Mariluz Carola Cordova Flores: Egypt architecture

The ancient Egyptians architecture were made out of stone. Most of the construction built with this type of material were the pyramids, tombs, temples and palaces. These buildings had a very complex design and it require engineering and architectural skills as well a very organizational design and a lot of people to create this structures. Egyptian buildings were decorated with paintings, carved stone images, hieroglyphs and three-dimensional statues to represent their gods or pharaohs. The art of the Egyptians symbolize the history of the pharaohs, the gods, the common people and the natural world of plants, birds and animals. Fine sandstone, limestone, and granite were used for obelisks, sculpture, and decorative uses. The Egyptians developed post-and-lintel construction—the type exclusively used in their monumental buildings. The walls were immensely thick and strong, and this is one of the reason it outlast long. Columns were confined to the halls and inner courts. Roofs, invariably flat, suited to the lack of rain, were of huge stone blocks supported by the external walls and the closely spaced columns. Egyptian sculptors possessed the highest capacity for integrating ornamentation and the essential forms of their buildings. Temples and tombs, constructed in durable materials, have survived through all this years. We can still go and see those buildings and appreciate what people on the past create and design, or we can understand the meaning and purpose of the creation of this magnificent structures and learn the reason that last long. Groups of pyramids from the ancient Egypt still remain for example the pyramids located in Giza, which include the Great Pyramid of Khufu (or Cheops), are among the best known. Other example are the temples. The Great Temple of Amon at Karnak is a product of many successive additions; the central columns of its hypostyle hall are the largest known. Palaces were the residences of the pharaohs and it consisted of two main sections, one to accommodate the pharaoh needs and the other to meet the requirements of administration. They were essentially rectangular structures consisting of high walls topped with towers. The tops of the towers were often decorated with a rich cornice or panels.  -The large temple buildings were made of stone so that they would last forever. Their walls were covered with scenes that were carved onto the stone then brightly painted.                                                                            -Some temples showed the pharaoh fighting in battles and performing rituals with the gods and goddesses.                                                                -One such palace-temple is found at Medinet Habu, across from the former site of Thebes, on the other side of the Nile. It was built by Rameses III during the twentieth dynasty, around 1150 B.C.                         -The Valley of the Kings is famous for its royal tombs. For over a thousand years, the kings, queens and nobles of the New Kingdom (1500-1070 B.C.) were buried in this valley, which is the world's most magnificent burial ground.                                          -The most famous pyramids are found at Giza. They were built by three pharaohs during the second half of the third millennium B.C.

On the left we can find a picture of the Karnak Temple and the dates are from around 2055 BC to around 100 AD. The temple of Karnak was known as Ipet-isu—or “most select of places”—by the ancient Egyptians and this temple could only have been the place of the gods. Karnak is a city of temples built over 2,000 years and dedicated to the Theban triad of Amun, Mut, and Khonsu. Karnak is also known as the largest religious building ever constructed. The great temple at the heart of Karnak is so big that St Peter’s, Milan, and Notre Dame Cathedrals would fit within its walls. The Hypostyle hall is the largest room of any religious building in the world and it’s built of 54,000 square feet and featuring 134 columns. In addition to the main sanctuary there are several smaller temples and a vast sacred lake. The Egyptians believed that towards the end of annual agricultural cycle the gods and the earth became exhausted and required a fresh input of energy from the chaotic energy of the cosmos. To accomplish this magical regeneration the Opet festival was held yearly at Karnak and Luxor. It lasted for twenty-seven days and was also a celebration of the link between pharaoh and the god Amun. The procession began at Karnak and ended at Luxor Temple, one and a half miles to the south. This Egyptian architecture is related to my virtual exhibition because it was an important temple and also known as a one of the largest sacred religious building that was ever constructed. The temple complex of Karnak, dedicated to the Pharoah Amun, was the center of his worship and of his wife Mut and their son Khons. Each of them had a "precinct" (area) in the temple complex, the greatest and largest belonging to Amun.
