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Use: The oldest garden survivals are the temple compounds of ancient Egypt. They were used by priests and pharaohs, though members of the public might be admitted on festival days. The design of temples helped to explain the nature of the world and the social order, as we now do through science, religion, art, history and politics. Temple compounds are the oldest surviving manifestation of the quest to make outdoor space as works of art. Sacred groves were associated with temple compounds.
Form: Axial lines were used but the overall geometry was non-symmetrical. Temples were built in rectangular compounds bounded by high walls. The internal space was in part ceremonial and in part laid to gardens. Temples were linked by avenues, lined with trees, sphinxes and statues. The line of the avenue ran into the compound and led through a series of processional gates to a hypostyle hall and then an inner sanctum, the holy of holies. Some of the enclosed land was used to accommodate store houses. Compounds also held sacred lakes, pools, statues, shrines, flower and vegetable gardens. The basic construction materials were stone and mud brick.