Bronze Age African Architecture for Kids - Pyramids to Temples

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Pyramids to Temples

Pyramids at Giza (about 2500 BC)

Rulers always wanted to build big impressive buildings, but for a long time they couldn't afford it. Africa was the first place where the rulers got rich and powerful enough to get people to cut and haul stone for big buildings - the first ones are the Pyramids in Egypt. The Egyptians built the Pyramids about 3000 BC.

Stone columns
Temple at Luxor

These first buildings were just one tiny room with a big heap of stone on top - they were mostly solid, like a sand castle. That made them easier to build. But they needed a lot of stone, so they were super expensive. By about 2000 BC, architects in Egypt learned how to build temples using columns. These temples had wooden roofs, so that the roof would be lighter and the columns could hold it up . (The temple in the picture is missing its roof now.) They needed more skill, but less stone, so they were cheaper to build and still impressive. Egyptian pharaohs built many temples during the New Kingdom, around 1500 to 1200 BC.

outline of mudbrick foundations
Mudbrick buildings at Kerma (1700 BC)

In other parts of Africa, people were building houses and palaces and temples and tombs too. At Kerma, south of Egypt, they were building big buildings of mudbrick - that's cheaper than stone, but less impressive.

Advanced African Bronze Age Architecture from
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