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Cyclopean structures of antiquity


The ARCHITECTURE, the art and science of building.

The earliest architectural structures provide only partial protection. The Bedouin tent or the Indian wigwam served as shelter from sun, wind and rain, but almost failed to keep out the cold; in a needle Eskimos also found refuge from wild animals.

But man seeks to embody in the forms of architecture and his pursuit of the beautiful, their ideas and hopes. Every piece of architecture is design but not all design becomes a work of architecture.

The architecture has three fundamental characteristics. First, the building should meet its intended purpose. If you understand the functionality of the building according to its purpose, then, in the words theorist of functionalism of Louis Sullivan, the best buildings of all time were functional. Secondly, in addition to utilitarian purposes, the architecture expresses the spiritual needs of a person, consisting in the creation and contemplation of beautiful, harmonious images. The third criterion for evaluating architectural structures such as its reliability.

Designs of buildings are determined primarily by the tastes of the people and the spirit of the time.

Architecture requires visual unity, artistic integrity, whatever functions may have the construction. The various elements should fit each other, and each element a. appearance of the building may give some idea of its interior. Thus, the facade of a Gothic Cathedral allows to make a conclusion about its or its three-nave structure. But there is another approach: nothing in the exterior of the Louvre Museum in Paris speaks of three arches, which organized its internal space.

The majority of buildings consists of several rooms, and one of the tasks of the architect is to consider the communication links between them. The building is nice and comfortable if it has optimal proportions. The proportions of the human body are often served as a module in the construction of buildings. To convey a sense of “human action” of large buildings, the architect introduces the intermediate elements – portals, doors and window frames, columns and balustrades, emphasizing the scale of structures; this is one of the functions of decoration in architecture.

The shape of the structure depends on construction material. The ancient stone buildings due to the fragility of the stone had to have support very close to one another, so with a significant size of the building required a variety of supports. Wood and steel, by contrast, allow you to place reliance on a sufficiently large distance from each other; the structure made of these materials, the width of the openings may even exceed the height. Important also such material properties as lightness and malleability in the processing, texture and color.

The architecture of the building is influenced by characteristics of the site and the climate of the area. View, the brightness of sunlight and prevailing wind direction – all these factors can emphasize the dignity of the building. In those areas where a lot of snow, roofs of houses, decided to do high and steep; for the Mediterranean, where it often rains, and snow almost never happens, which is characteristic of roofs with a small slope; in dry regions, enough of the flat roof that protects from the sun. Cold climate requires buildings closed to conserve heat; in the South, first of all, ensure good ventilation.


In prehistoric times the ancient Egyptians settled in the Nile valley. Rocks which bordered the valley, were to them an inexhaustible source of building stone. It took centuries to master the laborious process of processing stone blocks. However, before the Egyptians learned to increase the strength of bricks dried in the sun, keeping the stalks of papyrus and Lotus plants, found in abundance along the banks of the river.

For ancient Egyptians, life after death, extending to eternity, was much more important than earthly existence. Therefore the residential house and even the Palace (as in the tell El-Amarna) could be constructed from flimsy materials, but the tomb and the temple of stone only.


To achieve immortality was required to save not only the soul of the deceased (by means of prayers and sacrifices), but his mummified body. In the era of the old Kingdom (2880-2250 BC) was invented the method of preserving the mummies and there was a type of tomb, called a mastaba. The plan is a simple rectangle, whose walls are slightly inclined inward, and the roof is flat. Sloping corridor led from the roof through the thickness of mastaba structures down to the burial chamber. After the burial, the corridor is completely covered. Inside mastaba located serdab – tight chamber, where the immortal soul of the deceased (“Ka”) continued to live; it was believed that it nourished depicted on the walls of dishes. Nearby is a small chapel with a false door – a narrow crack leading into serdab; the walls of the chapel were covered with frescoes and bas-reliefs with scenes from the life of the deceased.


Know were buried in mastabas, the pharaohs in great tombs – the pyramids. These giant structures were erected, fusing stone blocks on barges on the Nile and then pulling them on an inclined plane to the top: one layer of stones (more than a meter tall) over the other. The pyramids were faced with limestone slabs, fitted together so tightly that it seemed as if they were made of solid stone. On the North side (of the pyramid accurately oriented to the cardinal points) long corridor down through the thickness of stone to the rock base. From this corridor another climbed up to the burial chambers. After the burial, the corridors were covered with stones to ensure the preservation of the mummy. Almost in the centre of the pyramid was situated a Royal chamber with a sarcophagus, which followed the form of mastaba. In the interior of the pyramid could be even the so-called chamber of the Queen and several other small cameras that were supposed to play the role of serdab. The chapel was located in a separate building at the foot of the pyramid.

These huge tombs became a symbol of eternity, a testimony of the yearning of the ancient Egyptians to stability. In the Middle Kingdom (2050-1700 BC) the pharaohs were buried in rock tombs at Beni-Hassan. The entrance to the funerary chapel was decorated with a portico of two columns of hexadecimal; from the chapel to the burial chamber was a corridor leading. As in the mastabas, features wall reliefs and paintings were scenes from everyday life of the deceased, his family and servants. The treasures kept in the mastabas, the pyramids and the rock tombs, subsequently attracted the robbers.

The builders of the era of the New Kingdom (1600-1100 BC) has created deep underground tombs of the Valley of the Kings. Gallery length up to 46 m were penetrated into the thickness of the rocks at the bottom of them and led them to the premises, carrying out functions of serdab and burial chambers. Entrance carefully camouflaged with debris. Well hidden from “prying” eyes of the tomb of Tutankhamen was discovered by Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter in only 20 V. Cm. also the PYRAMIDS.


Funeral chapel existed separately from the burial, long before the tombs of the Valley of the Kings. At Giza the temple of the Sphinx was connected with the great pyramid closed transition. In the temple of hewn granite monoliths supported a stone roof; the Central span was higher side, passing into the light through the top side of the window.

To the era of the New Kingdom the temple already acquired a canonical form. Alley, on both sides lined Sphinx, led to the monumental entrance, decorated in the form of two pylons. On either side of the entrance gate stood a giant statue of gods or rulers. The exterior facades of the temple were covered with reliefs, glorifying the power of Pharaoh and of his victory. The only doorway, which was located between the pylons, led to a sunlit peristyle courtyard surrounded by a colonnade. After the peristyle and continuing to move along the Central axis, it was possible to get into hypostyle – columned hall, the flat roof is supported by closely set posts; behind it there was a sanctuary on the sacred Barca Pharaoh. Smaller meeting rooms around the sanctuary were used as treasuries, warehouses, etc. as one moves from the entrance to the sanctuary ceiling fell and the floor raised, as if squeezing the space. Since there were no Windows, was lit by hypostyle doors leading from the peristyle, and to the sanctuary reached only a weak glow.

Great building
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