The Hatshepsut Temple at Deir El-Bahri is one of Egypt’s most characteristic temples and the most distinguishing temple on earth. It is actually one of the most remarkable temples in Egypt.
Hatshepsut temple was built by Queen Hatshepsut during the 18th dynasty in the new kingdom about 17 miles northwest of Luxor on the west bank of the Nile under the cliffs of “Deir El-Bahari” in western Thebes. Its purpose was to become the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut and known as Djoser-Djeseru (Holy of Holies).
The vast Temple of Hatshepsut (at Deir el-Bahari) rivals the Pyramids as one of the great funerary monuments of the ancient world; built into the towering cliff face which shelters the Valley of the Kings on the other side.
Who is Queen Hatshepsut
The Temple of Hatshepsut was built to honor the accomplishments of the great Queen Hatshepsut (18th Dynasty). She was the only female pharaoh in the history of Ancient Egypt. She came to power during the New Kingdom after the death of her father, Tuthmose I, and her half-brother and husband, Tuthmose II, who succeeded her father on the throne.
Hatshepsut originally served as queen-regent to her husband’s son by another wife, Tuthmose III, but seized the throne from him and managing to hold onto power until her death. However, Hatshepsut’s status as the only female to rule Egypt is not the only reason for her fame. She was also a very successful pharaoh. She ruled over an era of peace and prosperity, expanding lucrative trade routes to the land of Punt in the south. This accomplishment immortalized in the relief carvings at her temple. She also contributed significantly to many temples, including Karnak.
The Architecture of Queen Hatshepsut Temple
Hatshepsut’s chancellor and royal architect Senenmut designed the Hatshepsut temple in 1479 BC. It took 15 years to truly personified Hatshepsut’s glory to the fullest light. The design of the Hatshepsut temple was very unique; as it came as Egypt’s closest to the concept of Classical Architecture. It was a turning point from the megalithic geometry of the Old Kingdom to the style of the new kingdom; which enjoyed active worship and sanctuaries to honor the gods related to her afterlife. The construction of this temple also mirrored the following temples of the new kingdom.
The Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor is laid out on three terraces rising from the plain, connected by ramps, which divide it into a northern and a southern half and give breathtaking scenery to the tourists during their visit.
On the Ground Level, there was a garden with exotic trees from Hatshepsut’s expeditions to punt but unfortunately, it disappeared. Behind the courtyard, there were colonnades with square pillars. There are decorations that include Tuthmosis III standing in front of Amun; and some scenes depicting the marshes of Lower Egypt. You can go through archways that can lead you to the second level.
The Second Level holds two reflecting pools and sphinxes, which were lining the pathway to another ramp. It contains one of the first pictorial documentation of a trade expedition. There is also a shrine for the Goddess Hathor, who depicted with a woman’s face and a cow’s ears, holding a musical instrument. There are also Hathor Chapel that contains a hypostyle hall with twelve beautiful Hathor-headed columns and Anubis Chapel, which has a hypostyle hall with twelve fluted columns and an astronomical ceiling.
The Third Level houses a portico with double rows of columns that face the front. All images of Queen Hatshepsut destroyed and replaced with images of King Tutmosis III. There is also the sanctuary of Amun that lies behind the courtyard.