Akhetaten - a new capital

Written by Felgr Pavel on .

Amenhotep IV. - Akhenaten let build a new capita to the north-east from Thebes (Waset), in area of today's Amarna. He named the city Akhetaten and it existence was very passing, but the Pharaoh paid special attention to it.

The rise and fall of Akhetaten 

Akhenaten decided to build Akhetaten on eastern bank of the Nile in a large natural amphitheatre. It was bounded by a massif from the eastern side, whose both northern and southern ends went almost up to the river with an arch. Akhenaten let delineate the area of Akhetaten with 14 boundary steles, where main principles of the new Aten cult were inscribed.

There are a description of city foundation in the first three steles, which Akhenaten let erect. It is so-called northern stele and two so-called southern steles. There is a date in steles as well - year four, the fourth month of Peret period (planting period), the fourth day. Eleven steles, which were erected in the thirteen day of the fourth month of Peret period in the sixth year of reign, defined the outlines of the city more accurately. Three of the steles were placed on the western bank of the Nile and the others were sculpted into a massif in the eastern part.

Akhenaten personally with his architects designed the ground plan of Akhetaten and decided, where his palace, his tomb, tomb of his "respectable royal wife" Nefertiti and tomb of his daughter Meritaten would be placed. Akhenaten placed his palace along the main boulevard of Akhetaten, but only its foundations preserved to these days. Ceremonies took place in the palace, but it was also home of Akhenaten's family. The palace was 270 meters long and the entrace was through a courtyard, which walls was 170 high and was surrounded by statues made of quartzite and granite. These statues represented the Pharaoh and his wife Nefertiti.

There was a huge building behind the official part of the palace, with several pillar halls. One of them (it was undoubtedly the crowning hall) was buttressed by 544 pillars of a rectangular ground plan, which carried the ceiling. The ceiling was coated with yellow paint that symbolized eternal life and the Sun.

Palace of Akhenaten 

The Pharaoh's private residence was built in a design of Amarna dignitaries. Pharaoh and his wife entered their private residence from the official palace over a bridge, which arched over the main boulevard and descended slightly to the royal chambers. The end of the bridge led into a large garden with many trees, flowers, ponds and fountains.

The houses of courtiers and various royal dignitaries were built in the same design. However, some houses stood out among others because of their rich decoration and proportions. It was a house of Thutmose - the main royal sculptor - or vizier Nakht. His house extended in an area of more than 880 m2. These houses were characterized by unparalleled luxury. The most favourite materials were granite, alabaster, quartzite, faience, gold and silver. Floors and walls were covered with paints and there were large gardens with ponds at the house.



Message from the Nile

  • History of Czech institution of egyptology

    The Czech egyptology founder is Frantisek Lexa, the author of up to now evaluated work about ancient Egypt magic and Demotic grammar. Seminar for egyptology started thanks to him in Faculty of Philosophy and Arts of Charles University in Prague in 1925. Two years later Lexa became the first regular professor of egyptology in then Czechoslovakia.

  • Abusir - outstation of Czech egyptology expedition

    Abusir is an archaeological locality in Egypt named after nearby recent village Abusir. It is situated on western Nile bank on the edge of Libyan tableland approximately 20 kilometers to the south-west of Cairo. The name of this locality is derived from ancient Egypt god Osiris, from Per Usir (Busiris), "(cult) place of Osiris" (Busiris in Greek).

  • Researches in Western desert

    Czech egyptology is successful in researching not only on pyramidal fields in Abusir recently, but also in supporting and organizing smaller expeditions into egyptian Western desert. Czech expedition has been working even in slowly evanescent oasis El-Hajez since 2003, which is situated about 400 km to the south-west from Cairo.

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