Temples from New Kingdom Egypt show great advances in architecture. The common temple complex has a central structure dedicated to a god. This structure often includes a colossal statue featuring the current king or god that the temple is worshiping. While Egyptians constructed temples in previous eras from mud-brick, they built these temples with stone. This ultimately made the structure stronger, but also allowed for decorative carvings. These carvings are often dedicated to religious scenes, yet include military propaganda to promote kings. One of the most popular and complex temples from this era is the Great
Aten Temple. Aten, a pharaoh who proclaimedhe was a god, created a city called Akhetaten. The central structure of this city is the Great Aten Temple. The temple was originally constructed with mud-brick, but was later reconstructed with stone in order to make it stronger. The temple is open to the sky, and features large offering tables and altars. In addition, the Great Aten temple has a great sanctuary, containing a colossus of the king and twelve smaller chapels. Comparable to many other temples from this era, the walls of the temple have carvings that represent the relationship between the king and his deity. This temple is worthy of a visit because it contains nearly all of the characteristics of a standard New Kingdom Egypt temple.
Other architectural wonders from New Kingdom Egypt are the palaces. There are many types of palaces, but generally, the most popular is a residential palace. One of the famous palaces of this type is Amenhotep III’s palace called Al-Magata. This palace sits next to an artifical lake called Birkat Hab. Al-Maqata contains elaborate buildings with many suite rooms. The palace houses the pharaoh and his family. Similar to the tombs and temples, the palace has painted scenes on the walls. However, these scenes are often secular paintings of nature. The palace also features a temple to the god Amun-Re. This temple represents the integration of many of the New Kingdom Egypt structures, like the temple and the palace. Al-Maqata and palaces alike are important to visit in order to understand how the royalty live in this era.
Unlike the pyramids created by the Egyptians in years past, New Kingdom Egypt has a new, more intricate form of tombs. Covering the walls of each tomb are elaborately drawn and painted scenes, as well as extensive hieroglyphic texts. These scenes portray the life of the tomb owner and his family, and often depict them in the form of the divine. Similar to past Egyptian eras, the population built the tombs for the pharaoh and possibly his family.The Valley of the Kings, in Western Thebes, is one of the most notable tombs; it contains approximately 60 tombs, including the tomb of the well-known pharaoh Tutankhamen. Each tomb consists of many different chambers, including a burial chamber decorated to the
pharaoh’s request. These decorations often incorporate paintings of the pharaohs interacting with the gods. The tombs are filled with many objects that they may need in the afterlife. Near the Valley of the Kings is the village of Deir el-Medina. This village is home to the many artisans that built the Valley of the Kings. As gratitude for their construction and decoration of these tombs, these artisans have their own set of tombs called the Valley of the Nobles. In addition, officials, viziers, and courtiers are buried at the Valley of the Nobles. While the tombs in the Valley of the Kings have various rooms and corridors of different shapes and sizes, each tomb in the Valley of the Nobles has a standard shape. This shape is referred to as the inverted “T-shape.” The entrance of the tomb contains an open courtyard. As one travels through the tomb, they will see a transverse hall that leads to the corridor. This contains a statue of the deceased and a false door so the spirit can enter and exit the chamber. Comparable to the Valley of the Kings, these tombs also contain decorative paintings. This often includes paintings of each nobles’ offerings to the afterlife, in order to ensure they had a safe and suitable rebirth.Although the thought of visiting tombs may seem disturbing to some travelers, the Valley of the Kings is an architectural masterpiece that contains many works of art. In addition, though the Valley of the Nobles are smaller and contain remains of lesser-known Egyptians, it is crucial to visit in order to comprehend Egyptian values. Therefore, this collection of tombs is the perfect destination to learn more about Egyptian culture.
Bottom Picture Source: Hawass, Zahi, “The façade and entrance to the Tomb of Useramun,” http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=12&sid=20051511-df64-421d-80ec-3a69d75c174b%40sessionmgr104 (Accessed November 27, 2017;Middle Picture Source:Rashad, Abo, “Ancient Egyptian Palaces,” http://www.egykingblog.com/2012/08/ancient-egyptian-palaces.html (Accessed November 27, 2017); Top Picture Source:Tyldesley, Joyce, “Divine Kings,” http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=10&sid=20051511-df64-421d-80ec-3a69d75c174b%40sessionmgr104 (November 27, 2017).