Heliopolis hēlēŏp´əlĭs [key] [Gr.,=city of the sun], ancient city, N Egypt, in the Nile delta, 6 mi (10 km) below modern Cairo. It was noted as the center of sun worship, and its god Ra or Re was the state deity until Thebes became capital (c.2100 BC). The god Amon was then joined with Ra as Amon-Ra or Amon-Re (see Egyptian religion). Under the New Empire (c.1570 BC–c.1085 BC), Heliopolis was the seat of the viceroy for N Egypt. The obelisks called Cleopatra's Needles were erected there. Its schools of philosophy and astronomy declined after the founding of Alexandria in 332 BC, but the city never wholly lost importance until the Christian era. The Egyptian name was On; little of the city remains.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Ancient History, Egypt