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Egyptian architecture

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  1. Geological : Along Nile River

  • Two Seas – Mediterranean and Red Sea

  1. Geological: Stone is abundant, use for buildings, pyramids, tombs and temples.

  • Soft Stone – lime stone, sans stone, alabaster

  • Hard Stone – granite, quartile, basalt

  1. Climate – 2 seasons – spring, summer

  1. Religion – Pyramids were built for preservation of the bodies

  • Egyptian believed so strongly in an after life

  • Group of Gods

  1. Theban Triad B. Memphis Triad

Ammon (Sun God) Ptah (Creator)

Mut (Wife of Ammon) Sekhmet (Goddess of War)

Knons ( Sun, Moon God) Nepertem ( Son)

  • Other Gods:

Osiris – God of Death Hathor – Goddess of Love

Isis – wife of Orisis Set -God of Evil

Horus – sky God Serapis – Bull God

  1. Historical & Social

  • their records of history were written in “papyra” and tablets

  • it is their custom to record history of temples and domestic and social interest on tombs and stelae (where the dead’s name is inscribed)

  • Egyptian literature has been preserved on papyri made from the pith of the ince abundant papyrus plant

  • The kings are called “pharaohs” or great house

The Pharaohs have been divided into 30 dynasties by: MANETHO


  • 1,550 BC -1,070 BC: New Kingdom



Abu Simbel


Deir el Bahri

Kush Kingdom

Deir el Medina

Tutankhamun's Tomb (Tomb of "King Tut")

onders of Ancient Egypt

  • 2,575 BC - 2,134 BC: Old Kingdom

Abu Ghurab


Ras Budran

Step Pyramid of Djoser

The Giza Pyramids

The Sphinx

  • 2,040 BC - 1,640 BC: Middle Kingdom




Luxor Temple

Temples of Karnak

Serabit el-Khadem

Tell el Dab'a

  1. Dynasties 1-11 (Ancient Kingdom)

Menes – 1st Dynastic King

  1. First type of Egyptian tomb “Mastabas”

  2. Development of Hieroglyphic system

  3. Construction of the “Pyramid of Gizeh”

  1. Dynasties 12-17 ( Middle Kingdom)

  1. Rock-cut tomb

  2. Erection of the first "Obelisk at Heliopolis” built by Senusret I

  3. Building of “Great Temple at Karnak”built by Amenenhat I

  1. Dynasties 18-30 (New Empire kingdom)

  1. Construction of mountain side. Terrace Funerary temple at Der-El-Bahari for Queen Hatshepsut


  1. Obelisk – an Egyptian monolithic four-sided standing stone, tapering to a pyramidical cap, often inscribed with hieroglyphs and erected as a monument.

  2. Stalae – where the name of the deceased is inscribed

  • Amenophis II - erected the famous colossi of Memnon

  • Rameses I – erected the Great Hypostyle at Karnak

  • Rameses II – erected and finish the Great Hypostyle at Karnak and Rock Temple at Abu-Simbel

  1. Ptolemic Period – the reign of Ptolemy II who built the famous pharus of light house


  1. Consist of materials like reeds, papyrus and palm branch ribs, plastered over with clay.

  2. Used domical roofing for circular plans and panel shaped of flat-roofing for rectangular plans. They developed “corce or torns” or “hollow and roll moldings”- (Egyptian Gorge)

  3. Use of sun-dried mud bricks for dwellings and royal palaces.

  4. Exterior wall – “round batter wall” with an inclination from top to bottom.

  5. Columnar and trabeated style at their monumental structure.

  6. Religion is the dominant element in their structure.


  1. Tomb Architecture ( 3 main types)

  1. Mastabas b. royal pyramids c. rock-hewn tombs.

MASTABA - a large ancient Egyptian stone tomb with sloping stone sides and a flat top, built over aburial ground or chamber

  • Stairway mastaba with 2 doors – for offering, false door used by the spirit

  • Provided offering chapel

  • Provided several rooms , a column hall

Serdab – room for the statue of dead

Offering room – with stalae an upright stone slab where the name of the deceased is inscribed

  • An offering table


1stone facing

2 sacrificial chapel

3 tombstone

4 fill

5 shaft

6 masonry seal

7 stone slab

8 burial chamber

9 sarcophagus

  • Mastaba K.1 at Beit Khallaf – has a massive stairway tomb of crude brick, typical of third dynasty

  • Mastabas at Gizeh – development of offering chapel, under-ground tomb chamber and sloping-sided superstructure having two widely spaced recesses on the long east side, the southern one of which serves as a false door, fourth dynasty

  • Mastaba of Thi, Sakkara – a large pillared court is attach to the north end of the east side, fifth dynasty


Sarcophagus – Egyptian coffin

Porticuluses – a door separating the main burial ground
ROYAL PYRAMIDS – were built with immense outlay in labor and material, in the lifetime of Pharaohs concerned, to secure the preservation of the body after death till that time should have passed when, according to their belief of immortality, the soul would once more return to the body.

