History Embalmed

Ancient Egyptian Capitals

  • Ancient Egyptian Capitals - Upper Egypt
  • Ancient Egyptian Capitals
  • Ancient Egyptian Capitals - Lower Egypt
  • Capitals of Upper & Lower in the Old Kingdom and the First Intermediate Period
  • Ancient Egyptian Capitals
  • Thebes & Memphis Capitals of Egypt

Ancient Egyptian Capitals
The land of the Ancient Egyptians originally consisted of two parts which were called Upper and Lower Egypt. Upper Egypt was the valley area in the South and Lower Egypt was the delta area in the North. Upper and Lower Egypt each had their own governments and rulers. Upper and Lower Egypt were eventually united in 3118BC.

Ancient Egyptian Capitals - Upper Egypt
Upper Egypt consisted of a long, narrow strip of land which was at its widest 13 miles wide and occupied both banks of the Nile River. Upper Egypt stretched for over 750 miles from Lake Moeris to the the border with Nubia. Upper Egypt was called Ta-shema meaning the Land of the Reed. Upper Egypt was divided into 22 districts. The main cities of Upper Egypt were as follows:

  • Thinis

  • Nennusu (Heracleopolis)

  • Khmun (Hermopolis)

  • Abydos

  • Thebes (located at the present day Luxor)

Ancient Egyptian Capitals - Lower Egypt
Lower Egypt was the Nile Delta in the north of Egypt which was formed by the seven branches of the river which flowed into the Mediterranean. The Delta area was rich in arable land and was known as Ta-mehu meaning the Land of the Papyrus Plant. Lower Egypt was divided into 20 districts. The main cities of Lower Egypt were as follows:

  • Avaris

  • Tanis

  • Sais

  • Bubastis

  • Heliopolis

  • Memphis  

Capitals of Upper & Lower in the Old Kingdom and the First Intermediate Period - Hierakonpolis & Thinis
During the time of the Old Kingdom and the First Intermediate Period (1st–11th Dynasties) Lower Egypt was ruled from the capital at Pe in the northwest Delta. Upper Egypt was ruled from two capitals which were located at Nekhen (Hierakonpolis) or Thinis (near Abydos).

Ancient Egyptian Capitals - Memphis
Memphis, in Lower Egypt, was established as the capital of Egypt which founded around 3100 BC and is the legendary city of Menes, the King who united Upper and Lower Egypt. Menes founded the first dynasty of the Old Kingdom. Memphis continued to be the capital of Egypt but during the First Intermediate Period (2181 BC - 2040 BC) and the 7th - 10th Egyptian Dynasties Egypt saw a breakdown of central government. Following this period of unrest the Middle Kingdom (2040 BC - 1782 BC) which included the 11th - 13th - Egyptian Dynasties saw a change in the capitals.

Ancient Egyptian Capitals - Thebes, Amarna, Memphis and Alexandria
The Pharaohs of the New Kingdom dynasties were based at Thebes. A change in capitals occurred during the reign of the heretic king Akhenaten (1351 -1337) who constructed a new capital, Akhetaten ('Horizon of Aten'), at the site known today as Amarna. The site of Akhetaten was halfway between Memphis and Thebes. After Akhenaten's death, his son-in-law Tutankhaten abandoned the Aten cult and the new capital and moved the Egyptian government back to Memphis and Thebes. By the 25th Dynasty a line of Kushite kings based in their capital at Napata. In 332BC Alexander the Great occupied Egypt and his general, Ptolemy, became king and founded the Ptolemaic dynasty. The city of Alexandria was founded and became the capital.

List of Ancient Egyptian Capitals
The following list details the Ancient Egyptian capitals:

  • Thinis

  • Memphis

  • Thebes

  • Akhetaten - at the site now known as Amarna

  • Memphis & Thebes

  • Alexandria

  • Al-Qahira (Cairo) which was established in 969AD and is the present capital

Ancient Egyptian Capitals
Each section of this Egyptian website addresses all topics and provides interesting facts and information about the Golden Age of Egypt. The Sitemap provides full details of all of the information and facts provided about the fascinating subject of Egypt, the Ancient Egyptians and of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun, King Tut.

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Ancient Egypt

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