On the 9th year of his reign, Akhenaten declared that Aten was not merely the supreme god, but the only god, and that he (Akhenaten) was the only intermediary between Aten and his people. He ordered the defacing of Amun’s temples throughout Egypt, and in a number of instances inscriptions of the plural ‘gods’ were also removed. In addition, he prevented the existence of any other deity except for Maat, as truth was one of the qualities of the new god. Because of the resistance of the priests of Amun, Akhenaton decided to move the court to another capital. Akhetaton is the only ancient Egyptian city which preserves the details of its internal plan. This is because the city was abandoned few years after the death of its founder.
Consruction of Akhetaton
Construction started in or around the 5th year of his reign (1346 BC) and lasted probably for 4 years. Two years after the beginning of the construction of the city, Akhenaton impatiently moved to Akhetaton even before the completion of works there. Mostly, the city comprised within its walls white washed mud-brick buildings. Faced with local stone were the buildings of great importance. On the east bank of the Nile River, Akhetaten covered an area of land of approximately 12 kilometers. Probably, Akhenaton intended to conserve the cultivated land for the provisions of the city’s population. The whole city was surrounded by 14 stelae that tell about Akhenaton’s decision on building the city. Though badly damaged, the still- readable stelae provide clear details about Akhenaton’s wishes to build temples for Aten and royal tombs.
Plan of Akhetaton
Akhetaton had a royal road that extended from north to south, on both sides of which, the city was built. The city was divided into three main districts: 1-the North City, which was an administrative and official center containing –besides merchants’ quarters –the Royal Residence. 2-The City Center, which contained the Great Temple of Aten and other ceremonial buildings. Here was also located the Correspondence Office of the Pharaoh, where the Amarna letters were found. 3- The Southern City, that contained the houses of the nobles such as: Nahkt (Chief Minister), Renefer (General), Panehsy (High Priest of the Aten) and Ramose (Master of Horses). In The southern area, the famous bust of Nefertiti was found. More to the south stood other two temples of Aten. In the valley to the east of the city, Akhenaton and his court caved their tombs in the cliffs.