Kinds of Pyramid

  1. Stepped Pyramid

  2. Bent Pyramid

  3. Slop Pyramid


Step Pyramid of Zoser, Sakkara ( 2778 BC beginning of third dynasty) – first large-scale monumental stone.

Imhoted – architect
Pyramid at Meydum – Huni, last king of third dynasty – 7 stepped structure

11 sacrificial altar

12 mortuary temple, funerary temple

13 step pyramid, stepped pyramid

14 court

15 south tomb

16 north house

17 south house

18 cult chapel

19 ceremonial or Jubilee court

20 entrance hall, colonnaded hall

21 surrounding wall

22 western platform

B.Bent Pyramid
Bent or South Pyramid of Senefru, Dahshur – (2723BC) – change the angle of inclination halfway up to 54˚ 15 minutes in the lower part to 43˚ in the upper

Bent pyramid, rhomboid pyramid, cross section
Bent pyramid, Plan
C. Slope or True Pyramid
North Pyramid of Senefru, Dahshur – actual place of burial of Seneferu- true pyramid –similar angle to that of the upper part of the Bent pyramid
Great Pyramid of Cheops (Khufu), near Cairo – Cheops was the son of Seneferu the 2nd king of the Fourth dynasty. This is the famous and largest of the three on this site. (146.4m high and 230.6m square on plan)
Pyramid of Chephren (Khafra) – fourth dynasty, 2nd of the three at Gizeh (216m side and 143m high) (52˚20 minites)
Pyramid of Mykerinos ( Menkaura) – fourth dynasty – smaller than its two prodecessors at Gizeh (109m square and 66.5m high) ( 51˚)



1. principal entrance

2. ‘Queen’s Chamber’

3. great ascending corridor

4. King’s Chamber

5. relieving vault

6. tunnel aligned with holy stars, or air shaft

7. false or unfinished burial chamber

8. dead-end or unfinished tunnel


Tombs, Beni Hasan – consist of chamber behind a porticoed façade plainly imitating wooden construction in the character of the eight or sixteen-sided, slightly fluted and tapered columns

Tomb of the Kings, Thebes – in the arid mountain on the west side of Nile

Ramesses III, IV, IX- served only for the sarcophagus and funerary deposits

Ex. (Ramesseum and Hatshetsut temple)

  1. Temples – 2 classes

Mortuary Temples– for ministration to deified Pharaohs

Cult Temples – for the popular worship of the ancient and mysterious gods

Temple of Khons, Karnak – cult temple- characterized by entrance pylons, court hypostyle hall, sanctuary and various chapels, all enclosed by a high girdle wall, the entrance pylon fronted by obelisk
Temple of Mentuhetep, Der el- Bahari, Thebes (Middle Kingdom 2065BC)- mortuary temple
Temple of Hatshepsut, Del er-Bahari, Thebes – (New Kingdom 1520BC) built by her architect, Senmut – mortuary temple . It is terraced similarly, but her place of burial lay far away in a corridor tomb in the mountains beyond, dedicated to Amun and other gods.
Great Temple of Amun, Karnak Thebes – (1530-323BC) the grandest of all Egyptia temple, work of many kings
Temple at Luxor, Thebes (1408-1300 BC) – Amenophis III, apart from a great forecourt, with pylons added to Rameses II. It was dedicated to the Theban triad, Amun,Mut and Khons
Ramesseum , Thebes (1301 BC) – mortuaty temple
Small temple, Abu-Simbel (1301 BC)- by Rameses II, close to the Great temple was dedicated to his deified Queen, Nefertari and the goddess Hathor. The façade is 27.4m wide and 12.2m high, and comprises six niches recessed in the face of the rock and containing 6 statues 10m high, 2 represent Rameses and one Neferteri on each side of the portal which leads to a vestibule and a hall.


Egyptian architecture

architecture in ancient Egypt from c.2850 BC to the Roman conquest in 30 BC; it is characterized by stoneburial tombs, massive pylons and geometrical structures, the use of beam and post construction, and elegantly carved and coloured religious and mythical motifs

Old Kingdom

the age of pyramid builders; the period of the 3rd to 6th dynasties of ancient Egyptian culture from 2778–2423 BC,

characterized by monumental stone edifices, mastabas, pyramids, sphinxes and the first sun temples with obelisks

and lotus, papyrus and palm columns

Middle Kingdom

the period of ancient Egyptian culture during the 11th and 12th dynasties from 2150–1785 BC, in architecture

characterized by modest brick-filled pyramids, sun and mortuary temples, Hathor columns and the rock-tombs of

private citizens

New Kingdom

the period of Egyptian culture during the time of the 18th to 20th dynasties, from 1580–1085 BC, characterized in

architecture by the Amarna period and its temples, palaces, private dwellings and rock tombs

1. 1st pylons, c.320 BC

2. forecourt

3. birth house, mammisi

4. kiosk

5. pylon temple

6. 2nd pylons, c.1320 BC

7. hypostyle hall, c.1290–1250 BC

8. 3rd pylons

9. obelisks

10. 4th pylons

12. 5th pylons

13. 6th pylons

14. barque temple

15. temple court

(Middle Kingdom)

