Tell Al-Amarna

 

It is the place chosen by Akhenaton on the eastern bank of the Nile to build the capital of his kingdom called Akht Aton     ( Horizon of Aton ) for the worship of A ton which is represented by the Sun disk emitting rays which end with human hands bestowing life on the universe . This area still has monuments of the temple and places where Akhenaton and his wife Nefertiti lived and also the royal tombs of which the of which the most important are Huya and Mery RaII tomb and the tomb of the high prieat Mery

Akhenaten's family                Ra 1st .

 

 

 

       

 

Parts of the temples palaces and tombs still stand despite attempts by Haremhab to destroy those monuments after Akhenaten's death.

 

This provisional period, called also the Amarna time, produced eminent artistic representations. Among other things, the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti. After the death of Akhenaten (1364-1347 BC), the newly established residential city was deserted and the court of his son-in-law Tutankhamun was re-established at Luxor.

 

Tutankhamen

 

 

 

Beni Hasan to Tell Al-Amarna

 

Forty-eight kilometres south of Minya on the west bank, Mallawi is infamous in Egypt as the home town of President Sadat’s assassin, Khalid al-Islambouli. A centre of armed rebellion throughout the early 1990s, the town is now calmer, but there’s little to linger over, even in the two-storey museum (admission EŁ20/10; 9am-2pm Sat-Tue & Thu, to noon Fri), which displays tomb paintings, glassware, sculpture including a limestone statue of a Ptolemaic priest, baboon and pencil-thin ibis mummies, and other artefacts from nearby Hermopolis and Tuna al-Gebel, in no particular chronological order.

 

Eight kilometers north of Mallawi, near the town of Al-Ashmunein, Hermopolis is the site of the ancient city of Khemenu. Capital of the 15th Upper Egyptian nome, its name (Eight Town) refers to four pairs of snake and frog gods that, according to one Egyptian creation myth, existed here before the first earth appeared out of the waters of chaos. This was also an important cult centre of Thoth, god of wisdom and writing, whom the Greeks identified with their god Hermes, hence the city’s Greek name, ‘Hermopolis’.

 

Little remains of the wealthy ancient city, the most striking ruins being two colossal 14th-century-BC quartzite statues of Thoth as a baboon. These supported part of Thoth’s temple, which was rebuilt throughout antiquity. A Middle Kingdom temple gateway and a pylon of Ramses II, using stone plundered from nearby Tell al-Amarna, also survive. The most interesting ruins are from the Coptic basilica, which reused columns and even the baboon statues, though first removing their giant phalluses. The ‘open-air museum’ is officially free, but if you arrive with a police escort you will be expected to pay baksheesh.

 

Several kilometers south of Hermopolis and then 5km along a road into the desert, Tuna al-Gebel (admission EŁ25; 8am-5pm) was the necropolis of Hermopolis. Given the lack of tourists in the area, check with the Minya tourist office that the site is open.

 

At one time Tuna al-Gebel belonged to Akhetaten, the short-lived capital of Pharaoh Akhenaten, and along the road you pass one of 14 stelae marking the boundary of the royal city. The large stone stele carries Akhenaten’s vow never to expand his city beyond this western limit of the city’s farmlands and associated villages, nor to be buried anywhere else. To the left, two damaged statues of the pharaoh and his wife Nefertiti hold offering tables; the sides are inscribed with figures of three of their daughters.

South of the stele, which is located about 5km past the village of Tuna al-Gebel, are the catacombs and tombs of the residents and sacred animals of Hermopolis. The dark catacomb galleries once held millions of mummified ibis, the ‘living image of Thoth’, and thousands of mummified baboons, sacrificed and embalmed by the Ptolemaic and Roman faithful. The subterranean cemetery extends for at least 3km, perhaps even all the way to Hermopolis. You need a torch to explore the galleries.

 

 

                    

    Tomb of Isadora at Tuna Gebel        Tomb of Petosiris        Royal Tomb at Tell el Amarna
 

 

The nearby Tomb of Petosiris was built by a high priest of Thoth from the early Ptolemaic period. His temple like tomb, like his sarcophagus in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, shows early Greek influence. The wonderful colored relief's of farming and the deceased being given offerings also show Greek influence, with the figures wearing Greek dress.

The guard may open several other tombs (for a tip), the most interesting being the Tomb of Isadora, a wealthy woman who drowned in the Nile during the rule of Antonius Pius (AD 138–161). The tomb has few decorations, but does contain the unfortunate woman’s mummy, its teeth, hair and fingernails clearly visible.

