Malkata

Malkata

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Malkata meaning the place where things are picked up in Arabic, is the site of an Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

ian palace complex built by the 18th Dynasty
Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt
The eighteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt is perhaps the best known of all the dynasties of ancient Egypt...

 pharaoh Amenhotep III
Amenhotep III
Amenhotep III also known as Amenhotep the Magnificent was the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty. According to different authors, he ruled Egypt from June 1386 to 1349 BC or June 1388 BC to December 1351 BC/1350 BC after his father Thutmose IV died...

. It is located on the West Bank of the Nile at Thebes
Thebes, Egypt
Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.-History:...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, in the desert to the south of Medinet Habu
Medinet Habu (temple)
Medinet Habu is the name commonly given to the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III, an important New Kingdom period structure in the location of the same name on the West Bank of Luxor in Egypt...

. The site also included a temple dedicated to Amenhotep III's Great Royal Wife
Great Royal Wife
Great Royal Wife or Chief King's Wife is the term used to refer to the chief wife of the pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. While most Ancient Egyptians were monogamous, the pharaoh would have had other, lesser wives and concubines in addition to the Great Royal Wife...

, Tiy, and honoring Sobek
Sobek
Sobek , and in Greek, Suchos was the deification of crocodiles, as crocodiles were deeply feared in the nation so dependent on the Nile River...

, the crocodile deity.

Palace of Amenhotep III


There are various structures in the desert, consisting of several residential palaces, a temple of Amun
Amun
Amun, reconstructed Egyptian Yamānu , was a god in Egyptian mythology who in the form of Amun-Ra became the focus of the most complex system of theology in Ancient Egypt...

, a festival hall, elite villas, houses for the relatives of the royal Family, apartments for attendants, and a desert altar termed the Kom al-Samak, all of which were constructed by mud bricks.

The palace was built in the 14th century BC
14th century BC
The 14th century BC is a century which lasted from the year 1400 BC until 1301 BC.-Events:* 1397 BC: Pandion I, legendary King of Athens, dies after a reign of 40 years and is succeeded by his son Erechtheus II of Athens....

 and its ancient name was Per-Hay, "House of Rejoicing".
Originally, the palace was known as the Palace of the Dazzling Aten
Aten
Aten is the disk of the sun in ancient Egyptian mythology, and originally an aspect of Ra. The deified Aten is the focus of the monolatristic, henotheistic, or monotheistic religion of Atenism established by Amenhotep IV, who later took the name Akhenaten in worship in recognition of Aten...

. Built mostly out of mud-brick, it was Amenhotep's residence throughout most the later part of his reign. Construction began around year 11 of his reign and continued until the king moved there permanently around his year 29. Once completed, it was the largest royal residence in Egypt.

To the east of the palace a large ceremonial lake was dug. The palace area was connected to the Nile
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

 through a system of canals, which end in a large habour or quay, now called Birket Habu.

Layout of the palace


The palace contained many audience halls, central halls, courtyards, villas, smaller palace complexes for the royal family, and apartments for officials. A harbor and canal connected the palace with the Nile
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

, allowing easy travel across the river to the city of Thebes
Thebes, Egypt
Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.-History:...

, which was situated on the eastern bank. There is little evidence of this lake today and little but the foundations of the palace itself remain.

The royal apartment featured a bedroom, a dressing room, a private audience chamber, and a harem, which, after the reign of Amenhotep III
Amenhotep III
Amenhotep III also known as Amenhotep the Magnificent was the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty. According to different authors, he ruled Egypt from June 1386 to 1349 BC or June 1388 BC to December 1351 BC/1350 BC after his father Thutmose IV died...

, was used simply for storage. The palace had a central courtyard, and across from the pharaoh's rooms were apartments for his daughters and son. His Great Royal Wife, Tiye
Tiye
Tiye was the daughter of Yuya and Tjuyu . She became the Great Royal Wife of the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III....

, had her own smaller palace complex diagonally across from the pharaoh's. The palace grounds contained gardens and a large pleasure lake.

Remains exist of a temple of Amun
Amun
Amun, reconstructed Egyptian Yamānu , was a god in Egyptian mythology who in the form of Amun-Ra became the focus of the most complex system of theology in Ancient Egypt...

 to the north of the palace, within the complex. A "desert altar" on the outskirts of the ruins has been excavated also. Remains of a temple to the goddess Isis
Isis
Isis or in original more likely Aset is a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the matron of nature and magic...

 lies south of the main palace complex.

Malqata was managed by a veritable army of servants and staff. Remains of kitchens near the royal chamber have been found, as well as servant quarters. The palace resembled a complete city, with officials in charge of different sections such as the gardens and the different apartments and quarters.

