Ancient Egyptian Cities

Ancient Egyptian Cities Over the course of more than 3000 years, ancient Egypt

has given birth to various strongholds that shaped the legacy of this immortal nation.

All the major ancient Egyptian cities were built on the banks of the Nile which

represented the bloodstream for the entire civilization. Ancient Egyptian cities

and towns were divided into lower and upper regions. The cities around the

Mediterranean sea and the Nile delta were considered lower like Alexandria

while upper Egypt were the cities located in the deep north such as Memphis

and Thebes. The cities of ancient Egypt had different functions as some were

political by nature that housed government workers and officials while other

cities were religious also by nature.

The Nile was the main factor that was a source of fresh water and the cause behind

the fertile farmlands which played an instrumental role in creating cities whose

name will last until the end of days. The capitals of ancient Egypt were the largest

and the most important. Throughout the history of ancient Egypt, the capital

was in a state of transformation and constant change. Here is a list of famous

Ancient Egyptian cities:

Ancient Egyptian Cities

 Memphis City

The first-ever capital of Egypt was the city of Memphis from 2950 BC to 2180

BC during the old and one of the official religious centers as it was the worship center

for the holy triad of the creator god of Ptah, his wife Sekhmet and Nefertem.

The city of Memphis is located 15 mi south of modern Cairo in lower Egypt.

The stature of Memphis declined and served as a second capital after the rise

of Thebes in the new kingdom of Egypt (15570-1070 BC). After the official capital

was transferred to Alexandria in 331 BC and with the rise of Christianity, Memphis

was completely abandoned and faded within time. Only a few ruins still exist today

like an alabaster Sphinx and statue of Ramses II. Near Memphis lies the

ancient city of Giza which holds the great pyramids complex.

Ancient Egyptian Cities

Thebes City

The great city of Thebes is the most well known in the history of ancient Egypt,

it served as the capital of Egypt around 1279 BC during the new kingdom

(1570-1070 BC). It is located 675 km (419 mi) south of Cairo on the east

bank of the Nile. The city was the center of culture, rule, and religion.

The city was called now the city of the creator god Amun and was also

referred to as Thebai by Homer the Greek poet who stated Thebes as the city

with a thousand gates. The city was the location for some of the most famous

and important festivals in ancient Egypt like the festivals of Opet and Shemu.

Across the history of the new kingdom various pharaohs like Ramsess II who

constructed the majestic Abu Simbel temples, and Hatshepsut who constructed

the beautiful Hatshepsut temple. both of the pharaohs are buried in the magical

Valley of the Kings plus the famous boy king Tutankamun. One of the most

famous landmarks in Thebes is the great Karnak temple the biggest religious

ancient house of worship in history and next to it was the enchanting Luxor

temple home to the holy triad of Amun, Mut, and Khonsu. Thebes became

a world heritage site in 1979 by UNESCO because of the beauty and

importance of this place to the history of mankind.

Ancient Egyptian Cities

 Amarna City

One of the most unknown capitals of ancient Egypt is Amarna, it represents

the time of the biggest religious conflicts and struggles in ancient Egyptian history.

The city was a capital established by Pharaoh Akhenaton (1353-1336 BC) in 1346

BC till his death in 1336 BC the city is located on the east bank of the Nile river

about 312 km (194 mi) south of Cairo and 420 (250 mi) north of Luxor.

Akhenaton ruled Egypt for 20 years where he tried to force a monotheist system,

the worship of one god Aten “The Sun Disk” but after his death, his son Tutankhamen

became the ruler then he amplified the polytheist system once again.

The city was constructed with new forms of architecture called Akhetaten

The site is known as Tell el-Amarna due to the Beni Amran tribe who

lived in that area. The site holds some of the most beautiful tombs

filled with the most mesmerizing inscriptions of the famous Aton the sun disk.

 Avaris City

The city of Avaris used to be the capital of ancient Egypt under the Hyksos

between 1783 BC and 1550 BC. It is located in the northeastern region of the

Nile delta lies today at Tel El-Daba. The city was used as a trade center and

an administrative location by the Hyksos and traders. The site is an important

archaeological city as the ruins and artifacts like copper swords and grave goods

found in the city are able to tell a great sum of facts and details about the Hyksos culture.

Ancient Egyptian Cities

Pi-Ramsess City

The city of Pi-Ramses was the new capital of ancient Egypt in the new

kingdom in the reign of Ramses II (1279-1213) near the city of Avaris.

It is located in the northeastern delta next to tell el dab and Qantar.

The city was known as the house of Ramsess the great as it served as his

residence for some time and as Turquoise city. It was known for being very

enchanting as it had channels. lakes, and extravagant monuments and

artifacts. the city was divided into four parts, each part was named after

a different deity Amun, Astarte, Wadjet, and Seth.

