What Is A Hypostyle In Architecture?

The word “hypostyle” comes from the Greek and has a literal meaning “under columns”. The hypostyles were common in ancient Egypt, Persia and the Middle East.

Purpose of Hypostyle

The hypostyle halls were designed to be palaces, public halls or temples. Banquets, weddings and other real or public events were held in these rooms. This type of architecture is present in various buildings, such as mosques, waiting rooms and various Indian architectures. They have also been constructed as a gateway to inner sanctuaries. To maximize, the builders would draw figures and symbols on the column surface, showing beautiful art sculptures. These engravings symbolized a ruler, the power of the owner or their religious beliefs. Some have even written part of their history.

A hypostyle has large columns that support a flat roof and were built to help create more space. This was achieved, but the space was mostly occupied by the massive columns. Another problem was that the light entering the room was not sufficient because the large columns prevented light from reaching the center. This was minimized by building the roof in such a way that the columns on the left and right side were smaller than the columns in the center, creating skylight windows that allowed light into the room.


A hypostyle hall has at least four columns, but larger rooms can have up to a dozen. The columns, usually in Egyptian temples, resemble papyrus stems, with their top looking like papyrus flowers in the shape of a bell in bloom. The roof is often flat, built with solid materials such as cast iron, wood or steel. The columns are mostly made of stone. The foundations of the room and the base of the walls are first positioned, so they are covered in earth. This process continues, with the builders building mud ramps to slide the building bricks until the entire hall is over the top. The work is not carried out because the earth must be shoveled and the walls and pillars must be smoothed. It was thought that the incisions were made immediately after smoothing the walls,

Examples of hypostyle salt

Some examples of hypostyle architecture include the Great Hypostyle Hall of the Temple of Karnak in Egypt, Terminal 3 Hypostyle Arrivals Hall of Ben Gurion International Airport and the Uqba Mosque in Kairouan, Tunisia.

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