City Planning in Ancient Egypt


Akhenaten of the Nineteenth Dynasty built Akhetaten as the new capital city of Egypt. For the location, he chose Amarna, a fresh site on the eastern bank of the Nile, about 275 kilometers northwest of the old capital city of Thebes. After his death, the city was virtually abandoned. The degree of planning involved in the construction of Amarna involved for the most part the administrative and religious buildings of the Central City.Even the planned part of the city was somewhat hastily designed and assembled.

Most of the city was built along an eight kilometer north-south main street, referred to today as the “Royal Road,” which connected the Central City with the North City, an outlying satellite and the probable residence of the king.The king probably lived in the North Riverside Palace in the North City, a large building on the east side of the Royal Road and separate from the rest of the city, protected by a fortified wall which enclosed a complex of royal service buildings. 

On the opposite side of the road from the palace lay a group of some of the largest houses in the city, probably belonging to nobles who were very close to the king. An administrative building containing an enormous warehouse formed the northern limit of the North City. At the southern end of the Royal Road lay the Central City, a group of temples, palaces, and administrative buildings forming the executive hub of the city. 

The planned buildings of the Central City can be found in an inscription on one of the Amarna Boundary Stelae which marked the boundaries of the city at its founding.In it, Akhenaten describes the main buildings he will construct in his new capital:

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