Early African Architecture for Kids

Kidipede is a history and science encyclopedia for kids, with more than 2000 pages of expert answers to your questions.

African Architecture for Kids

Pyramids at Giza (about 2500 BC)

Africa was probably the place where people first built houses for themselves out of mud and sticks, because people lived in Africa before they lived anywhere else. This was the earliest architecture. We don't know much about it, because mud and stick houses don't last as well as stone houses.

Capitals in the Temple of Zoser
Temple of Zoser

By 3000 BC, however, African people were beginning to build in stone, in places where stone was available. They built the pyramids in Old Kingdom Egypt, about 2700-2500 BC, and they built smaller stone tombs known as mastabas. At first they built only small stone buildings - the mastabas - or large stone buildings that were solid all the way through - these were the Pyramids. Further south, in Meroe and Axum (modern Sudan and Ethiopia), African architects were also building pyramids about this time, but they were smaller than the ones in Egypt.

Temple of Amon at Luxor
Temple of Amon at Luxor

By about 2000 BC, architects in Egypt learned how to build temples using columns. These temples generally had wooden roofs, so that the roof would be lighter and the columns could hold it up. Egyptian pharaohs built many temples during the New Kingdom, around 1500 to 1200 BC.

More on African Architecture

To find out more about African Architecture, check out these books on Amazon or in your local library:

Main Africa page
Main architecture page
Kidipede - History for Kids home page

Copyright 2012-2014 Karen Carr, Portland State University. This page last updated 2014. Powered by Dewahost.

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