Architecture in the Ancient World

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The Temple of Amun-re at Karnak and the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens have distinctive architectural enhancements and refinements that were put together to create, not just a building, but a significant piece of aesthetically pleasing architecture made for worship. One of the most mysterious places in ancient Egypt was the inside of a temple. They were the homes of the gods and goddesses and very few people were allowed to see the inside. Karnak temple was a solar temple based on the principles of balance and harmony- it was the horizon of Amon-re, his home on earth. To encourage this king of the gods to stay, the Egyptians built a temple that they considered to be heaven on Earth. As the home of the god, an Egyptian temple originally had the form of a house- a simple, rectangular, flat-roofed building preceded by a courtyard and gateway. There were six main parts to ancient Egyptian temples built during the New Kingdom period. These parts are: the pylon, the courtyard, the hypostyle hall, the second hall, the sanctuary and the sacred lake. The temple builders of the new kingdom enlarged and multiplied these elements. The gateway became a massive pylon with tapering walls; the semipublic courtyard was surrounded by columns, the temple itself included an outer hypostyle hall and finally inner rooms-the offering hall and sanctuary. The design was symmetrical and axial- that is, all of its separate elements are symmetrically arranged along a dominant center line, creating a processional path. The axis is a sacred place because the sun’s rays, travelling east to west, would beam onto these axial papyrus stems. They’re said to have naturally opened in this solar temple and the axis marked the first light of the world. Access to the heart of the temple, a sanctuary containing the statue of Amun, was from the west through a principal courtyard, a hypostyle hall, and a number of smaller halls and courts. Pylons set off each of these separate elements. The...
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