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New Kingdom Architecture: Introduction/Characteristics Thebes: Capital of a New Egyptian Empire Temple of Amon-Ra at Karnak Temple of Luxor "Primeval Hill" at Medinet Habu Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut The Amarna Period Temple and Cenotaph of Sety I at Abydos The New Kingdom witnessed the appearance of the large Egyptian temples - the most impressive form of Ancient Egyptian architecture after the Old Kingdom's pyramids.
There are two types of sanctuary: a mortuary temple on the west bank and a temple to the living god on the east bank of the Nile.
So many cults gathered around the main temple of Amon-Ra, the king of the gods, that Karnak had the name "Collector of Holy Places." The decisive influence on planning during the Eighteenth Dynasty was Amon's taking over of the essence of the sun god.
The connection with the Heliopolitan place of worship of Ra, with its pylons, obelisks, and wide courts, was thus supplied by the essence of the national deity.
Two of the best preserved Egyptian temples, both of the Ptolemaic period (304-30 BCE), at Dendera and Edfu, are dedicated to the goddess Hathor and the god Horus respectively.
Following the collapse of order at the end of the Middle Kingdom the "Hyksos," mercenary leaders from the Near East, established themselves in the east Delta and gradually extended their rule to Memphis and Middle Egypt during the 2nd Intermediate Period (1650-1550).
The sanctuaries of the gods of Thebes were certainly independent buildings that were erected for specific reasons and especially in connection with jubilee festivals as "memorials of the kings for their father Amon," but their planning played an important role for the neighboring cults.
Also on the west bank, further to the south and beyond the limits of the original city there has been found a "primeval hill" that was probably already extant in the Middle Kingdom.
The largest group of temples is at modern Luxor (ancient Thebes).
The basic temple plan was an approach avenue, often lined by sphinxes, leading to two great entrance pylons (usually with two obelisks, emblems of the sun, before them); next an open court, a hypostyle (columned) hall and last, the sanctuaries.
The active construction of temples for the gods and of royal mortuary temples began immediately under the first kings of the Eighteenth Dynasty, and it aimed at giving monumental expression to the various theological systems newly drawn together; their arrangement turned the entire area of Thebes into "Amon's city."The district of the capital city of Thebes extended along both banks of the Nile.
On the east bank stood the royal palaces, with the government buildings and residential quarters between the boundaries of the principal sanctuary of Karnak on the north and the sanctuary of Luxor on the south, both dating from the Middle Kingdom.