Luxor is blessed with a wealth of magnificent masterpieces of art that reflect the extraordinary aspects upon which this great civilization was formed. They also illustrate all of the reasons why Queen Hatshepsut was the greatest Pharaoh in Egyptian history. Hatshesput Temple is the greatest example of the spectacular architecture that once existed in ancient Egypt.
In this post, we will provide the ultimate list of facts about the Temple of Hatshepsut, Egypt’s most famous building.
Hatshepsut (c. 1508–1458 B.C.) looked comfortable with the conventional female role of supporting player among Egypt’s royals for many years. She was a pharaoh’s daughter (Thutmose I) and the queen wife of another (Thutmose II, her half brother). Hatshepsut dutifully became regent to Thutmose III, who was only six years old at the time, when her husband died in 1479 B.C. and her stepson was named heir.
However, as time passed, Hatshepsut became less of a temporary overseer and more of Egypt’s legitimate monarch, referring to herself as “The Lady of the Two Lands.” She undertook a daring power move as Thutmose III approached adulthood, when he would officially take the throne.
Hatshepsut declared herself a pharaoh, taking the title’s titles and emblems. Hatshepsut did not exile Thutmose III, who was technically her co-ruler, but she definitely overshadowed him. Hatshepsut defends her actions by identifying Amun as her father and saying that he intended for her to rule Egypt: “I acted under his command; it was he who led me.”
Her 21-year reign, 15 of which she was the only ruler, was one of peace and prosperity for Egypt. She oversaw large-scale construction projects, such as two massive obelisks at Karnak and her funerary temple.
Thutmose III ascended to the throne after Hatshepsut died in 1458 B.C. Hatshepsut’s revolutionary reign went unnoticed for generations. Thutmose III attempted to remove Hatshepsut from history by defacing her monuments and omitting her name from the list of monarchs before his own death. Hatshepsut’s status as Egypt’s powerful female pharaoh was revived when archaeologists began interpreting the hieroglyphics at Deir el Bahri in 1822 and later discovered her tomb in 1903.
The stunning Hatshepsut temple, also known as Djeser-Djeseru (Holy of Holies), was constructed for the Eighteenth Dynasty’s “Pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut.” It is one of ancient Egypt’s magnificent temples and is regarded as the finest ancient Egyptian construction. This temple surpasses all other similar monuments in Ancient Egypt in terms of size and richness of ornamental decorations. With a panorama of Ancient Egypt’s temples, it stands out sharply.
It is devoted to Hatshepsut’s history and the creator god Amun. The Egyptian monarchs had the responsibility of honoring their gods and pharaohs and preserving their memory for all time by building tombs and temples. Queen Hatshepsut regarded the temple as a chance to improve her image and reputation while also immortalizing her name (the mortuary temple succeeded in achieving both objectives).
Queen Hatshepsut’s funerary temple is a semi-rock-carved monument. The Queen’s temple became a jaw-dropping engineering masterpiece of the ancient architects due to its unique characteristics. It is located in the Valley of the Kings. It is a natural rock amphitheater located in the vicinity of Thebes, near present-day Deir el-Bahri, straight across from the Nile River. This ancient religious and funeral complex, carved out of a deep bay of cliffs, was a major religious and funerary site in the Theban region during ancient times.
In 1479 B.C., Queen Hatshepsut issued the order to build this magnificent temple. She constructed the temple to depict the story of her life, which took roughly fifteen years to finish. Hatshepsut’s administrator, Senenmut, designed the temple. He carefully built it based on the Temple of Mentuhotep II, but he expanded every part of it.
The Temple of Hatshepsut is a semi-rock structure. A carved-in-the-rock sanctuary links up with its ground chambers. The temple is made up of three terrace steps that rise over each other and are linked by gentle stair-ramps. The following is a list of these features:
The temple’s lower terrace.
The temple’s second terrace.
The upper terrace of the temple.
The Lower Terrace of The Temple.
The lower terrace, which acts as the center courtyard, is surrounded by a wall. The builders decorated this wall with stone falcon statues. A 22-column portico closes the yard from the west. This courtyard is divided in the middle by a ramped staircase. Monumental lions framed it, and enormous 8-meter-high sculptures of Queen Hatshepsut stood on either side of the entryway. These sculptures were crafted after the god Osiris by ancient Egyptian artists. They covered the hall with painted reliefs of Queen Hatshepsut trampling on enemies and offering sacrifices to the god Amun. Scenes of military parades, a chain of enslaved people, and building labor may all be found in this area.