Ancient Egyptian Cities

 Thonis City

The lost city of Thonis was the capital of the first dynasty before Memphis,

it is located near the ancient city of Abydos in Upper Egypt. It severs as

a burial ground for the pharaohs of the first three dynasties. The site played

an important role in mythology and religious cosmology like heaven which

was mentioned in the book of the dead, it was known that the city held the

tomb and mummy of the regional deity of Osiris. This site was the place

where the first tribal confederation was announced and the unification

of Upper Egypt by Menes “Narmer“.

Ancient Egyptian Cities

Alexandria City

The city of Alexandria has served as the capital of Egypt from 332 BC to 641 AD,

the city was constructed by Alexander the great to be the new center for the

Hellenistic civilization to the new world of Africa, the middle east, and beyond.

The city extends 32 km along the coast of the Mediterranean sea and

138 km (114 mi) northeast of Cairo. The city highly famous for containing

the heavenly library of Alexandria between 285 BC and 247 BC, It held about

100,000 to 400,000 parchment scrolls in literature, science, medicine, and

every other possible subject, in 48 the library burned by Julius Caeser.

The city is known for holding one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient

World the lighthouse of Alexandria as the tallest man-made structure

at the time,  constructed between 284 BC and 246 BC and was destroyed

by a series of three earthquakes between 956 AD and 1323 AD. The city holds

the rare Roman catacombs which merges the ancient Roman and ancient

Egyptian art and culture in the most mesmerizing manner. The city remained

the capital for about a thousand years until the Islamic conquest in 641 AD

where the capital moved to the city of Fustat.

Aside from the capitals there used to  great cities that  highly important

to the evolution of the ancient Egyptian civilization, Egypt  divided into

nomes a territorial division, the number of nomes changes through

the different time periods, some of these cities

Ancient Egyptian Cities
Abydos City

The city of Abydos a place of high importance as it was known as the mythical

burial place of Osiris and the home of his cult and.  located in Upper Egypt and

considered by far one of the most important archeological sites in Egypt. The city

goes back to the time of the first dynasty more than 4500 years ago or even further.

The site was used as a burial ground for the king of the first and second dynasties

as the first pharaoh Narmer ‘ Menes‘ the founder of the first dynasty buried in

the temples of Abydos. The site also a location where the Abydos Boats were constructed.

The city of Abydos holds the great Osiris temple one of the oldest and the iconic

construction in ancient Egyptian history. The temple of Seti I  the gem of

Abydos is a highly beautiful and significant temple, it contains the Abydos King

list which holds the names of many kings of the first and second dynasties which

helped archeologists and historians to fully understand ancient Egyptian history

in the right manner. It a favorite burial place for many kings and queens of the old kingdom.

Ancient Egyptian Cities
Hermopolis City

The ancient city of Hermopolis a.k.a Khumunu is located on the border between

Upper and Lower Egypt. The city used to be one of the wealthiest and one of the

biggest religious centers in ancient Egypt after Thebes. The city’s history goes

back to the times of the old Kingdom; the city a quiet major in the Greco-

Roman period (332 BC-642 AD) but completely abandoned after the Islamic

conquest in 642 AD. The primary deity of the city Thoth the god of magic,

healing, and wisdom, and the patron of scribes. The city is also known

as the city of Hermes as the messenger greek god.

Ancient Egyptian Cities
Crocodiloplis City

The city of Crocodiloplis also known as Shedet, modern-day Fayyum, the ancient city

located on the western bank of the Nile southwest of the ancient city of Memphis.

The city became known as the crocodile city as it the worship center for Sobek

the crocodile god. The city can trace back to around 4000 BC to the early days

of the old kingdom which makes it one of the oldest cities in ancient Egypt. The city

had a powerful religious significance and political power as located in the

most fertile region in Egypt which made the city act as a haven for growing

different kinds of vegetables, flowers, corn, and olives.

Ancient Egyptian Cities
Elephantine City

The ancient city of Elephantine an ancient island that stood on the border

between Egypt and nubia. It sits on the north of the first cataract of the Nile river,

now considered to be part of Aswan. The city one of the most important

trading sites in ancient Egypt and a strong defensive site. It acted as a religious

center for Khnum the god of the source of the Nile and the annual flooding.

Ancient Egyptian Cities
Heliopolis City

One of the oldest and most important cities in the history of ancient Egypt is Heliopolis

The city probably the most important religious center ever created.

located in lower Egypt in northeastern Cairo.  known as

the sun as it was the cult center for the sun god Atum and his

birthplace and the creation of the deities of ancient Egypt Isis, Geb, Atum

(Ra), Nut, Osiris, Set, Tefnut, Nephthys, and Shu. Its city is famous for being

the home of the Bennu bird and the legendary Phoenix. The city was the

center of learning of philosophy and astronomy by great greek scholars like

Homer, Plato, Herodotus, and many others.


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