Egyptian Architecture

With the Great Pyramids as the highlight of the show to offer, Egypt has boasted immensely rich architecture since the time of immemorial. Amongst the oldest civilizations of the world along with the Mayan and Indus valley civilizations, the most recognizable sight of Egypt has been its architecture, namely its Pyramids and the Sphinx.  Such is the respect for the ancient Egyptian architecture that it has found place in the Seven Wonders of the World. Even greater fact of its love in the hearts of people is that it features in the seven wonders of the ancient world as well as the current Seven Wonders of the World. The Great Pyramids are the only surviving wonder from the ancient wonders.

The basic element of Egyptian architecture has always been sun baked mud bricks and blocks, with a compression machine used to compress and squeeze out air as well as moisture, then leaving the blocks to be baked by solar heat. This was not only a very cost effective technique but also a highly durable one, as the pyramids bear witness; standing tall even after thousands of years as the burial places of the pharaohs. The third most important aspect of this type of architecture is the eco-friendliness that not only encouraged construction and urbanization but did not adversely affect the bio diversity of the environment.

The Pyramids of Egypt are situated in the Giza plateau, the reason why they are also referred to as the Pyramids of Giza; located on the outskirts of Cairo.  They are dated back to around 2500 BC with the oldest and tallest Pyramid known as the Pyramid of Khufu.

Amongst other architectural marvels of Egypt are the Karnak and the Luxor temples. Karnak is situated on the banks of river Nile, 1.5 miles north of Luxor. It has a unique history as it was constructed over the tenure of 30 different pharaohs while the construction kicked off in 16th century BC. Karnak is renowned for its huge walls and gigantic pillars, a marvelous achievement even considering the time taken to build it with respect to the era of development. The Karnak has multiple small Sphinx and Dog head shaped statues in the complex as a sign of respect to the ancient Egyptian god Horus.

The Luxor temple is a monumental ancient Egyptian structure located near the east bank of river Nile by the city of Luxor (formerly known as Thebes).  The construction of this Egyptian marvel began in 14 BC and carried on for well over hundred years with major contributions from Ramasses II. This was the sight where the Obelisk (a tall tower with triangular pointed head at top) made its appearance for the fist time. Obelisks are popular till this date and can be found near Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. and St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The Luxor temple had twin obelisks but one of them was moved to Paris in 1835 and can be found in Place de la Concorde.

A common misconception amongst most people is that the Egyptian architecture stayed uniform throughout the history, but this is not true. It can significantly be divided into two eras, the first of the old kingdom and the second of the new kingdom. During the architectural era of the old kingdom, the tombs and mausoleums used to be constructed with flat ceilings but in the new kingdom era, the architectural shift was significant. Instead of flat and simple mud baked buildings the use of stone was increased and different geometrical designs were implemented which helped shape the face of the ancient Egypt as a cultural heritage for all architects.

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