 

                

 

The Tombs of Tell Al-Armarna


Those 25 rock-cut tombs can be divided into a northern and southern group. Many of them were not finished because of the re-shift of power. the colorful reliefs are famous, because of a newly adopted artistic language of expression, unique to that period. Akhenaton's royal tomb is in a ravine about 13km up Wadi Darb Al-Melek, the valley that divides the northern and southern sections of the cliff.

 

 

                                       Queen Nefertiti                                    King Akhenaton

 

 

 

 

 

Temple of Aten

 

The Great Temple of the Aten

The Great Aten Temple is on the northern edge of the Central City. It is partly covered over by the modern cemetery of el-Till. The enclosure wall for this temple extended back from the modern road for some 750 meters, and is now represented by a low, straight ridge. Within, the sanctuary was very similar to that in the Small Aten Temple and is marked by a group of isolated rubble heaps near the back.

 

 

The Small Temple of the Aten

In recent years, some consolidation and restoration has been carried out at the Small Aten Temple. This included the erection of a replica column. A prominent brick enclosure wall also remains, which was once strengthened by towers on the outside. There are brick pylons at the entrance, and others which subdivided the interior of this building. In the back of the temple stood the sanctuary originally built of limestone and sandstone.

This temple had a foundation layer of gypsum that is now covered over by sand. However, modern stone blocks have been laid atop the sand in order to provide the basic outlines of this temple.

 

A circular walk beginning at the middle of the north side of this small temple's enclosure wall reveals other parts of the Central City. There is a tall ridge of sand and some rubble that runs northward from across the street through the middle of a small palace built of mud brick. Known as the King's House, it probably accommodated the Royal Family on their visits from their North Palace.

Behind the King's House and the Small Aten Temple (further from the Nile River) were a group of government buildings built of mud brick. This is actually where the famous Amarna Letters were discovered by a peasant lady in 1888.

 

 

The Bridge:

At the end of this ridge is the massive foundations for a bridge that crossed the so called Royal Road in front of the King's House by means of brick piers. There remains some ancient timbers that once bound the brickwork together. On the far side of the road was the Great Palace, consisting of a complex of courts and halls of which only foundations remain.

 

 

The Royal Tomb

 

The Royal Tomb built for Akhenaten  lies in a narrow side valley leading off of the Royal Wadi some six kilometers form its mouth. Its basic design and proportions are not unlike those of the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank at Thebes (modern Luxor). However, it was intended for several people, including the king, a princes and probably Queen Tiy so there are additional burial chambers. There is also an unfinished annex that may have been intended for Nefertiti.

Here, the quality of the rock is poor, and so the decorations of the tomb were cut into a thin layer of gypsum plaster. Hence, most of the decorations have not survived and most of what is left is in the chambers of princess Meketaten.

 

 

Other Ruins

 

       

 

At Kom el-Nana, south of the main city and east of the modern village of el-Hagg Qandil is an enclosure thought to have surrounded another of Akhenaten's sun temples. Recent excavations have revealed brick ceremonial buildings and the foundations of two stone shrines. The northern side was occupied by a Christian monastery during the 5th and 6th centuries, AD.

 

There is also far south of the city an unusual cult center known as the Maru-Aten. While it has completely disappeared under the cultivated land, this appears to have been a special function cult structure.

Amarna is unique in Egypt. Even cities built up by foreign rulers did not suffer its fate. It was established most probably from scratch, and appears to have been completely abandoned a short time after Akhenaten's death. Today, considerable research continues at this location that should eventually uncover more of the secrets of the most interesting pharaoh's reign. 

 

 

Batroun

This is a charming spot

 

Batroun, on the coast south of Tripoli, was known as "Batruna" in the famous Tell al-Amarna letters of the 14th century B.C., although its history goes back even further. The town was called "Borrys" in Greco-Roman times and during the Crusader era it was a seigniory dependent on the County of Tripoli.

Batroun's fishing port, undoubtedly of great antiquity, still supplies local markets with fresh fish. Along the sea front starting from the north end of town you will find the century-old Maronite cathedral of St. Stephan (Mar Stefan), the beautiful 19th century Greek Orthodox Church of St. George and the tiny chapel known as ``Sadiyat al-Bahr," or Our Lady of the Sea. This simple white-washed building has a wide verandah overlooking the sea and an excellent view of Batroun's sea wall, which is what remains of a huge quarry famous in Hellenistic and Roman times.

 

Near the roadside just above the town is the ancient church of Mar Nohra built into the rock. From the wooden door fashioned from tree slabs to the yard shaded with a large Mediterranean oak .

 

 

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