, sacred carvings
Ancient Egyptian Architecture, ©Rana Samir

Egyptian Architecture Masterpieces

Tombs and temples were built of stone whereas bricks were used to build palaces and fortresses. The houses were made of mud.

  • Mastabas
  • Pyramids
  • Temples
  • Fortresses
  • Gardens

Mastabas

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.

Pyramids

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.

Egyptian architecture
The Great Pyramid of Giza; Image source – Wikipedia
Image source – lovelyplanet.com

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

Luxor Temple – 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,

Egyptian Architecture
Luxor Temple ; Image source – discovering Egypt.com
Egyptian Architecture
Temple of Karnak ; Image source – britannica.com
Egyptian Architecture
Temple of Malkata ; shaspo.com

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.

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