After the pyramids, Egyptian temples were the next most impressive of ancient Egypt's architecture.
It was the place that represented a god on Earth.
They played a diverse role.
* Priests - Temples were Egyptian priest central. The walls were adorned with hieroglyphs of spells and prayers honouring gods and pharaohs. These were written by the priests.
* Schools - Education was expensive but for those who could afford to have their boys educated, they would be sent to a temple where they were instructed under a priest.
* Administration - The Egyptian temples owned the land and farmers were required to pay tribute in the form of part of their harvest.
Egyptian temples were sacred to the point that only a select few saw the inner sanctum. The deeper into the temple, the less access was granted.
The Egyptians believed that the gods resided in the deepest chambers. It was their home on Earth. It was this innermost chamber that housed a statue of the god, or goddess, for that particular temple.
The outer courtyards however were frequented by priests and commoners alike. This is where the general population left their tributes.
The hypostyle halls were the next stage beyond the courtyards. They were a forest of columns. The columns were of differing styles and designed to hold up large sandstone-slab ceilings, as well as provide decoration.
The decorative reliefs on the walls were not reserved for the gods. They were equally represented by images of the Pharaoh. This demonstrated his closeness to the gods and god-like stature of his own position.
Light was used in temples to illuminate reliefs, writings and architectural design with very deliberate engineering. If the building was built to face a particular direction the light would shine through gaps in the ceiling at a particular time of day, creating a desired effect.
* Temple of Karnak - Located near Luxor, this large complex is unique for its diversity. Temples were built there from the Middle Kingdom right through to Ptolemaic times. Approximately thirty pharaohs contributed to it which gave it many different styles. While a temple represents a particular god, Karnak represents the triad of Amun-Re, his consort Mut and their son Khons. The Amun-Re precinct of the temple complex is open to the public.
* Cave of Artemis - This name was given during Greek rule for the below ground temple. It sits behind a series of tombs and is a monument to the goddess, Pakhet.
* Kom Ombo - This temple has been divided into two halves in terms of worship. One half worships the god Horus, while the other worships Sobek, who was represented by a crocodile. Inside the temple are mummified crocodiles.
* Deir el-Bahri - Another series of mortuary temples that are nestled in cliff faces. It was here that the successful queen/pharaoh Hatshepsut has her temple.
* Dendra Temple Complex - The 40,000 square metre complex is surrounded by a thick mud brick wall. The main temple of Hathor was originally constructed in the Middle Kingdom of ancient Egypt but influenced by many generations all the way up to the Romans.
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