6 The Pyramids
Another unfinished step pyramid, called " Layers Pyramid", was built to the west of the village Zawiyet el Arian (7 kilometers north of Sakara) by Pharaoh Khaba, who inherited power from Pharaoh Sekhemkhet of the third dynasty.
The Pyramid in Meidum
The Bent Pyramid in Dahshur
In 1999 a series of buildings was found in this site, including several bakeries and copper work facilities. Likewise, a hall of columns, three streets, and a corner of building, which was part of a palace believed to be the residence of an authority figure were found. Animal bones found at the site indicate that the workers often ate meat and fish. Tests made on remains of workers' bones indicate that the workers received professional medical care when their bones were broken. Part of the workers who lived there returned to their homes every day with the end of the workday. Work during this period was indeed obligatory, but contrary to the Scripture and the writings of Josephus Flavius, it was not carried out by slaves.
Image - The mortuary temple of Pharaoh Khufu
SH: S/2 =356:220 =1.618
Image - The golden section of the Khufu's pyramid
78, 400 = 280x280 (square height).
78,320 = 440:2 x356 (area of each side-face).
The discrepancy is probably due to inaccuracy in the calculation of the height of the side face and the height of the pyramid. However, some argue that translations of Herodotus attributed to him things that he did not mean.
The length of the side of the pyramid basis x 4 = 440 x 4 = 1760.
The Pyramid of Khafre
Image - Khafre pyramid complex - ground plan
Another descending corridor known as "the upper corridor" led to this room and was located above the corridor mentioned above. It opened to the highest point on the northern wall of the pyramid and was probably the original entrance to the pyramid, but it reaches a dead end. The continuation of this corridor descends from the entrance hall by stairs leading into another room where six deep niches (four in the eastern side and two in the northern), probably served for holding the objects or canopic jars of the king. From this room, the continuation of the corridor leads to the burial chamber where a basalt sarcophagus was found. Unfortunately, the sarcophagus was lost after the ship, which carried it in 1838, on its way to the British Museum in London sank in the Mediterranean.
Image - The pyramid of Menkaure , side section
On the central axis of the temple were laid out from east to west: a hall, a large rectangular open courtyard, whose inner walls were decorated with niches, limestone paved path, low staircase, loggia with two rows of wooden columns and a long offering hall where probably an altar stood. To the north of the offering hall were 12 storage rooms. To the south of it were five additional storage rooms. Here were found statues of the king with a statue of Hathor and statues of various local goddesses. There are Egyptologists who believe that Pharaoh Pepi II rebuilt the temple as early as the sixth dynasty after it had been damaged mainly by rainwater.
Image - The pyramid of Sahure, ground plan
Pyramids During the New Kingdom
Image - Mud brick pyramid in Deir El Medina
Image - Detail of Meroe pyramid
The government officials built near their regions, at the desert's edge, rock-hewn tombs that served as models for the rock-hewn tombs built during the first interim period of the Middle Kingdom. These graves contained an open courtyard carved into a hill, rows of columns, a chapel and a burial pit.
Image - The tomb of Khnumhotep in Beni Hassan from the 12th dynasty
During the New Kingdom tombs were cut into the hidden limestone rocky necropolis of Thebes, in the west bank of the Nile. Here were buried senior government officials, kings and queens. The burial sites where kings were buried were: the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Monkeys, Valley of the Queens, and Dra Abu el-Naga. The tombs of the officials clustered mostly in the following burial sites: Sheikh Abd El-Qurna, Medinet Habu, Qurnet Murrai, Deir El-Medina, El-Asasif, and El-Khokha.
The rock-cut tombs, where kings, queens and nobles were buried, were adorned with wall paintings and reliefs, featuring the daily life of the dead and the lives of the gods. The tombs were filled with many treasures, including furniture, sculptures, precious jewelry, and boats, which were supposed to accompany the dead to life in the hereafter.
On the walls of the tombs were texts that accompanied the deceased on his way to the underworld. One of the texts was Amduat (literally in ancient Egyptian: that which is) - the story of the journey of the sun god Re from the sunset in the west to sunrise in the east, a jouney joined by pharaoh who became immortal.
Another text was the "Gates book", which describes a passage through 12 gates representing the obstacles that the dead king passes during the 12 hours of his night journey.
