August 29, 2013

The Aten Temple Complex

The Aten Temple Complex
The gigantic Temple of Aten was situated in the central quarter of the city. The main sanctuary was more than 1500 metres in length. It was surrounded by a wall enclosing a huge open courtyard, and  the entrance faced towards the east. Within the complex were other buildings, including the ‘Gem of Aten’ and the ‘House of Rejoicing’. The main temple was called Het Ben-ben or Temple of the Ben-ben, which referred to the pyramidon, the sacred symbol of the sun cult from earlier times at Heliopolis.

Fashionable villas
The inhabitants of Tel el Amarna were mostly refined citizens who lived in large, carefully planned houses. They were usually surrounded by a wall. Inscriptions on the door-frames contained the names of the owners. The front part, which was approached by a door in the side wall, led to a large traverse hall, which often led up to a north-oriented balcony with wooden pillars. Here petitioners would gather, and there was accommodation for servants.

In the main building was a large reception hall; its roof was supported by wooden columns. It was spacious and airy, with light filtering through windows placed high up near the ceiling. To the rear of the hall was a niche, approached by a raised step, provided with a stone basin for ablutions. (In similar niches in the houses of some officials was a sort of family altar that held a small stela of the royal family.)

Behind the reception hall were sleeping quarters. The bedrooms had raised alcoves for the beds. Bathrooms had basins, water containers and toilets; they adjoined the bedrooms. Even the most humble houses at Tel el Amarna were equipped with similar hygienic facilities.

To the rear of the sleeping quarters were the chambers for the women, with separate bathrooms. In the most palatial houses, there was often a separate upstairs balcony where members of the household could enjoy the north breeze and sleep in the outdoors, if so desired.

Each house had the cooking quarters, offices and storerooms set apart from the living quarters. Gardening appears to have been a great pleasure of the upper classes, and the gardens often had ornamental ponds that, in some cases, were decorated with statues or with a kiosk nearby. There were also cattle stalls and poultry houses.

After a few years of occupation, when construction of the central quarter was still under way, summer palaces and country houses were constructed for members of the royal family and for the nobility outside the main city. In the vicinity of the so-called Northern Palace was an aviary and a zoo; its walls were decorated with paintings of bird-life. The summer-house of Meru-Aten, to the south, had halls, decorative pools and floors painted with animals and plant life.

Builders, architects and sculptors were, of course, among the most respected inhabitants at Tel el Amarna. Sculptors particularly so, because there was a great demand for statues and reliefs of the royal family. It was in the house of the chief sculptor Thutmose that the famous bust of Nefertiti in the Berlin Museum was found. It was one of many models of heads; some were still standing on the shelf, others had fallen or appear to have been deliberately broken. Nefertiti’s head shows her to have been truly ‘Fair of Face’, which was one of her epithets.

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Hi, If you found any copyright content in Ancient Egypt blog please don't hesitant to send an email : ancientegyptblog@gmail.com and will delete within 24 Hours

ShareThis

Follow us

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...