Houses in Ancient Egypt Overview
The Pharaonic civilization is among the most ancient and impressive in the world. There are many lessons that we can benefit from learning about their lives and style of living. Housing has always been among the most important needs of humans. The same applies to the ancient Egyptians.
During the Stone Ages, before the establishment of the ancient Egyptian dynasties, Egyptians used to live in small rather primate huts. These were afterwards transformed into small cabins with a little number of rooms. The houses were mainly made out of simple bricks.
Of course, the houses varied largely according to the social classes of the ancient Egyptians. The house of the poor, in fact, never changed a lot from the past till today. It mainly consisted of one or two chambers where every member of the family lives. They were also mainly made out of mudbricks.
Unfortunately, historians were not able to gather a lot of information about the houses in Egypt during the period of the Old Kingdom. However, some drawings in ancient Egyptians tombs and temples assert the continuation of the usage of mud bricks. This is besides the fact, of course, that the houses of the rich were wider and more luxurious.
The 10th dynasty witnessed a landmark in houses’ construction in Egypt. This was the first time houses were built of two floors instead of only the ground floor. The second floor was mainly used as a storage area. The main room was constructed in the ground floor and it was accessed after passing through a long corridor for the privacy of the residences of the house.
Afterwards, an open courtyard was created before the corridor leading to the heart of the house. Many chambers and sections were surrounding this courtyard like storages, workshops, and everything else that would be of benefit for the household.
Generally speaking, during the Middle Kingdom and until the beginning of the New Kingdom, there were two types of houses. The house of the poorer including workers and peasants. These houses would consist of from 3 to 5 rooms with no decorations whatsoever. The houses of the governmental officials and nobles would include up to 70 rooms, halls, and chambers.
The brilliance of the ancient Egyptian architects is apparent in the hiding of the section of the owner of the house, his women, and children from the rest of the house.
The houses built in the New Kingdom were large and wide. They seemed as if they are small villas or palaces with a completely separate section for the owner of the house away from the public affairs or where the guests would be staying. This in addition to many grains’ storage places, a large kitchen, and many other sections according to the desire of the owners.
The palaces of the nobles and royal family members during the reign of the New Kingdom consisted of large halls with stone pillars, wide balconies, large chambers with some decorations and ornaments depending on the stature of the owner of the house.
The houses of the commons at the time were quite similar to one another. A short corridor would be leasing to the welcoming chamber that was less than 1 meter in diameters. There would be two or three rooms afterwards. There is also the main living room of the inhabitants of the house.
At the end of the New Kingdom, architects stopped designing special sections of the house for the women. This meant that the owner of the house and his wife shared the same room. This is in addition to another room for the sons and daughters. This is of course for economic reasons to save resources.
Religion also played a significant role in the buildings of ancient Egypt. Since they believed in the afterlife, they built the tombs out of the best types of rocks and various materials, while they constructed houses out of mud bricks because they wouldn’t be living in in long.
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Houses in Ancient Egypt FAQs
Egypt is safe country to visit with notable low crime rate, tourist attractions are well secured and there is no common negative attitude towards foreigners, with some sensible precautions and preparations you will feel at home and as safe as you'll ever be.
There is no special dress code when visiting Egypt tourist sites, modest dress is recommended in less tourist sites and there is no special concern for women traveling alone.
Egyptian Arabic is the most commonly spoken language in Egypt, it is also the national language in the country but Egyptians speak and understand English as they study it in school. Fewer Egyptians can speak other languages like French, Italian, Spanish, and German. Egyptians working in tourism sector are accustomed to speak enough English and other languages to fulfill the needs of most travelers.
Egypt is very connected to the world, it has many direct flights with Africa, Asia, European Union and United States. Visit Cairo Airport website for a full list of Airlines that fly to Egypt.
Duty free allowances on arrival to Egypt are 1L alcohol, 1L perfume, and either 200 cigarettes, 25 cigars or 200g tobacco. Duty free shops are available in Egypt airports and major tourist cities (Cairo, Luxor, Hurghada, El Gouna and Sharm El Sheikh).
Giza Pyramids and most monuments and Museums in Egypt open between 8 Am to 5 Pm. During Ramadan, the holy month of the Islamic calendar, be aware that these hours will change significantly.
Shops and stores in Egypt are usually opened from 10 Am to 10 Pm however in major cities it opens much later and some are open 24 hours.
Visitors are welcome in most mosques throughout the year. Modest dress is recommended, women should cover their hair, arms and legs. Both Women and men will remove their shoes before entering.
Taking pictures for people and streets is fine after people permission While Taking pictures for official type or army structures is not permitted. In most historical sites and museums in Egypt it is allowed to use camera, some of them may charge you for camera but at the Egyptian Museum and some similar historical sites it is prohibited and you will be asked to leave camera at reception before entering.
Egypt enjoys big hotel variety from world class luxury to simple hostel accommodations; Check in time in most hotels in Egypt is around midday, 12 or 1 PM.
There in no health concerns or vaccinations required to visit Egypt but we recommend to check with your own doctor, he knows you and your medical history best.
The currency in Egypt is the Egyptian pound (LE), it is about ,06 to USD. Money exchange is widely available, Credit cards are largely used in Egypt major cities and tourist spots.
We do not recommend the public buses in big cities. Taxi and limousine service are fine every where but price is negotiable. Trains go to all big cities in Egypt except Sinai and the Red Sea. Flights from / to tourist cities are always available.
Tipping in Egypt is an appreciated habitual attitude but is Not obligatory. Generally 5 to 10 EGP for small favors is fine for carrying luggage, parking a car or to guys who clean bathrooms. 10 % is fine in restaurant and spa. Tipping your tour guide and vehicle driver should be considered if you're provided with good to great service, feel free to give what you think your experience was worth.