Built on the site of modern Amarna is Akhenaten’s city (c. 1341 BCE). Rejecting Thebes as the religious capital, Akhetaten believed that divine inspiration took him to this fertile flood plain. Here he could worship the only god, Aten, and glorify the royal family. Aten had two open-air temples dedicated to him in the ‘Sacred’ centre of the city. Opposite was the balconied Great Palace (where the royal family ‘greeted’ its public) and administrative buildings used for government business, such as tax collection. North of the sacred city, and facing the Royal Avenue, were the residential palaces, which occupied four acres. The North Palace residence, known as ‘The Palace of Nefertiti’, was built around the famous garden court. The secular city to the south accommodated the mudbrick dwellings of the workers, as well as zoos and bakeries. Polytheism was restored after Akhenaten’s death (c. 1336 BCE) and the city destroyed.
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