16. festival hall

17. holy of the holies

18. ambulatory `Botanical garden´


  1. Plan – Symmetry is the most important rule in Egyptian Planning

  2. Walls – Usually thick – (Interior – Hieroglyphics) (Exterior – Batten wall)

Simplicity, Solidity, Grandeur,

  1. Openings – Door opening, window are not used

  2. Roofs- Flat rood

  3. Column – Simple Forms of Support


A. obelisk

B. pyramidion

C. palm capital, palmiform (plume capital )

D. papyrus capital, papyriform

E. bud capital, closed bud capital, closed capital

F. bell capital, blossom capital, campaniform, open capital

G. lotus capital, lotiform, lily capital

H. tent-pole capital


an Egyptian monolithic four-sided standing stone, tapering to a pyramidical cap (a pyramidion), often inscribed with hieroglyphs anderected as a monument


an ancient Egyptian short, slender obelisk with a polygonal cross section, symbolic of the rising sun and regeneration of life, often acult object of sun-worship in a sun temple

lotus, lily

forms of flowering lily [Nymphaea lotus (white lotus), Nymphaea caerulea (blue lotus), Nelumbo nucifera etc.] sacred in ancient Egyptian,

Buddhist and Hindu culture; the blue water lily (Nymphaea caerulea) was the heraldic plant of Upper Egypt (Nile Valley)

an ornamental motif found in classical and Egyptian architecture consisting of a series of stylized leaves from the papyrus plant, Cyperus

papyrus, of the genus Cypereae, an aquatic sedge found in tropical and sub-tropical regions, from which a form of paper was produced; heraldic plant of Lower Egypt (Nile Delta)

Upper Egypt

one of the two ancient Egyptian kingdoms, that which grew along the banks of the river Nile (the other is Lower Egypt, the Nile Delta), its

Pharaoh wore the white crown, and its heraldic plant was the lotus, a species of water lily
Lower Egypt

one of the two ancient Egyptian kingdoms, that which grew out of the Nile Delta (the other is Upper Egypt, the Nile valley), its Pharaoh wore the red crown, and its heraldic plant was the papyrus


A. entrance

B. passage

C. well room

D. pillared hall

E. side chamber

F. antechamber

G. burial chamber

H. sarcophagus

K. white crown(Upper Egypt)

L. red crown(Lower Egypt)

M. combined crown,double crown

N. crook, staff; regal administrative authority

O. flail, scourge; regal penal authority

P. Djet column – steadfastness

Tomb of Ramses III, Valley of the Kings,

Thebes, Egypt, 1184–1153 BC

Q. ankh – key of life, key to the Nile

R. uraeus – guardian of the kings

S. cartouche – Pharaonicinsignia

T. ATEN, ATON – sundisc


1 RA, RE – sun

2 OSIRIS – death, judgement

3 ISIS – motherhood, protection

4 HORUS – falcon, royalty

5 SETH, SET – storms, chaos, evil

6 ATUM, TUM – sun, creator of all things

7 MIN – fertility

8 MAAT – order

9 AMUN, AMEN, AMON – 'the unseen one'

10 MUT – mistress of heaven

11 KHONSU – moon 'the traveller'

12 HAPI – the Nile's fertility

13 NUT – the firmament

15 SHU – air

14 GEB – earth

16 PTAH – creation, craftsmanship


17 KHNUM – ram potter of mankind 21 BASTET – cat protrectress of cats

18 HATHOR – cow love, dance 22 SOBEK – crocodile the Nile

19 ANUBIS – jackal the underworld, embalming 23 WADJET – cobra king's protector (Lower Egypt)

20 THOTH – sacred ibis `the divine scribe´, knowledge 24 SEKHMET – lion the destructive sun, war


1 RA, RE – sun

2 OSIRIS – death, judgement

3 ISIS – motherhood, protection

4 HORUS – falcon, royalty

5 SETH, SET – storms, chaos, evil

6 ATUM, TUM – sun, creator of

all things

7 MIN – fertility

8 MAAT – order

9 AMUN, AMEN, AMON – 'the

unseen one'

10 MUT – mistress of heaven

11 KHONSU – moon

'the traveller'

12 HAPI – the Nile's fertility

13 NUT – the firmament

15 SHU – air

14 GEB – earth

16 PTAH – creation,



A. winged sun disc, winged solar disc, feroher

B. eye of Horus, Wadjet eye

C. scarab, dung-beetle, sacred scarabeus, Khepri


a symbolic statue, image or construction intended to provideprotection against evil spirits


a sculpted figure which has the prostrate body of a lion and thehead of a human (androsphinx) or other animal such as a ram

(criosphinx); especially prolific in an ancient Egyptian architecture

a sphinx with a human head or upper body, usually that of a male


a sphinx which has a ram’s headhieracosphinx

a sphinx which has the head of a hawk

Hathor column: Egyptian Osiris column, Osiris pillar: Egyptian

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