Malqata, the palace of King Amenhotep III, his Queen Tiye and their family, always was and still is a fascinating site for us. Maybe because it is not finally excavated,the site inspires our imagination. Maybe because in this palace Amenhotep IV grew up, who later as Akhenaten realized his dream of the first monotheistic religion in history.. Anyway, out there in the desert we always feel the breath of a particular mystery. The name Malqata, in Arabic means a pair of tweezers, and therefore the area was known as the place where you can pick-up things.
We hope that here you can find things worth picking up, worth taking home with you giving you a kind memory of Egypt, of Luxor, of the West Bank, and of the Malqata Art Palace.
When we first thought of the idea to open a different type of place reflecting European standards not only in food and drinks but also in artwork and historical photographs, there were no doubts about choosing the name: Malqata Art Palace was the first and only choice. Another reason choosing the name was the location of our little Palace in El Gezira. Anywhere in this area could have been the end of the canal which in ancient times connected the artificial Royal Harbour of Birket Habu, which Amenhotep III built in front of his palace, with the river Nile. Perhaps like the map below drawn 1855 by the Scottish Alexander Henry Rhind.
The huge Royal site and palace complex of Malqata covered more than 30 hectares. It included various residential palaces, courts, a festival hall, villas for the relatives of the King and apartments and quarters for attendants and servants, workshops, offices, a Temple of Amun, and a desert Altar called "Kom Al Samak", the harbour Birket Habu and a paved connection to Amenhetep's Mortuary Temple. The "Palace of the Shining Sun" or "House of Joy" as the king himself called it, was first discovered in 1888 by Frenchman George Daressy. After much of the site was removed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art between 1910 and 1920, it was re-excavated by David O'Connor and Barry Kemp from 1971 to 1977, who also clarified the basic stratigraphy. In 1972 and 1974 a Japanese mission of the Waseda University excavated and conducted field surveys. Since 1985 Waseda re-excavated the palace area, uncovered a number of rooms including the columned hall and the King's bedchamber.
The enormous amount of discovered fragments of wall, ceiling and pavement paintings say so much about the artistic skills of that time: the Spiral and ornamental patterns, rosettes, swimming ducks and fishes surrounded by papyrus with flying birds and other naturalistic motifs are masterpieces. Some of the most impressive motifs were series of vultures with spread wings representing the Goddess Nekhbet and the names and titles of Amenhotep III found in several rooms, including the bedchamber, were to protect the Pharaoh. Therefore we chose that painting of Nekhbet, the Mistress of Upper Egypt, for our entrance doors to protect both, you, our guests, and ourselves.
Amenhotep (Amen is satisfied), also known by the names Amenophis and Imen-Hotep, was the son of Thutmosis IV and his wife Mutemweia. He ruled Egypt from approximately 1386 till 1349 B.C., led Egypt into the "Golden Era under the Golden King". He became pharaoh at the age of twelve, with his mother acting as a regent. In the year of his coronation he married Tiye, the daughter of the high ranking officials from Akhmin, Yuya and Tuya.
Under the long leadership of the Sun King many temples were built, re-built and extended all over the country, for example in Karnak and Luxor, in Soleb/Nubia, in El Kab and Heliopolis. On the West Bank of Luxor he gave order to build his huge Mortuary Temple in Kom El Hetan, his tomb in the West Valley and - of course - his own Malqata Palace.
© 2006 Antje Sliwka, Luxor
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