Visitors to the Northeast Delta will be sure to stop at Tanis, the capital of Egypt during the Twenty-First Dynasty.

The builders reused a huge amount of building materials from nearby sites – a practice that is all too common in most of Egypt.

An abundance of records bearing the name Ramesses II led early scholars to identify Tanis as the capital of Ramesside,

Piramesse. However, now we know that the Tanite builders simply used the ample building material

from nearby Piramesse and others to build their new capital.

An important highlight is the large temple complex dedicated to the god Amun, as well as the associated complex of Mut.

It was conceived as a northern counterpart to the temple complex of Amon at Karnak on the eastern bank of Thebes.

In the late 1930s, French archaeologist Pierre Montet discovered several

above-ground royal tombs of the twenty-first and twenty-second dynasties in the southwestern part of the complex,

within the temple walls, which visitors can see at the site today. Many amazing grave goods were found in the tombs, including the famous gold mask and silver coffin of Psusennes I,

now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. His tomb also contained the stone sarcophagus that belonged to the Nineteenth Dynasty king,

Merenptah, who had been moved here by Psusennes I, all the way from Merneptah’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

Temple of Amun in Tanis


The Temple of Amon at Tanis is a temple complex that was part of the ancient city. Tanis is located in the Delta and was the capital of Egypt in the 21st and 22nd Dynasties. Previous pharaohs had already built here,

including Cheops, Chefren and Ramses II. Ramesses II had built the city of Pi-Ramesse nearby, many of the stones from that city were removed and reused in Tanis.

The temple was dedicated to the city’s triad: Amun, Mut and Chonsu, who were also the patrons of the city of Thebes.

For that reason the sanctuary was also called “Thebes of the North”.

The temple is now in ruins and poorly preserved. Excavations were done by Auguste Mariette in 1860-1880, in 1883-1886 by Flinders Petrie and in 1921-1951 by Pierre Montet.

The city is still being investigated by archaeologists. The temple complex is divided into two:

the vast majority is the temple dedicated to Amun, within the temple there is also a sub-temple for Chonsu and there is also a temple for Mut.

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