Pi-Ramesse – “House of Ramesses”
About 3,000 years ago, the city of Pi-Ramesse stretched across several islands and along the banks of the easternmost branch of the river Nile in Egypt’s Delta, covering between 10 and 20 km². Although it was one of the largest urban centres of the late Bronze Age (1500‒1200 BCE), almost nothing is visible of the ancient settlement today.
View over the area of the ancient capital of Ramesses II and the modern village of Qantir. Photo: Henning Franzmeier. © Qantir/Pi-Ramesse Project.
of the City
Not only was the city’s size XXL, but its architecture was too. There were at least five monumental temples, built for the gods Seth, Amun, Wadjet, Astarte, and Amun-Re-Horakhty. Texts mention huge royal palaces, which, with their colourful decoration of faience tiles, must have been equally impressive. At least 16 obelisks and colossal statues of the deified King Ramesses II also adorned the city, which were later transferred to Tanis .
The city’s huge buildings and statues also feature in art, proving that Ramesses II used the city as a political capital to show the extent of his power. It is in this setting that an event of great importance in world history took place: the negotiations and presentation of the peace treaty between the Egyptians and the Hittites. Later, in his palace at Pi-Ramesse, Ramesses II received two Hittite princesses; both became his wives, sealing the bond between the two countries.
Builder Without Limits
Reigning for no less than 67 years (1290–1224 BCE), it was Ramesses II who made this location in the eastern Delta his capital, expanded it on a huge scale, and named the city Pi-Ramesse – “House of Ramesses”. Over this long period of apparent stability, his reign was supported by able and loyal officials in the city.
People followed Ramses II to his new city in search of job opportunities, even if this new city was several kilometers away from their old home.
The footprints of children discovered in 2016 give us a vivid idea of how people in the city lived with their families.
Objects from Pi-Ramesse in the Roemer- and Pelizaeus-Museum Hildesheim
Prof. Regine Schulz, scientific director of the Roemer and Pelizaeus-Museum Hildesheim and head of the Qantir/Pi-Ramesse project, presents several objects discovered in Pi-Ramesse (Egypt) on display in the museum today. She explains the objects’ function in relation to the images and texts found on them.
AN XXL CITY
CHRONICLE OF A CITY
A CITY OF TECHNOLOGIES
HORSES FOR THE PHARAO
PI-RAMESSE AROUND THE WORLD