Egypt has provided humanity with a rich treasure of various types of architecture. It is among the most creative of the world's countries in this art, both in quality and quantity. Architectural works in ancient Egyptian civilization can generally be divided into two types according to the materials used for construction. The first type is the un-burnt bricks, which were used for building Egyptian houses throughout the Pharaonic, Hellenistic, Coptic, and Islamic civilizations, extending even to modern times in Egyptian villages. The second type is stone architecture. Egypt had a large wealth of stones that included basalt, limestone, alabaster, granite, and others. Quarrying for these stones was supervised by the government, because the work required organized missions to live close to quarry locations until the required work was completed. Then the workers would return with their product required for construction. Many tools that were used for quarrying and building include hammers, axes, balances, measures, angles, half-circles, mason's levels, building triangles, and tools for leveling walls.
Since the Pharaonic era, architectural design was essential before any construction work began. Several examples of architectural designs were found on pieces of pottery or stone. As a result of continuous construction activities through the ages, Egypt had specialized craftsmen skilled in construction work and its complex techniques. Construction crafts were passed from one generation to the next. Through the ages, these generations have provided the world with varied and unique forms of architecture; the most significant of which were state-sponsored projects, such as royal tombs. Attention to royal tombs started in the early times of Egyptian civilization, especially since it was endowed with a unique architecture in the Old and Middle Kingdoms, namely the Egyptian Pyramids of which there are about 110. In addition to tombs, places of worship had special attention in Egypt, for which the state devoted the best materials, architects, and artists. The land of Egypt still has Pharaonic and Greek temples, as well as historical churches and mosques.
Along with religious and funeral architecture, there was military architecture, represented by fortresses and towers, of which we have examples from the Middle Kingdom through the Islamic era. There was also architecture for multiple civil purposes, which flourished in the Greek era. A prominent example was the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the third among the Great Wonders of the Ancient World, built during the rule of Ptolemy the First, but completed during the rule of Ptolemy the Second. It was 150 meters high and was used to guide ships day and night until the fifteenth century AD. Another example is the Roman Amphitheater, located in Kom El-Dekka area of Alexandria, which was discovered by a Polish mission in the early sixties of the twentieth century.
Attention was given to architecture of various purposes in the Islamic era, represented by the construction of mosques, schools, fortresses, castles, palaces, and houses. In the Ayyubites era, military architecture flourished, with the construction of fortresses such as the Citadel of Salah Al-Din and the Fort of Al-Muzaffar. A new type of architecture also received attention, namely buildings for charity, such as houses for the poor and public water fountains. This type flourished in the Mamluk era, which witnessed construction of several houses, palaces, hotels, agencies, and schools, in addition to public water fountains. There is no doubt that Islamic Cairo remained a glittering architectural city until the end of the Ottoman period. It was surrounded by walls with openings for control of access, such as the gates of the city, of which only Bab El-Nasr, Bab El-Fotouh, and Bab-Zowaila still remain.