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Mortuary temples, or Funerary temples, were temples designed to commemorate a specific individual after death thus resulting in their deification, which almost exclusively regarded the Pharaoh under whom they were constructed. The temples were hence ran by the king's cult of priests, whose worship ensured the pharaoh's continuation in the afterlife. Pharaohs erected their mortuary temples adjacent to, or in the vicinity of, their own tombs.


Main article: Domain
Mortuary temples were, especially during the New Kingdom, enclosed within a domain (also referred to as an estate). Beside the temple structure itself, a domain contained the housing of employees; such as mortuary priests, scribes, gardiners, and even winemakers. Many wine jars are known from royal tombs with their inscriptions indicating that mortuary temple domains had their own vineyards to produce wine for the king's tomb.


Mortuary temples were built around pyramids in the Old and Middle Kingdoms. However, once the New Kingdom pharaohs began constructing tombs in the Valley of the Kings, they built their mortuary temples separately within the greater Theban Necropolis. The New Kingdom mortuary temples were called "Mansions of Millions of Years" in ancient Egyptian.[1]

The mortuary temple of the ruling pharaoh was used as the resting place for Amun at the time of the Beautiful Festival of the Valley, during which the sacred barque and cult statue of the deity visited the west bank of Thebes.

See also[]


  1. Wilkinson 2000, p. 25.


  • Wilkinson, R.H., 2000: The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson, London.