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Egypt and Mesopotamia's Similarities and Differences

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Architecture is an important part of all civilizations to further advance their infrastructure. Many civilizations have both different and similar methods and understanding of how the world works, and how that knowledge can be used in architecture. Although Egyptians and Mesopotamians share many similarities in architecture, such as housing, size of buildings, and how they were influenced, they differ in material and functionality.

Both Egyptians and Mesopotamians built similar housing for each class of society. These houses were about the same size and were made from mud brick as the primary material. Mesopotamians who were very poor built their houses from reed .A palace was the living quarters of the pharaoh, the palace had to meet the needs of what the Pharaoh wanted and what the government required him to have, such as places of worship. These Egyptian Palaces were long and rectangular with tall walls . Historymuseum.ca says, “Palaces took on a distinctive architectural form around the end of the fourth millennium B.C., a form that was repeated for most of the third millennium. They were essentially rectangular structures consisting of high walls topped with towers. The tops of the towers were often decorated with a rich cornice or panels.” Habitable housing for the citizens played an important role in the development of larger structures.

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Pyramid and Ziggurats, some of the largest structures built by each civilization, were similar in size. Many of the houses were generally the same size. The size of a home was based on wealth, the more money you have the larger your home would be . Egyptians built mud brick walls around their homes to be secluded and safe.

Egyptian tombs and Mesopotamian ziggurats were influenced by the same reason, the environment. The flooding river would damage a structure if it wasn’t designed to withstand a flood. Many tombs and ziggurats  were built on mud brick platforms that would be higher than flooding waters. This design was used in pyramids were layers of stone would be stacked on top of itself.

These two civilizations lived in different regions and had access to different resources. Mesopotamians could only obtain stone and wood through trade which made it obsolete for a basic building materials. Mesopotamians had a large supply of mud all around them, and they used it to make mud bricks dried from the sun. Only very important structures would use stone and wood for their material. On the contrary, Egyptians stone and wood supply were very abundant. Almost all religious and high importance buildings were constructed with stone. Many wealthy homes used wooden furniture inside their home . Granite was very valuable in Egypt because of how hard it was to move and work with, which is why only the most prosperous could afford it .

Buildings had different uses and purposes in each civilization. Pyramids were tombs for dead pharaohs so that their dead corpse would remain secure and intact for eternity . The design of tombs was meant to confuse tomb burglars in the maze of tunnels (Mark) Temples were religious buildings made to honor the gods and the dead. The pillars supporting the structure of the temple were engraved with art of gods. They were also built to separate the energy of the gods from the rest of the world while on earth Palaces were built to meet religious requirements since Pharaohs were seen as directly connected to the gods .

The size and design of these structures varied among different locations Egypt with was influenced by the pharaohs preference. For example, Imhotep, a skilled architect and a chancellor, designed the first step pyramid for Djoser. Infrastructure was designed to reflect the position of the sun and the stars and it perfectly aligned the sides of Khufu’s tomb with the cardinal directions . Contrarily, Ziggurats were the largest and most important structure in Mesopotamia, but the were for housing the gods while the visited earth , not for the kings. Ziggurats did have a secondary purpose which was to house priests in small apartments on the raised platforms . The other buildings like palaces were either also used to religious use, and city-state government. Egypt has many different buildings for different purposes while Mesopotamia has many of the same buildings for religion. This represents an advanced diversity in the architecture in Egypt.

Both widely known ancient civilizations, Egypt and Mesopotamia had their similarities and differences that are seen as architecture achievements. Architects from the modern day can use the historical knowledge to help improve the formation of architectural design and action in the near future. 

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