Palace decorations



Fragments of plastered wall paintings have given archaeologists a glimpse of how the palace was decorated. Various paintings of the goddess Nekhbet
Nekhbet
In Egyptian mythology, Nekhbet was an early predynastic local goddess who was the patron of the city of Nekheb, her name meaning of Nekheb...

 made up the ceiling of the royal bedchamber. The walls were decorated with scenes of wildlife - flowers, reeds, and animals in the marshes, as well as decorative geometric designs, complete with rosettes. Ornate wooden columns painted to resemble lilies supported the ceilings. In the palace archaeologists also found some paintings of the great royal wife, Tiye
Tiye
Tiye was the daughter of Yuya and Tjuyu . She became the Great Royal Wife of the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III....

. Rare traces of original wall paintings are still visible on site, despite the badly ruined state of the mudbrick walls.

History of the palace


The palace seems to have been begun by Amenhotep III
Amenhotep III
Amenhotep III also known as Amenhotep the Magnificent was the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty. According to different authors, he ruled Egypt from June 1386 to 1349 BC or June 1388 BC to December 1351 BC/1350 BC after his father Thutmose IV died...

 in the early 14th century BC and the site was occupied as late as the Roman-Byzantine Period
Aegyptus (Roman province)
The Roman province of Egypt was established in 30 BC after Octavian defeated his rival Mark Antony, deposed his lover Queen Cleopatra VII and annexed the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt to the Roman Empire. The province encompassed most of modern-day Egypt except for the Sinai Peninsula...

. Malqata was most definitely Amenhotep's main residence near Thebes, the capital of ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, and therefore, probably his main palace in all of the country. Remains of other smaller palaces in Thebes
Thebes, Egypt
Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.-History:...

 and other cities throughout Egypt have been found, but none so large as Amenhotep's palace at Malqata.

Malqata was abandoned by Akhenaten
Akhenaten
Akhenaten also spelled Echnaton,Ikhnaton,and Khuenaten;meaning "living spirit of Aten") known before the fifth year of his reign as Amenhotep IV , was a Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt who ruled for 17 years and died perhaps in 1336 BC or 1334 BC...

, Amenhotep III's son and successor when he moved the capital to his new city at Amarna
Amarna
Amarna is an extensive Egyptian archaeological site that represents the remains of the capital city newly–established and built by the Pharaoh Akhenaten of the late Eighteenth Dynasty , and abandoned shortly afterwards...

 in order to break the corrupt influence of the powerful priests of the Temple of Amun, however, it may have been re-inhabited by the youthful Tutankhamen, when the traditional religion and capital were restored and the priests of the temple regained their influence in the interwoven religion and government of Ancient Egypt.

Tutankhamen's successor, Ay
Ay
Ay was the penultimate Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt's 18th dynasty. He held the throne of Egypt for a brief four-year period , although he was a close advisor to two and perhaps three of the pharaohs who ruled before him and was the power behind the throne during Tutankhamun's reign...

, probably inhabited the palace briefly, and pharaoh Horemheb
Horemheb
Horemheb was the last Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty from either 1319 BC to late 1292 BC, or 1306 to late 1292 BC although he was not related to the preceding royal family and is believed to have been of common birth.Before he became pharaoh, Horemheb was the commander in chief...

 after him as well, but by the ascension of Ramses II, it was simply a minor residence, as the capital was moved to Pi-Ramesses
Pi-Ramesses
Pi-Ramesses was the new capital built by the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt Pharaoh Ramesses II at Qantir near the old site of Avaris. The city had previously served as a summer palace under Seti I and may have been originally founded by Ramesses I Pi-Ramesses (Pi-Ramesses Aa-nakhtu, meaning...

 in the far north.

Excavations


The palace ruins were "rediscovered" several times: in 1888 by Daressy
Georges Émile Jules Daressy
Georges Émile Jules Daressy was a French Egyptologist.He worked from 1887 in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Amongst his responsibilies was the museums its move from Bulaq to Giza in 1891, and then to the present day location in 1901. He is an important author of the general catalog of the museum...

; by the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a renowned art museum in New York City. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided into nineteen curatorial departments. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan's Museum Mile, is one of the...

 in 1910-1920; by University Museum of Pennsylvania in the 1970s; and since 1985, they have been the site of excavations by the Archaeological Mission of Waseda University
Waseda University
, abbreviated as , is one of the most prestigious private universities in Japan and Asia. Its main campuses are located in the northern part of Shinjuku, Tokyo. Founded in 1882 as Tokyo Senmon Gakko, the institution was renamed "Waseda University" in 1902. It is known for its liberal climate...

.

Temple of Isis


Just south of the palace there is a temple devoted to Isis
Isis
Isis or in original more likely Aset is a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the matron of nature and magic...

 which was built in the Roman period. The modern name for this temple is Deir al-Shalwi.

Roman settlement and cemetery


Excavations of the area by the Waseda team unearthed the remains of a Roman settlement and cemetery, finding remains from the times of Trajan
Trajan
Trajan , was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD. Born into a non-patrician family in the province of Hispania Baetica, in Spain Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in Spain, in 89 Trajan supported the emperor against...

 and Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

.

Malkata today


Next to the site is a modern village. Here there is a tiny church and monastery dedicated to St Tawdros.

External links