hypostyle hĭpˈəstīl, hīˈpə– [key], the chamber in Egyptian temples in which a number of columns supported a flat stone roof. Forming the chief and largest inner space of the temple, it was entered from the outer courtyard and, in turn, gave access to the holy of holies and the small inner sanctuaries occupying the rear of the structure. Its columns were arranged to form a wide center aisle flanked by two or more side aisles, the center one rising higher than the others to permit clerestory lighting. The ruined temple of Amon at Al Karnak shows the most celebrated hypostyle hall, constructed in the XIX dynasty.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Architecture