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Ancient Egypt /
Religion
1. Introduction
2. Gods
3. Concepts
4. Cult
5. Cult centres
6. Necropolises
7. Structures

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Hypostyle hall



Hypostyle hall in Temple of Amon, Karnak, next to Luxor, Egypt
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Hypostyle hall in Temple of Amon, Karnak, next to Luxor, Egypt.

Hypostyle hall in Temple of Seti 1, Abydos, Egypt
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Hypostyle hall in Temple of Seti 1, Abydos.

Roof of hypostyle hall in Temple of Khnum, Esna, Egypt
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Roof of hypostyle hall in Temple of Khnum, Esna.

Large temple court dominated by columns, belonging to temples of Ancient Egypt and ancient Persia. The name is taken from the Greek term meaning "resting on pillars."
The hypostyle hall represented the middle section of a temple. In the foreground, and less sacred, was the courtyard and facade (pylon). Beyond the hypostyle hall were smaller, more secret and sacred rooms.
Hypostyle halls are noted for the density of their columns. This was the only way that the engineers of this time knew how to create large roofed spaces. The art of building arches and domes, which allow far larger roof spans, had not yet been discovered.
The builders of the temples compensated for the somewhat dark and awkward density of columns by creating a holy forest, in which each column was decorated with fine carvings and paintings. In the temple, the hypostyle hall symbolized the reed swamp growing near the primeval mound, reflecting a location closest to the source of the holy.
Today, most surviving Egyptian temples no longer have any roof, reflecting the challenges that the ancient builders faced. Among few good examples of extant roofed hypostyle halls are those at Abydos and Esna.
The halls were lit only through small windows high up on the walls and by torches. The roof and the architraves above the columns symbolized the sky.






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By Tore Kjeilen