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Tell al-Amarna Review
Little remains of the magnificent town of Akhetaten, which was founded by the apparently monotheist pharaoh Akhenaton in the late 18th Dynasty. Akhetaten was quite an impressive city, with a population of 10,000 in its short heyday, but it has almost completely vanished. Indeed, it is hard to imagine this large expanse of barren desert as a bustling town busy with government workers, commerce, and artisans. The few visible remains include the foundations of the North Palace and the Small Aten Temple with its single restored pillar.
The northern tombs are more easily visited than their southern counterparts and are quite interesting, although somewhat ruined. Not all the tombs are open, but they are all relatively similar in design and decoration. Most of the tombs consist of an outer court, a long hall and a broad hall, sometimes columned, and a statue niche. The tombs are decorated in the typical "Amarna" style, with depictions of the town and architecture and scenes of the pharaoh and his family rather than the tomb's owner. (The tomb owner generally is shown only in the doorway, hands raised in praise of Aten.) People tend to be shown with sharp chins, slightly distended bellies, and large hips and thighs. Some tombs show evidence of being reused in the Coptic period, so watch for crosses, niches, and fonts (Tomb 6, for example).
- Address: Tel el Amarna
- Phone: 086/922–8362
- Cost: £E30
- Hours: Daily 8–5
- Location: Tel el Amarna
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