African Architecture, like other aspects of African culture, is extremely diverse. Many ethno-linguistic groups throughout the history of Africa have had their own architectural traditions. From the Nubian pyramids of Meroe to the Great Mosque of Kairouan, African architecture has and always will fascinate archeologists and society as a whole because of its rich history and common themes it shares with todays structures and buildings. One common theme in much traditional African architecture is the use of fractal scaling, which means that smaller structures tend to look like the bigger ones.
Their architecture uses a wide range of materials such as wood, mud, mud brick, rammed earth, and stone. The materials Africans use is also dependent on the region that they derive from. West Africans for mud/adobe, Central Africa thatch/wood and more perishable materials, East Africa varies, and Southern Africa for stone and thatch/wood. Western African architecture has had the most impact in todays coastal areas since the 1 5th century and is still today a major influence on todays building structures in the big cities.Order now
Northern Africa is mostly responsible for the Ancient Egyptian architecture of ncient Egypt, one of the most civilizations throughout history and built many amazing monuments throughout the Nile River. Due to the scarcity of wood, the two predominant building materials used in ancient Egypt were sun-baked mud brick and stone, mainly limestone, but also sandstone and granite in considerable quantities. Stone was generally reserved for tombs and temples, while bricks were used even for royal palaces, fortresses, the walls of temple precincts and towns, and for buildings in temple complexes.
The core of Egyptian pyramids came from stone nd the face of the pyramid came from limestone that had to be cut during the dry season before they could be used to build the pyramid. One of the two most famous pyramids are the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Great Sphinx of Giza. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest of the two pyramids and is also mostly intact from the day of its construction. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only pyramid in Egypt known to contain both ascending and descending passages.
It is also known for its three chambers inside the Pyramid. The lowest chamber is cut into the bedrock pon which the pyramid was built and was unfinished, the Queen’s and Kings chamber is higher up in within the pyramid, and the main part of the Giza complex is a setting of buildings that included two mortuary temples in honor of King Khufu, three smaller pyramids for Khufu’s wives, an even smaller “satellite” pyramid, and small tombs surrounding the pyramid for nobles. The Great Sphinx of Giza is primarily made of limestone and stands on the west bank of the Nile.
It is the largest monolith, a geological feature consisting of a single massive stone or rock, statue in the world and is the oldest known monumental statue in the world. Egyptian Archetecture was not only known for their pyramids, but also for their fascinating temples. The temple complex of Karnak is located on the banks of the Nile River which is about 2 miles away from Luxor. It consists of four main parts, the Precinct of Amon-Re, the Precinct of Montu, the Precinct of Mut and the Temple of Amenhotep ‘V. It also consists of other smaller temples and sanctuaries located outside the encloslng walls 0T tne Tour maln parts. ey OITTerence Detween Karnak ana most of the other temples and sites in Egypt is the length of time over which it was developed and used. Construction work began in the 16th century BC. Approximately 30 pharaohs contributed to the buildings, enabling it to reach a size, complexity and diversity not seen elsewhere. Few of the individual features of Karnak are unique, but the size and number of features is overwhelming. Another temple that is well known in Egypt is the Luxor Temple, which is a huge ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the east bank of the Nile River in the city today known as Luxor.
Construction work on the temple began during the reign of Amenhotep Ill in the 14th century BC. Horemheb and Tutankhamun, two kings during the 18th dynasty, added olumns, statues, and friezes and the only major expansion effort took place under Ramesses II some 100 years after the first stones were put in place. Luxor is thus unique among the main Egyptian temple complexes in having only two pharaohs leave their mark on its architectural structure. One of the most ancient architectures in African culture is Nubian architecture, known for its diversity and ancient history.
The earliest Nubian architecture used perishable materials, wattle and daub, mudbrick, animal hide, and other light and supple materials. The City of Kerma, which is now basically a desert, was created and ettled in around 3000 BC. This was one of the earliest Architectures in Africa and the material used to build this magnificent structure were trunks of acacia trees and roofed with palm fibers. These plant-based materials, once encased in hardened clay, could be painted in lively colors. The round huts were usually made of wood and clay.
