Meaning and Function of the Great Hypostyle Hall

Mansions of the Gods: Egyptian Temple Design

Egyptians called their temples "mansions of the gods" and considered them the deities' houses. Like other Egyptian homes, most temples shared a three-part design consisting of:

  • An outer courtyard

  • A central public room

  • Private inner chambers

Visitors entered the house through a doorway in its walled outer courtyard that might have a portico porch at one end resting on columns. Opposite the main entrance was a second doorway leading to a roofed public room where homeowners received visitors and carried out important family activities such as worship of the household's deities. Even in modest houses, this public room had a high roof supported by at least one pillar and small windows set high in the walls to admit sunlight. Behind this public room lay the family's private quarters.