Ancient Egypt / Cities and Villages /
Amarna, Tell el-
Ancient Egyptian: Akhetaten
Akhetaten was built on the east bank of the Nile, 400 km north of the former capital, Thebes, and 260 km south of Memphis. This location was of importance, it was part of securing the new capital its independence from the elites and priesthoods of the old centres.
The layout of Akhetaten is believed to deviate from the stadard Egyptian towns, being divided into 3 areas, with the main temple and the royal palace in the middle. In addition, 3 more city quarters had been laid out for development. At Akhetaten, nobles' villas only one floor, usually with a central living room.
Two temples at Akhetaten were also built according to deviating patterns. Aten's large temple was unroofed, covering an area of 800 x 300 metres. Still, it's condition upon abandonment may not have been intended to have been complete, most parts being built from mud-brick. It is quite likely that a second building process, then with stones, was planned. All over the temple area, numerous offering tables are found.
North and south of the city, rock tombs were built, but many were not finished, and only a few came to be used. Ay, who became king some 9 years after Akhenaten, had an extensive tomb almost finished here.
The tomb of Akhenaten and his family has been located, but the lack of his mummy has caused speculations as to what actually happened to him.
Akhetaten would be abandoned over just a few years following the death or disappearance of Akhenaten in 1336. Thebes was returned to the status of capital possibly in 1332.
Later kings, Horemheb would raze the city, and Ramses 2 have stone blocks transported across the river to his temples at Hermopolis.
Today, the area is largely in bad condition. Still, since all buildings of Akhetaten belongs to the same era, this is the place where one has been best able to reconstruct the layout and house structures of an Ancient Egyptian city.
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