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Table of Contents
The most identifiable symbol of ancient Egypt is the pyramid. Ancient Egyptian art and architecture depict the story of their deities, the people, and the natural world.
See the fact file below for more information on Ancient Egyptian Architecture or alternatively, you can download our 32-page Ancient Egyptian Architecture worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The ancient Egyptian civilization was situated in eastern North Africa along the Nile River.
- Building materials were usually transported by river, so most structures were located along the banks of the Nile River.
- Most Egyptian architectural designs were monumental as they used posts and lintels instead of arches.
- Egyptian architecture greatly influenced Greek sculpture and architecture.
- During the Ancient Egyptian period, wood was scarce, and the most dominant architectural materials were sun-baked mud brick and stone, such as limestone.
- Sandstone, granite, and marble were also used in great quantities.
- During the era of the Old Kingdom, stones were introduced and used mainly for architectural sculptures, tombs, and temples.
- Bricks were used mostly for other structures.
- Egyptian architecture is characterized by being massive and conservative and represented the ideals of harmony and balance.
History of Ancient Egyptian Architecture
Predynastic and Early Dynastic Architecture (Before 3000 BC)
- Images of deities were already seen through the sculpture and ceramics made by the Egyptians. However, they lacked the architectural skills to build monumental structures to honor their gods and goddesses.
- At around 3100 BCE, only a few structures were built.
- The government unit formed during this era was still regional and tribal.
- Ancient Egyptian homes and tombs were mainly built in oval or rectangular shapes made from sun-dried mud bricks.
- Before the discovery of bricks, reeds and mud was used for their roofs and walls.
- Sometime after, the shapes of structures shifted to rectangular and square.
- Communities were placed together initially for their protection from animals, strangers, and the elements.
- In time, these communities grew into cities that were enclosed by walls.
- As the Egyptian civilization developed so did architecture.
- The Ancient Egyptians built their homes with windows, doors, and wooden frames.
- The Early Dynastic building designs focused on building mastabas.
- A mastaba is a one-story brick box-like structure with a burial chamber underneath where the deceased of the upper class were buried.
- Egyptians started using stones to create temples for their gods.
- Stone monuments or stelae, along with temples, began developing during the Second Dynasty of Egypt.
- The Egyptian obelisk was considered a perfect example of Egyptian architecture.
- The structure depicted the relationship of the people with their gods.
- The building of pyramids also became popular.
- Imhotep, chief architect and vizier, built a stone mastaba tomb for the pharaoh Djoser.
- It was made of a series of stacked mastabas and called a step pyramid.
The Old Kingdom
- Innovations made by Imhotep in the architectural field were carried on by the succeeding pharaohs of the 4th Dynasty in the Old Kingdom.
- The golden age of the Old Kingdom was said to be during the era of the first king of the 4th Dynasty, Sneferu.
- The first true pyramid, a perfectly symmetrical monument built in Ancient Egypt was the pyramid of Meidum.
- Khufu, Sneferu’s son, followed the path of his father.
- He learned through his father’s experiments which enabled him to lead the building of the last of the original Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Pyramid of Giza.
- It was considered the tallest handmade structure on earth.
- Despite the slavery issues in Ancient Egypt, there was no proof that slave labor happened during the construction of the pyramid of Giza.
- Khafre, who is Khufu’s successor, built the second pyramid at Giza and the Great Sphinx of Giza, while Menkaure made the third pyramid.
- The building of the pyramids brought financial and political losses.
- Only the priests could administer and maintain all necropolises.
- The sites continued growing, bringing increased power and wealth to the nomarchs and priests.
- Smaller pyramids and temples became the preference of the succeeding rulers as these were cheaper than the traditional enormous pyramid monuments.
First Intermediate Period & Middle Kingdom (2180 – 2040 BCE)
- The era of the First Intermediate Period began with the collapse of the old Kingdom and also saw a rise in power of the priests and nomarchs.
- The ruling of the kings from Memphis became irrelevant as regions started governing themselves.
- During this era, art became substandard, and there were no great monuments constructed.
