Deir el Bahri - The Temple of Hatshepsut

Deir el Bahri - The Temple of Hatshepsut
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Deir el Bahri & the Temple of Hapsetsut

The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, positioned between the Valley of the Queens and the Valley of the Kings on the west bank of the Nile, is the focal point of the Deir el-Bahri or “Northern Monastery” complex of mortuary temples.

Hatshepsut was the first known female to take the title Pharaoh. Often pictured in Pharonic dress and wearing a false beard, the Queen, a prolific builder, commissioned the temple bearing her name in the canyon, known as  "Splendor of Splendors ", for her posthumous worship. It’s dedicated to Amun and Hathor, whom the Queen claimed as her parents, so as to reinforce her claim to the throne.

Constructed so as to appear to be set-back against the natural amphitheatre of the surrounding cliffs, the mortuary temple of Hatsheput was built next to that of the earlier pharaoh Mentuhotep II and in many ways is a reflection of this temple, although much better preserved. Sandwiched between them later was to be the smaller temple of Tuthmosis III.

The Temple’s architecture is spectacular with the vertical lines of the colonnades reflecting the vertical patterns of the cliff against which it’s built, producing an overall effect that is both stunning yet subdued. Originally, a myrrh tree and sphinx lined avenue led up to the temple complex and the Temple itself is approached through the Lower and Middle courtyards with each terrace being reached by ramps, while papyrus pools flanked the ramps on either side. In keeping with the location, the sanctuary of Amun is positioned deep within the mountainside.

Tour guides often tend to rush through the Temple, only stopping to explain the Middle Court reliefs depicting the expedition to Punt, modern day Somalia, and the reliefs seeking to document Hatshepsut’s divine origin. However, there is much more likely to attract your attention within the complex here including, the separate Chapel of Anubis and the diminutive Temple of Hathor positioned at the south western corner.





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