Hatshepsut Temple’s second terrace can be reached through a stairway that runs through the entrance. There was formerly an artificial pond in the center, surrounded by trees. The ancient builders also added a tetrahedral monolithic column entrance to the western part of the terrace. They divided it with a staircase to provide the foundation for the third top terrace. Relief compositions related to Queen Hatshepsut’s life have been preserved on the gate’s walls. Here, the mother of Egypt’s future king, Queen Ahmes, marries the god Amun-Ra.
Then there are scenes depicting Hatshepsut’s birth from this “divine” union, as well as her coronation and getting blessings from the goddess Hathor. The reliefs at the other end of the terrace portray a queen-sent expedition. Hatshepsut sent this expedition to the legendary kingdom of Punt with the intention of bringing back countless jewels and unusual plants. Most experts believe Punt should be located on Africa’s east coast. It is probably the same country that was known to the residents of the Middle East in ancient times as Ophir. The reliefs represent classic African landscapes such as monkeys, panthers, giraffes, and huts on stilts.
The ancient Egyptians decorated the stairs leading to the top terrace with statues of huge cobras, each with a falcon sitting on its back. These are heraldic figures representing Upper (cobra) and Lower (falcon) Egypt, and the entire composition personifies Egypt’s unity. A pair of sphinxes carved from red Aswan granite framed the stairway as well.
The major temple rituals were held on the upper terrace. As a result, the Hatshepsut sanctuary’s entrance was carved into the rocks. The sanctuary facade is a portico with four-sided columns, each of which previously held a massive statue of the queen. Therefore , these massive sculptures could be seen from ships going down the Nile. All of the terraces were surrounded by columns. In addition, three tiny chapel churches were located in the southern wing of the entry. There is a sanctuary to the goddess Hathor, Queen Hatshepsut’s patroness.
A fascinating labyrinth of underground rooms carved from the rocks opens out beyond the colonnade of the entry. The entrance to the main hall was framed by three-meter sculptures of Queen Hatshepsut and the god Osiris. The Ancient Egyptians covered the hall floors with gold and silver plates. They also used bronze inlay on cedar doors. Hatshepsut also used faceted columns to decorate the walls. She decorated the arches with colorfully painted reliefs. The Ancient Egyptians, on the other hand, created their doors of “black copper” inlaid with Electra (an alloy of silver and gold).
A massive marble statue of the queen stood in the main hall of the underground sanctuary. Unfortunately, only parts of it have remained. The temple has almost 200 sculptures, 140 of which are sphinxes. Sculptures from Hatshepsut’s temple are among the most magnificent examples of XVIII dynasty Egyptian art. They portray Queen Hatshepsut as a pharaoh, the god Osiris, and a sphinx. These depictions resemble the ancient ruler’s appearance: an oval face narrowed to the chin; a tiny mouth; and almond-shaped eyes under wide arches of brows. The eyelid line was stretched to the temples using makeup.
The cult sculptures from the main temple were created by the first great masters in a fragile and soft style to imitate the queen’s picture look. The sculptors attempted to accurately represent the likeness of all the sculptures. However, huge sculptures (8 and 5 m high) on the temple’s façade simply highlighted the overall resemblance and recreated the most distinguishing aspects.
Despite the fact that some parts of this magnificent ancient monument have been vandalized, several visitors during their Egypt tours stated that this landmark is well-preserved and worth the visit. This magnificent temple is built on three massive terraces linked by ramps. It is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. A bazaar (or market with different goods) is located just outside the property’s entrance. The Birth colonnade and Punt colonnade, Hathor’s chapel, Anubis chapel, and Amun’s sanctuary may all be found inside this magnificent temple. If you visit Egypt, you definitely have to visit the unforgettable Hatshepsut Temple.
Hatshepsut’s Temple has no rival in terms of its aesthetic impact from afar. The fascinating multi-tiered structure set up against the limestone rocks at the river valley’s shoulder is a very breathtaking sight. Its layout is as unique as the pharaoh who ordered its creation.
We highly recommend that you give yourself plenty of time to visit this massive complex and take in all of its spectacular attractions.
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