An additional text was "The Book of the Heavenly Cow", which seems like a kind of Egyptian version to the biblical flood story, according to which human beings rebelled against God Re. In response he punished them by sending Goddess Hathor to them in the form of an eye (the eye of Re represented by a cobra) that burned them with fire. Eventually, God Re. saved some of them.
Ground plans, spectacular photographs and videos accompanied by explanations of the Kings' burial sites, can be found in the following recommended web site:
The most famous tomb in the Valley of the Kings is the tomb of King Tut-Ankh-Amon (literally in ancient Egyptian: live image of Amon) (tomb KV 62), found almost entirely intact with all its contents. The tomb was discovered in 1922 by the English archaeologist Howard Carter after years of excavations. In this tomb, which provided the greatest amount of treasures in the history of Egypt, one can glimpse into the richness of the ancient Egyptian kings.
Image - Tomb of Tut-Ankh-Amon, ground plan
The Ancient Egyptians were terrified of the world returning to the chaos that preceded creation. To prevent this disaster, it was necessary to please the god. The daily worship, hymns glorifying and praising the god and offerings given to him were intended to ensure continued harmony.
Image - The obelisk of Hatshepsut in Karnak
Pharaohs presented themselves in temples as gods or as suns of gods. Sometimes a description of the birth of the king to a god appeared in the temple. Such a description is found in both the temple of Amon in Luxor and the temple in Deir el Bahri, where the birth of Queen Hatshepsut to God Amon is described. Likewise, in temple Amon-Mut-Khonsu in Luxor was described the birth of Amenhotep III to the same god. Identifying a king with the god was also expressed in presenting him in a statue in the image of that god.
In the per ankh was also a library where treasures of knowledge were collected on papyrus sheets in fields of mathematics, medicine, astronomy, geography, law, interpretation of dreams and more. Perhaps this library served as a model for the largest library in Alexandria.
The mammisi served for holding religious ceremonies, which were intended to ensure the sanctity of the divine pharaoh. Pregnant women would visit the mammisi to seek the god's help.
The temple was built in sandstone. It was about 4.5 meters in height, 13 meters in lengh, and 10 meters in width. Its podium's height was about 3 meters, This podium was surrounded by colonnade so that each side of the temple had seven pillars. On the eastern side was a staircase, carved between two walls and leading to a cella. Later, in Roman times, changes were made in the temple. The spaces between the columns inside the temple were filled and thus a room was created.
Image - The temple of Amenhotep III in Elephantine
According to existing archaeological finds, the first columns ever built in stone, were the grooved pillars in the Step Pyramid complex in Sakara. Grooves on the shafts of columns represented bundled stems. Later, the column became polygonal or round. Pillars of the temples were painted, and often, when the shaft had a very thick top, were decorated with reliefs and hieroglyphs. Each column normally had three parts: base, shaft and capital. Above the capital was an abacus, the part of the pillar supporting the ceiling. To build the shaft of a column, stone blocks were laid one upon the other, smoothed, painted and engraved, so that the the column including all its parts looked monolithic (built of one stone block). However, in earlier periods in the history of Egypt, real monolithic columns were used at times.
Image - Typical Egyptian temple architecture columns.
The mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut in Deir el Bahri
Testimonies to the unusual phenomenon of Hatshepsut as a queen can also be seen in some of the pictures, statues and sphinxes, which present her dressed not as a woman, but in the traditional clothing of a king, a male skirt, and sometimes with a beard characterizing kings. However, she appears as a woman in the inscriptions.
Image - The temple in Deir el Bahri
When the temple was discovered in Deir el Bahri in 1891, it was mostly destroyed, but was restored with great success. The original pylons have not survived.
A pylon preceded each of the temples. On the east-west axis six pylons were built, some of which originally exceeded 30 meters in height.
The first pylon of the temple in Karnak is preceded by an avenue of sphinxes from the period of Ramesses II, stretching along a spectacular garden three kilometers long, which connects the temple of Amon in Karnak with Amon-Mut-Khonsu temple in Luxor. The sphinxes - curly-horned rams' heads, and lions' bodies, holding the image of the mummy of Pharaoh Ramesses II with the symbol of life (ankh), held between their hoofs, represent the god Amon for whom a ram was a sacred animal and in whose honor both temples were built.
