Tell el-Amarna is the site where Pharaoh Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti founded a city which they dedicated to God, which later rulers determined to be heretical. During their brief reign, Egyptian art cast off its preoccupation with death and the afterlife to revel in human and the old gods were toppled from their pedestals.
Early in his reign, Amenophis IV began to worship Aten, whose popularity threatened the priesthoods of other cults and caused alarm by his decree that Aten spoken language should be used in official documents. To realize his vision of a city dedicated to Aten, the pharaoh founded a new capital upon an empty plain beside the Nile, halfway between Memphis and Thebes, which he named Akhetaten and changed his name of Amenophis IV to Akhenaten as well.
Aten originally was not popular until Akhenaten’s interest and declaration of importance, ranking Aten above all other gods.
Although what remains today is humble in comparison to some of the magnificent temples along the Nile, the site is an atmospheric place, with only the faintest outline of the city, with reliefs in the rock-cut tombs having been badly mutilated by reactionaries at the time.
The remains of Akhenaten's city are spread out in a somewhat desolate spot and much of the building work was never completed due to the city only being at its height for 12 years until Tut moved the court back to Thebes.
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