This method of construction, inspired by traditions dating back to prehistory, is still being used today. Kerma ceramics was considered among the most elegant from the ancient world, and also known for their glazed quartz and innumerable bracelets and necklaces. The Kerma graves are very unique and distinct. They are circular pits covered with white or black pebbles in a circular mound. Four huge graves in the southern part of the site exist. They lie in rows surrounded by smaller graves. There is also a pathway that not only supports the mound but also leads to a chamber where the King of Kerma laid buried.
The king’s bed is elaborate with stone carved legs. The vaulted chamber lies in the center of the structure. It is estimated by archeologist 300 humans and 1000 cattle were probably sacrificed with the king to accompany him in the after-life. From recent reports from archeologists the pathway looked to be once heavily decorated even though it is now a shall of its once former glory. The Nubian Pyramid site Meroe is considered to be the largest archaeological site in the world. It contains more Nubian Pyramids than any other site.
The ancient Nubians also established a system of geometry which includes early sun clocks that can be found at the sight of Meroe. The architecture of Madagascar is unique in Africa, many archeologists say it resembles the construction norms and methods of Southern Borneo from where its elieved the earliest settlers of Madagascar to have derived from. Alongside the coastal regions of Madagascar there a dwellings made of plant material and the types of plants used determine how the structure is shaped and formed.
The vast majorities of homes made of plant material are rectangular, which are low one-story, houses with a peaked roof and are often built on low stilts. Materials used for constructlon Include reeds, rusnes, enaemlc succulents Tor Tenclng, wood, Damooo, papyrus, grasses, and palms. The stilts, floor and walls are commonly made of the runk of this same plant, typically after pounding it flat to make wide planks, for floors and roofing, or narrow strips which are for the walls. Wood-based structures were also used and were common but it has all but disappeared due to deforestation.
This is especially true in the Highlands where, until recently, wood had been a building material reserved for the higher class of the inhabitants of Madagascar due to its increasing rarity. With the higher class of citizens using what is left of the wood the lower class is left to use other locally available materials such as reeds and grasses. Tomb based construction was also used and according to the traditional beliefs of many Malagasy ethnic groups, one attains the status of “ancestor” after death and would usually build a tomb in their honor.
The reason for this strange tradition is because it is believed in Madagascar culture that ancestors continue watch over and shape events around the Earth and because of this they build tombs to appease their ancestors while also praying and providing sacrifices. Somali architecture is the engineering and designing of multiple different construction types such as stone cities, castles, citadels, fortresses, mosques, emples, aqueducts, lighthouses, towers and tombs during the ancient, medieval and early modern periods in Somalia, as well as the fusion of Somalo-lslamic architecture with Western designs.
Early construction saw the use of materials such as coral stone, sundried bricks and limestone in Somali architecture. Later on when European influence started to seep into Somah architectural design they started using cement. They are responsible for the early advancement of engineering and designs that we use and still enjoy today. Houses were constructed of dressed stone similar to the nes in Ancient Egypt and there are also examples of courtyards and large stone walls enclosing settlements, such as the well-known Wargaade Wall.
Near Bosaso, at the end of the Baladi valley, lies a 2 km to 3 km long earthwork. Local tradition recounts that the massive embankment marks the grave of a community matriarch. It is the largest such structure in the wider Horn region. Due to Somali’s location within the world’s oldest and busiest sealanes it encouraged the construction of lighthouses to co-ordinate shipping and to ensure the safe entrance of commercial vessels in the ation’s many port cities.
African Architecture has influenced the world since the very beginning. From the pyramids of Egypt, to the lighthouses of Somali, if it was not for African Architecture we would not be able to enjoy the advanced construction and architectural formats that we do today. African architecture has been subject to numerous external influences from the earliest periods for which evidence is available, but even through all this you will always see that very unique style that can only be attributed to the great architectures of Africa.