The memorial temple of Hatshepsut is arguably one of the most incredible temples that ever existed in Egypt. This temple was built in honor of Queen Hatshepsut, an intriguing woman who originally ruled as regent for her stepson Tuthmosis III but later, through self-promotion, assumed the seat of Pharaoh instead of relinquishing power to her stepson who had come of age to ascend the throne.
This mortuary temple is one of the most intriguing monuments with a striking resemblance to classical Greek architecture a millennium years later. This temple was designed by Senenmut who was Hatshepsut’s steward and architect. Hatshepsut’s image encountered significant damage along with those of Amun. Meanwhile, following the death of Hatshepsut, Tuthmosis III, and Akhenaten teamed up to destroy this beautiful monument. Tuthmosis III is believed to have removed Hatshepsut’s image from the temple and replaced it with his own, while Akhenaten later destroyed the temple, the reason being that people frequently make references to the god Amun. He, therefore, sought to remove Amun and endorse the god, Aten.
In this article, you’ll learn all you need to know about the Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut.
Geographically, the temple sits on the west bank of the Nile, just opposite Luxor city, pricelessly at Deir el-Bahri (the Northern Monastery), beneath the peak of the mountain, and the natural pyramid which is known as “Dehent.” The temple is the entrance to the Valley of the Kings, while the main building of the temple is called Djeser Djeseru (Holy of Holiest).
In the vicinity, there are other edifices such as the mortuary temple dedicated to Tuthmosis III, the Mortuary Temple of Montuhotep, and several other Ptolemaic burials. It is also believed that there used to be a grime brick temple devoted to Amenhotep I and Queen Ahmose Nefertari which was later demolished to make way for Hatshepsut’s temple.
The Layout of the Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut
It is important to note that the memorial temple of Hatshepsut was erected on three levels along with two wide access ramp in the middle that joins the three levels together. Let’s look at the temple by its levels.
This used to be the first courtyard where exotic trees and shrubs were planted. The trees and shrubs were from Hatshepsut’s trading expedition to Punt. However, we don’t have evidence of the existence of this beautiful garden.
This level also had a colonnade with square-shaped pillars behind the courtyard which harbored many reliefs. Unfortunately, Hatshepsut herself is not depicted anywhere in the colonnade as it is believed to have been destroyed. You’ll, however, find beautifications that include scenes depicting the marshes of Lower Egypt, a drawing of Tuthmosis III dancing before the god Min, and also a scene of the mining and transportation of two large pylons down the Nile.
The Following Level
The second level of the Hatshepsut temple has a wide ramp running from the middle of the first courtyard into it. You’ll find a colonnade with two rows of square columns behind the wide terrace. On each side of the columns is a ramp leading to the third level. There are also two sculptures of squatting lions flanked at the entrance to the ramp.
At the second level, you’ll also find the birth colonnade which is on the right-hand side of the ramp leading to the third level. It was decorated with depictions of Hatshepsut’s divine birth.
The depictions created some scenarios where Hatshepsut is seen carried by the god Amun along with Hatshepsut’s mother (Queen Ahmose). It is believed that Amun impregnated Queen Ahmose with his divine breath by which Hatshepsut was born. Amun gave a prophecy that Hatshepsut will, at a later time, rule Egypt.
In the narrative, Amun visited Khnum and gave him the instruction to create Hatshepsut’s body. Heqet and Khnum led Queen Ahmose into the birthing chamber where Meskhenet assisted her in childbirth. The last part of the scene features Hatshepsut and her Ka, suckled by Hathors while Seshat kept records of her birth.
Other amazing things to find on the second level include the Pun colonnade which is situated at the left side of the ramp to the third level, the Hathor chapel which sits at the southern part of the colonnade on the second level, and the Anubis chapel which is located at the northern end of the second level of the colonnade.
The Third Level
This courtyard has a wide ramp running from the middle of the second courtyard into the third court, where you find a statue of Horus standing as a falcon on the opposite side of the entrance to the ramp. At the top of Hatshepsut’s temple, you’ll see a portico having two rows of columns.
Still, on the third level, huge Osiriform statues of Hatshepsut were erected at the inner row of octagonal columns and the outermost part of the column. On the left, you’ll find a chapel devoted to the Royal cult, also you find a principal entrance leading back to a columned court, and another chapel devoted to the solar cult on the right side.
Behind the courtyard on the third level, you’ll find a sanctuary that was cut into the living rock and had it aligned, pointing toward Hatshepsut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings. This same sanctuary was rebuilt and rededicated to Imhotep and Amenhotep, son of Hap (the overseer of Amenhotep III) during the Ptolemaic period.
Accommodations around the Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut
Luxor has a lot of hotel accommodations considering the several tourist centers within the city. Finding good hotel accommodation wouldn’t be an issue, depending on your needs and budget. You can find accommodations in Luxor that include campgrounds, hostels, family hotels, romantic hotels, spa resorts, and a lot more.
Some of the classy hotels include 5-star Hotels, 4-star Hotels, and 3-star Hotels, all accessible to you. A few brands to look out for include Steigenberger Hotels and Resorts, and Accor Hotels, among many others.
If you’ve chosen or are considering Egypt for your tour, the memorial temple of Hatshepsut is definitely a site you should visit. Aside from its popularity, you still get to discover a lot of first-hand historical facts. Facts that may be useful for education, movie, business, or whatever purpose you deem fit. You might want to add that to your list of places to visit.
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