- Art and architecture resumed when Mentuhotep II reunited Egypt. However, unlike the previous era, architects and artists were given more freedom to create and explore different art forms and styles.
- With the building of the grand mortuary complex of Mentuhotep, architecture flourished once again in the Middle Kingdom.
- During the reign of King Senusret I, The Great Temple of Amun-Ra at Karnak was built with sacred lakes symbolizing the beginning and a harmonious universe.
- Columns were important too because they did not only serve as a support for the roof.
- They were considered as artworks that had symbolism.
- Mud bricks were still the dominant material for houses and building constructions, while stones were only for temples and monuments during this era.
Second Intermediate Period & New Kingdom (c. 1971 – 1926 BCE)
- There were only a few developments in the field of art during the Second Intermediate Period.
- Hyksos, who rose to power during the Second Intermediate Period in Lower Egypt, was driven out by Ahmose I of Thebes and established a new era, the New Kingdom of Egypt.
- This era supervised the rebirth of art.
- Ahmose I protected Egypt by installing buffer zones around its borders.
- The succeeding New Kingdom rulers expanded the areas covered until they built an empire extending from Syria, down the Levant, across Libya, and down through Nubia.
- Egypt became very wealthy and started building expensive temples, mortuaries, complexes, and monuments.
- They spent lavishly on the Temple of Amun-Ra at Karnak that was distinct among other temples as this temple depicted history, the people’s lives, and honored the gods.
- It was a work-in-progress temple as new kings contributed to the construction of the monument.
- During the long reign of Amenhotep III, he built many monuments, buildings, stelae, and temples and over 250 statues were discovered.
- Amenhotep III was considered popular during this era, but another pharaoh named Ramesses II was more popular.
- He built the highly praised city of Ramesses; however, his best work would be his temple at Abu Simbel.
Late Period or Ptolemaic Dynasty
- A factor that caused the collapse of the New Kingdom was the rule of weak kings, while the priests of Amun at Thebes gained more power and wealth.
- A series of invasions by the Assyrians and Persians happened before the arrival of Alexander the Great in 331 BCE.
- Alexander built the city of Alexandria and left its care in the hands of his subordinates as he continued pursuing his conquests.
- The city he created became the center of culture and learning and was considered the jewel of Egypt for its astounding architecture.
- The rulers in the Ptolemaic Dynasty continued Egyptian architecture and combined it with Greek architectural practices.
- The death of Cleopatra VII, the last queen, ended the Ptolemaic dynasty.
- Today, the legacy of the Ancient Egyptian architects can still be traced through the monuments they left.
- It is an Arabic word that means “bench of mud.”
- It is a rectangular burial structure used as a tomb for Ancient Egyptian nobility.
- Mastabas usually consisted of bricks or stones. These were used to create the pyramid form found on the Step Pyramid of Djoser.
- Pyramids are considered the world’s largest tombs.
- They are four-sided stone structures that required large amounts of stone.
- The ancient Egyptians believed in life after death, so pyramids were used to preserve the pharaoh’s bodies and belongings needed in the afterlife.
- The most famous examples of pyramids in Ancient Egypt are:
- Pyramid of Khufu
- Bent Pyramid of Snefru, Dashur
- Step Pyramid of Djoser
- Pyramid of Giza
- Temples were houses for their deities.
- They were a place for the Ancient Egyptians to worship their gods and goddesses, and each temple represents a specific deity.
- Gigantic temples were made of stones to last longer.
- The most famous examples of temples in the Ancient Egypt are:
- Luxor Temple
- Abu Simbel
- Temple of Hatshepsut
Ancient Egyptian Architecture Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about Ancient Egyptian Architecture across 32 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Ancient Egyptian Architecture of which the most identifiable symbol of ancient Egypt are the pyramids.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Ancient Egyptian Architecture Facts
- How Do They Look?
- True or False?
- It Caught My Eye
- Build Me Up
- Places To Go
- Word Hunt
- Time Travel
- Pyramid, Pyramid
- Amazing Egypt
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Link will appear as Ancient Egyptian Architecture Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, December 16, 2021
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.