[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 B.C.
). The god Amon was then joined with Ra as Amon-Ra or Amon-Re (see Egyptian religion
). Under the New Empire (c.1570 B.C.
), 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 B.C.
, but the city never wholly lost importance until the Christian era. The Egyptian name was On; little of the city remains.
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