Ancient Egypt for Kids
No one cared how big you built your home in ancient Egypt. It was up to you. Homes were built with bricks made of mud and straw. The ancient Egyptians invented molds to make bricks. That let them make many bricks at one time. Most bricks were not baked in an oven, although if they wanted the bricks to be extra strong, they might bake them. But mostly, bricks were dried in the sun. Some large homes were built of stone, but most homes of both the rich and the poor were build of brick.
The rich lived in huge homes or villas along the Nile River. They painted the outside of their homes white because it kept their home cooler. The very wealthy lined the outside of their homes with white limestone. Limestone was expensive, but it made their homes sparkle in the sunshine.
Although the best artists were busy working on the pyramids or tombs, the walls of each villa were highly decorated by the best artists their money could buy. Some walls were washed with pastel colors to brighten, lighten and clean.
Some of these huge homes had as many as 30 rooms. Many were store rooms. Some were guest rooms, bedrooms, kids rooms, and even bathrooms! (No running water, though.)
Homes had front and back doors. Each door was built about 4 feet off the ground to reduce the amount of sand that worked itself inside the house. You reached the door via a ramp. Ramps, rather than stairs, were used to reach various levels in the house.
The windows were cut high to keep out sand. The windows had bars on them to keep out wild animals. They also acted to reduce theft, although crime was very low in ancient Egypt.
The center of the house was the living room or family area. It was usually raised up a bit from the rest of flooring, again to reduce the amount of sand that got into everything in ancient Egypt. Because it was in the center of the villa, surrounded by other rooms, this central living area was cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Behind the living room was the master bedroom suite. It usually had its own bathroom, complete with toilet. Other bathrooms were scattered through the home. Pipes led from the bathrooms to various parts of the garden outside. Other rooms were used for a variety of purposes, including the childrenís bedrooms and playrooms. Some of the rooms were storerooms full of sealed jars of food.
A typical home in ancient Egypt had mirrors, pots and pans, ovens, shelves, beds, comfortable sitting areas, lighting for evenings, heat, and fountains to naturally cool their homes. In the bedrooms, you would find cosmetic pots and perfume pots, and clean clothes. They kept beautifully designed chests to hold linens and clothes and other goods.
Many homes of the rich had gardens and pools both inside and outside the house. Some pools were stocked with brightly colored fish. Gardens had daisies and cornflowers planted amongst the trees.
Farmers / Peasants:
A peasantís home was tiny by comparison. It was still very nice. Each peasant family had their own home. A door led into an open courtyard with walls but no roof. From the courtyard, a ramp led up, and a door led inside the house. The ramp led to the second floor roof, where the peasant family could enjoy the evening together. Some homes had a third story with a ramp that led from the second floor roof to the third floor roof.
In town, the bottom level was used for a business. It was the bakery or the store or workshop. The top levels were used for the family home. Homes were built close together, like townhouses are built today. They had shared walls. In the cities, the peasants and middle class workers were crowded together in close quarters and neighborhoods. But each family had their own home.
In pyramid-towns, homes were provided for the workers. In the city, quite often the city planners would have homes built for workers.
In the country, the homes of peasants were even more roomy. The first level might be used to hold wild birds for eggs and meat. Outside, behind the house, you would probably find a vegetable garden. Brick was cheap. People were talented. Although the master had the final say, it was usually up to the peasant how big he or she wished to build their home.