Ancient Egypt: Architecture

When it came to creating an architectural piece of art, some of the greatest ancient Egyptian achievements have been created from stone. The temples and tombs that we’ve come to associate with the land of the Pharaohs was fashioned from limestone, sandstone, as well as granite, which was retrieved from large stone quarries. The ancient Egyptians mostly worked in big blocks of stone.


The architects of ancient Egypt did not have all of the helpful drafting tools that we use today. They had to improvise and use a great deal of head smarts and planning. This was very important in the construction phase of their buildings because when creating these structures, they did not have access to mortar. This meant that each and every stone had to fit with precision. For creating support for the shorter stone structures, the Egyptians used pillars.


The great architectural achievements of the past are built of stone. Stone quarries supplied the large blocks of granite, limestone, and sandstone that were used for building temples and tombs. Architects planned carefully as building was done without mortar, so the stones had to fit precisely together. Only pillars were used to sustain short stone supports. To build up a pillar, the workers would add height as they went along. After time, the ground would then become raised. As the top of the pillar neared completion, artists would add decoration, starting at the top of the pillar and working their way down.


All of this building up of structures and decoration was completed with the use of a ramp made from adobe brick. These ramps aided in the creation of their structures by allowing workers to carry their large stones to the top of their building. It also helped in the decoration process of the pillars and walls. When decoration in certain parts was complete, the workers would remove the ramps of sand as they finished various sections. When viewing the temple of Karnak, you will be able to see an example of these adobe brick ramps. One can be seen coming from the top of the temple wall.


During ancient Egyptian times, when a new pharaoh came into power, the construction of his tomb was immediately planned and built. Tomb building was a lifelong process, which the ancient Egyptians took quite serious. The building of a pharaoh’s tomb would continue all the way up until the day of their death. Because of this, some tombs are very large and elaborately decorated with fine pieces, while other tombs are smaller due to the fact that the pharaoh ruled over Egypt for such a short period of time. This can be seen in the appearance of King Tut’s tomb.


When analyzing the architecture common during the ancient Egypt times, you will notice that much of it was based on perpendicular-shaped buildings and the use of inclined planes. This was their way for compensating for the lack of structural aids. Their architectural creations relied on the strength and balance that was designed with the building in mind. For further information regarding Egyptian architectural advancements, check out the article titled: “Exploring the Egyptian Pyramids.”