Settlements > Pi-Ramesses


Egypt History - Egyptian Chapter Decoration


The city of Pi-Ramesses was the temporary capital of the civilization of Egypt under the leadership of Ramesses II. It was mostly occupied and saw its prime during the rule of Ramesses and was abandoned after his reign.


The city of Pi-Ramesses was originally a small village on the Nile Delta that was near the ancestral home of Ramesses. When he ascended to the throne in Egypt he ordered the movement of the capital from the city of Thebes to the new city of Pi-Ramesses. This saw the great construction and enlargement of the previous village. Within a few short years the city of Pi-Ramesses sprung up to be one of the most grand in all ancient Egypt with palaces, temples, monuments and much more.

Pi-Ramesses, also known as Per-Ramesses or Pi-Ramesse, was an ancient Egyptian city and capital founded by Ramesses II (also known as Ramesses the Great) during the 19th Dynasty of the New Kingdom period. Here's an overview of the ancient Egyptian settlement of Pi-Ramesses:

  1. Foundation and Location:

    • Pi-Ramesses was founded by Ramesses II around the 13th century BCE, near the site of the earlier city of Avaris (also known as Pi-Ramesse), in the eastern Nile Delta region of Lower Egypt.
    • The location was chosen for its strategic significance, as it was situated near the border with the ancient kingdom of Canaan and on the route to the Levant, allowing Ramesses II to exert control over trade routes and military expeditions in the region.
  2. Royal Residence:

    • Pi-Ramesses served as the capital of Egypt during the reign of Ramesses II and was one of the largest and most important cities of its time.
    • It was the primary residence of Ramesses II and his court, as well as a center of government, administration, and religious activity.
  3. Architectural Features:

    • Pi-Ramesses was characterized by monumental architecture, including temples, palaces, administrative buildings, and residences, constructed using limestone and sandstone.
    • The city boasted impressive structures such as the Great Temple of Ramesses II, dedicated to the gods Amun-Re and Ptah, and the Qadesh Palace, named after Ramesses II's famous military victory at the Battle of Kadesh.
  4. Cultural and Religious Significance:

    • Pi-Ramesses was a center of religious worship and cultic activity, with temples dedicated to various Egyptian deities, including Amun-Re, Ptah, and Hathor.
    • The city also served as a center for the worship of Ramesses II himself, with temples and monuments erected in his honor during his lifetime and after his death.
  5. Economic and Trade Hub:

    • Pi-Ramesses benefited from its strategic location near the Nile River and its connections to trade routes that extended to the eastern Mediterranean and the Levant.
    • The city served as a hub for trade and commerce, facilitating the exchange of goods such as grain, gold, silver, copper, timber, and luxury items.
  6. Decline and Abandonment:

    • Pi-Ramesses declined in significance after the reign of Ramesses II, as subsequent pharaohs relocated the capital to other cities such as Tanis and Memphis.
    • The city was eventually abandoned and fell into ruins, with its monuments and buildings dismantled and reused by later civilizations.

In summary, Pi-Ramesses was a grand and prosperous ancient Egyptian city founded by Ramesses II during the New Kingdom period. As the capital of Egypt, it played a central role in the political, economic, and religious life of the kingdom, leaving behind a legacy of monumental architecture and cultural achievements.

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