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The Temples

Amarna - Capital Cities

Who: Conceptualised and built by Pharaoh Akhenaten

What: Capital city of Egypt and became home to 30,000 people  

When: 18th Dynasty – Built between 1348 – 1344 BC: abandoned after Pharaoh Akhenaten’s death 1336 BC and destroyed on Pharaoh Horemheb’s Order approx. 1320 BC

Where: 312km South of Cairo and 402km North of Luxor

Great Temple of Aten 

Unlike the standardised Temples, the Great Temple of Aten does not have a Cult Image of the God Aten and it also did not have a roof as worship to the God Aten needed to take place towards the Sun itself as the God was a Solar Deity
From a Construction point of view, this meant that there was not a heavy roof which needed supporting and so the buildings were built out of smaller blocks named Talatats
So the further you progressed in to the Temple, the lighter it became, which was at total odds to the Temples which worshipped God Amun Ra

Between the Long Temple and the Sanctuary there was:

– an area for Statues including all the Royal Family and showed the creation of Aten at the beginning of the World, thought to be one of the most sacred parts of the Temple

– the Slaughter Court where meat offerings were dispatched 

The Sanctuary : separated from the Gem Aten by 300m

– First Court : pylon-ed entrance
– Second set of Pylons which led to a causeway which was flanked by images of Akhenaten
– Final Court : entered into at the end of the causeway; held the main Altar which was surrounded by 150 Stone Offering Tables and is thought to have been for the exclusive use of the Royal Family

The Long Temple or Gem Aten

Entrance: Along the Royal Road to the Enclosure Wall
First Pylon: was the entrance to the Long Temple which had carved images of Pharaoh and Nefertiti giving offerings next to Altars made of Limestone
First Court: had a High Altar with small chapels and chambers on each side
Second and Third Courts: these were similar and had Altars and rooms where offering supplies could be stored
Fourth Court: columned with furnished chambers for rest in the shade
Last Court: this is where the main High Altar was found and was surrounded by 365 mud-brick altars on either side, one for each day of the year, divided to represent Upper and Lower Egypt

Small Temple of Aten or Mansion of the Aten

As with the Great Temple of the Aten, the Small Aten Temple did not have roof to allow direct access to God Aten’s Rays.



Enclosure Wall: made of Mud Bricks and included Flower Beds and an Avenue of Trees
Entrance: was from the west, through two brick constructed pylons
First court: ramp of whitewashed mud led down from the entrance into the First Court and were greeted by mud brick Offering Tables
Second court: Pylon gateway was the entrance way; inside the Pylons, there were niches for granite Stelae
Sanctuary court: Pylon gateway was the entrance way and it had several buildings inside the Court
Sanctuary: The Sanctuary itself was surrounded by Trees and a ramp led to the first court of the Sanctuary which was full of offering tables
Inner Court: The entire Court was full of Offering Tables and surrounded by small Chapels built into the walls

Nefertiti’s Sun Temple, South of Akhetaten

The Sun Temple is the best remaining example of one of approx. 4 Sun Temples which appear to be dedicated to the Royal women of Pharaoh. The Temple lies to the South of the City and was a large walled enclosure with a lot of buildings inside which Egyptologists have confirmed some are a Brewery; the Window of Appearance; and the Sun Temple itself.

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