Image - The hypostyle of Amon temple in Karnak
Image - The two pillars bearing the symbols of Upper Egypt - lotus, and Lower Egypt - Papyrus
Amon-Mut-Khonsu Temple in Luxor
Image - Amon-Mut-Khonsu temple in Luxor
The layout of the complex of Amon-Mut-Khonsu temple in Luxor, about 260 meters in lengh, is typical of the 18th dynasty temples. It consists of a pylon, rectangular (or close to rectangle in shape) halls and courtyards arranged on a straight axis. High walls that separated the temple from the outside world surrounded this complex of buildings.
The Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III in Kom el-Hetan
The sound was produced by damp night and the rising temperatures in the morning. This is why Greek poets called it "Memnon" after one of the heroes in Greek mythology – an Ethiopian warrior hero, who demonstrated courage during the siege imposed by the Greeks on Troy. Since he was supposed to live in Egypt, the Greeks named the colossal statue in his honor. Legend has it that Memnon rose each morning to life as he saw his mother, the goddess of dawn Eos and gave her his blessing in a harmonious sound. In 130 CE Emperor Hadrian visited the place. In 202 CE or so, during the rule of Emperor Septimus Severus, the statue was restored and has been silent since then.
On the southern side of the entrance to the courtyard was a stele, one of two that has survived and was re-placed. An inscription found on it describes the temple (as stated above). Beside the inscription on the stele there was also a description of the god Ptah-Seker-Osiris with the king next to Queen Tiye.
The Temple of Ramesses II in Abu Simbel
Image - The temple of Ramesses II in Abu Simbel
Image - Nefertari's Temple in Abu Simbel
Image -The temple of Horus in Edfu
Image - Floor plan of the temple of Horus in Edfu.
Behind this room was an anteroom, leading to the holy of holies with a naos (a room in the temple, where the statue of the god stands), which was dedicated by Nectabo II (ruled 362-343 BCE). This is the oldest remnant of the temple.
Most residences were single - storey houses and only a few were two or three floors houses. The walls were thick and often grooved on their exterior for decoration purposes only. The windows were small and placed near the ceiling to allow ventilation. Thus, home life was hidden from the eyes of strangers, but it was also impossible to see from the house what was going on outside.
The residential houses in Akhetaten had common elements: they were one-story houses with area ranging from 90 sq.m. to 185 sq.m. The main unit of the house contained a porch and square living room surrounded by smaller rooms. This plan has allowed insulation from the heat of the day and the cold at night. Water was supplied from wells usually shared by a few houses, or from wells placed in the public square.
Image - Perspective view of the Theban house, from 18th Dynasty
Heritage of Egyptian Architecture
Commissioned obelisks were engraved for the Roman emperors and re-established during the Renaissance. Such was the obelisk, which was cut for the Emperor Domitian, was placed outside the temple of Saraps in Campus Martius in Rome, and was relocated by Pope Inocent X in Piazza Navona (also in Rome).
Since the beginning of the 19th century, many pyramid-shaped tombs were built, especially in Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris.
Image - pyramid symbol on the back of U.S. dollar
Since the houses were rapidly destroyed, little is known about ancient Egyptian design of towns. We know, however, that the temple was a central place in the city. It was built close to the riverbank, surrounded by residential and commercial buildings. In times of danger, when the city was attacked, the walled temple complex served as a shelter for the city's residents.
In the desert, near the city, temples were built for lion-headed Sekhmet, the goddess of war and revenge of Upper Egypt, Re Horachte, and Amon. These were found next to a predynastic cemetery along with rock-hewn tombs from the first half-period of the 18th dynasty. The rock-cut tombs include those of Ahmose, son of Ibana (Tomb 5 EK), a military commander who fought the Hyksos (1550 BCE) and Setau (Tomb 4 EK), a priest from Ramesses III's period.
Image - Hotep Senusert city plan / al Kahun / Illahun
The part of the city that survived was first discovered by the British archaeologist Linders Petrie (1853-1942). Petrie wrote that every street had a uniform shape. There were no gardens, however, every house had an open courtyard, even if the house was very small.
Akhenaten was the first pharaoh who discovered the use of a carriage drawn by two horses as a means of convenient transportation and as a symbol of royalty.