Ancient Egyptian temples were meant as places for the gods to reside on earth. Indeed, the term the Egyptians most commonly used to describe the temple building, ḥwt-nṯr, means "mansion (or enclosure) of a god". A god's presence in the temple linked the human and divine realms and allowed humans to interact with the god through ritual. These rituals, it was believed, sustained the god and allowed it to continue to play its proper role in nature. They were therefore a key part of the maintenance of maat, the ideal order of nature and of human society in Egyptian belief. Maintaining maat was the entire purpose of Egyptian religion, and thus it was the purpose of a temple as well. Ancient Egyptian temples were also of economic significance to Egyptian society. The temples stored and redistributed grain and came to own large portions of the nation's arable land (some estimate as much as 33% by the New Kingdom period).
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