Due to the rich farmland along the banks of the Nile River, Ancient Egypt’s cities grew along its course. The average city was enclosed by a wall and had two entrances. The town’s main thoroughfare ran across the middle, and smaller, winding lanes connected to it. Mud-brick was used to create the homes and other structures. In most cases, a new building was simply constructed on top of a one that had been destroyed by flooding.
Ancient Egypt had certain specialized cities. Government employees and officials lived in political towns, for instance the capital cities of Memphis and Thebes. Other settlements were religious communities built around a significant temple. Yet more villages were created to accommodate laborers for significant construction initiatives like the pyramids.
In ancient Egypt, the capital cities were the biggest and most significant ones. The nation’s capital shifted over time. Thinis was the first capital city. Memphis, Thebes, Avaris, Akhetaten, Tanis, Sais, and Alexandria are a some of the later capitals.
Memphis – From 2950 BC until 2180 BC, Memphis served as Egypt’s capital. According to some historians, Memphis was the world’s largest city at its height. Even after Egypt’s capital was shifted to Thebes, Memphis remained a sizable and significant city. It was also a major religious hub with numerous temples. Ptah, the god of creation and artisans, served as Memphis’ primary deity.
Thebes – Around 2135 BC, Thebes first served as Egypt’s capital. It was intermittently used as the capital until about 1279 BC. As the biggest and best towns in Egypt, Thebes and Memphis frequently competed with one another. Thebes was a significant city in terms of politics and religion. The Temple of Luxor and the Temple of Karnak were just two of the important temples that it was home to. Thebes is close to the location of the Valley of the Kings.
Alexandria – From 332 BC to 641 AD, Alexandria served as the nation’s capital. When Alexander the Great overcame Egypt and one of his generals founded the Ptolemy Dynasty, the city was made the country’s capital. For for a thousand years, Alexandria served as the seat of government. The Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, made the city famous in antiquity. It was also referred to as the global intellectual hub and the location of the biggest library. Alexandria is situated on the Mediterranean Sea coast in northern Egypt. Today, it is Egypt’s second-largest city.
Amarna – During the time of Pharaoh Akhenaten, Amarna served as Egypt’s capital. The pharaoh established his own faith, which was centered on the god Aten. He created the city in Aten’s name. After Akhenaten’s demise, it was abandoned shortly after.
Abydos – Abydos is a very old Egyptian city that existed before the time of the Old Kingdom. Because it was thought that the god Osiris was buried there, the city was one of Egypt’s holiest locations. As a result, the city saw the construction of multiple temples. The Temple of Seti I is the most well-known structure still standing. Additionally, a few of Egypt’s first pharaohs were interred close to Abydos.
Hermopolis – On the line between Upper and Lower Egypt stood the city of Hermopolis, also known as Khmunu. It was both a prosperous resort town and a place of worship. According to Egyptian mythology, this city witnessed the first daybreak. Thoth was the main deity revered at this place.
Crocodilopolis – Shedet was known as Crocodilopolis in Greek. The cult of the crocodile god Sobek lived there. This city, according to archaeologists, was established approximately 4000 BC. The oldest city in Egypt is currently known as Faiyum.
Elephantine was a city that stood on an island that between Egypt and Nubia. The city operated as a commercial hub as well as a defensive fort. Khnum, the water god, called it home.
Kom Ombo – Many trade routes from Nubia to the rest of Egypt ran through the trading hub of Kom Ombo. Later, the Temple of Kom Ombo in the city rose to fame. The city was once known as Nubt, which is Egyptian for “city of gold.”