Egyptian architecture


Egyptian architecture
Houses, palaces, temples, tombs, and other buildings of ancient Egypt.

Most Egyptian towns were situated on the floodplain of the Nile and have been lost, but religious structures built on higher ground have survived in many forms. Tomb architecture was often grandiose. The tomb was not simply a place to lay a corpse, but the home of the deceased, provided with goods to ensure continued existence after death. Wood and bricks made of mud were the standard domestic building materials, but, from the Old Kingdom (с 2575–с 2130 BC) on, stone was used for tombs and temples. Egyptian masons used stone to reproduce the forms of wood and brick buildings. Mastabas and step pyramids were used for tomb superstructures, but the most characteristic form of the Old Kingdom was the true pyramid. The finest example is the monumental Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) at Giza. Simple chapel rooms with stelae (see stele) for burying commoners were located some distance from the royal burial compounds. In the New Kingdom (1539–1075 BC), royal tombs were cut into the face of cliffs to discourage looting; elaborate complexes of tombs and mortuary temples were built in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes. Two principal types of temple can be distinguished: cult temples for worship of the gods and funerary, or mortuary, temples. Most notable were the great stone cult temples; imposing remains can be seen at Luxor, Karnak, Abydos, and Abu Simbel.

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