On the left we can observe a picture of the modern town of Luxor which is the site of the famous city of Thebes and is known as the City of a Hundred Gates. Some of the reason of stone temples have survived were the thickness and strong materials used for example the stone. The most beautiful of these is the temple of Luxor. The temple was built by Amenhotep III (1390-52 BC) but completed by Tutankhamun (1336-27 BC) and Horemheb (1323-1295 BC) and then added to by Rameses II (1279-13 BC). Akhenaten first contemplated the nature of god, and Rameses II set out his ambitious building program. Only Memphis could compare in size and splendor but today there is nothing left of Memphis: It was pillaged for its masonry to build new cities and little remains. Toward the rear of the temple there is a granite shrine dedicated to Alexander the Great (332-305 BC). The Court leads into a Hypostyle Hall, which has thirty-two columns. At the rear of the hall are four small rooms and an antechamber leading to the birth room, the chapel of Alexander the Great, and the sanctuary. The temple has been in almost continuous use as a place of worship right up to the present day. This Egyptian architecture is related to my virtual exhibition because Luxor is thus unique among the main Egyptian temple complexes in having only two pharaohs leave their mark on its architectural structure. Luxor Temple is huge in scale — it once housed a village within its walls. It has several pylons (monumental gateways) that are some 70 yards long. The first pylon is over 70 feet high, fronted by massive statues and several obelisks. There are several open areas, once used for various forms of worship but now empty.
On the left we can see a picture of Madinat Habu which was known as Djanet and according to ancient belief was the place where Amun first appeared. Amun was one of the most powerful gods in ancient Egypt. Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis III built a temple dedicated to Amun here and later Rameses III constructed his larger memorial temple on the site. The whole building complex was surrounded by big fortified enclosure wall, with an unusual gateway at the eastern entrance, known as the pavilion gate. This structure, a copy of Syrian migdol fortresses is something to not expect to see in Egypt. Rameses III, a military man probably saw the virtue in such a structure. It is likely Rameses resided here from time to time because a royal palace was attached at the south of the open forecourt of this temple, while priests’ dwellings and administrative buildings lay on either side of the temple. Originally a canal with a harbor outside the entrance connected the temple to the Nile. But this was obliterated by the desert long ago. In later times, because of its strong fortifications, it was the place of refuge during the civil war between the High Priest of Amun at Karnak and the viceroy of Kush. During the Greek and Roman periods the site was expanded and between the 1st and 9th centuries AD a Coptic city as built and the temple was used as a Christen church. The exterior walls are carved with religious scenes and portrayals of Rameses III’s wars against the Libyans and the Sea Peoples. The first pylon depicts the king smiting his enemies and also has a list of conquered lands. The interior walls also have a wealth of well-preserved bas-reliefs some of which still retain their original paint work.
On the picture of the left we can see the entrance of the Valley of the Kings which was used for the New Kingdom pharaohs, who wanted to be closer to the source of their dynastic roots in the south, built their crypts in the hills of this barren tract west of Luxor. During Egypt's New Kingdom (1539-1075 B.C.) the valley became a royal burial ground for pharaohs such as Tutankhamun, Seti I, and Ramses II, as well as queens, high priests, and other elites of the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties. The tombs evidence elaborate preparations for the next world, in which humans were promised continuing life and pharaohs were expected to become one with the gods. Mummification was used to preserve the body so that the deceased's eternal soul would be able to reanimate it in the afterlife. The tombs were cut into the limestone rock in a remote wadi (a dried-up river valley) on the west side of the Nile, opposite the present day city of Karnak. The walls were painted and sculpted with magnificent murals depicting scenes of daily life and the land of the gods. The underground tombs were also well stocked with all the material goods. The chambers were filled with treasures. The valley contains hundreds of tombs, many of which have yet to be excavated and others that have not yet been found. The most famous tomb belongs to the boy king Tutankhamun.
On the picture of the left we can observe the pyramid of Giza from the southwest. With the red pyramid, Sneferu set the standard for all true pyramids to come. He included aboveground burial chambers, a mortuary temple, and a causeway leading down to a valley temple. This was the model followed by his son, Khufu; who built the first and largest pyramid at Giza. The Giza pyramids were erected on a rocky plateau on the west bank of the Nile in northern Egypt and were connected, by covered causeways, to mortuary temples in the valley below the plateau. These temples had landing stages which were linked to the Nile by a canal. This site is one of the seven classic wonders of the ancient world, the only one that has survived the passage of time. The Great Pyramid of Cheops is the largest of the three at Giza, is estimated to comprise as many as 2.5 million limestone blocks with an average weight estimated at 2.5 tones. The Great Pyramid is truly an astonishing work of engineering. It was built over a twenty year period. The entire structure was encased in a fine white polished limestone brought from the hills at Tura. The capstones (pyramidions) of all the pyramids were made of solid polished granite. This beautiful Egyptian architecture is on my virtual exhibition because although pyramid-building in stone continued until the end of the Old Kingdom, the pyramids of Giza were never surpassed in their size and the technical excellence of their construction. New Kingdom ancient Egyptians marveled at their predecessors monuments, which were then; well over a thousand year old. Pyramids were built during the Middle Kingdom (2055-1650 BC) but these consisted of a mud brick core with a stone skin and are now mere piles of rubble.
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