The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut also known as Deir El-Bahri is located on the West Bank of Luxor framed by steep cliffs and cut into the side of the mountain. This magnificent Temple was the inspiration of the Queen who would be King – Hatshepsut, daughter of Thutmose I. To know the history of the Temple one needs to know something of the Queen who built it.

Queen Hatshepsut was prevented by her sex from succeeding to the throne after her father Thutmose 1st. although as daughter to the Great Royal wife of Ahmose her lineage made her the only lawful heir as all his sons were from minor wives. She married her half-brother Thutmose II and retained the regency during his reign and co-regency during the subsequent reign of Thutmose III retaining power in her capable hands.

There is no doubt that Queen Hatshepsut was not about to let the fact she was a woman stand in her way of becoming King. She was iron-willed and wore a royal shirt and ceremonial beard, the badges of Kingship. She assumed the throne name-Makere and proved her right to the throne through numerous reliefs of her divine birth.

Once Hatshepsut had secured the throne she embarked on building Temples and Monuments and restoring damaged sanctuaries. As she could not record her name in history through military conquests she sought to record herself in history through architectural achievements.

She erected obelisks in the Karnak Temple is such a way that the glittering tips would shine over the Two Lands just as it appeared in the horizon of heaven. She planned Del El-Bahri to be no less spectacular. She worked with her architect Senmut, drawing ideas from the adjacent 11th Dynasty Temple of the Pharaohs Mentuhotep II and III, but on a larger scale. Using the idea of a terrace and adding an extra tier, he designed a terraced sanctuary including courts, one above the other with connecting sloping ramps at the center. It included shrines dedicated to Hathor and Anubis and chambers devoted to the Queen and her parents.

For Senmut it was a labor of love. He started his service with Hatshepsut as a tutor to her daughter Neferure. He was ambitious and had strong abilities that moved him high on the ladder of success. He was Queen Hatshepsut’s strong supporter, lover and no doubt her political adviser and conducted himself as a member of the royal family having no fewer than 40 titles enjoying privileges and perks never before given to a man of humble birth. He was allowed to construct his tomb near the Temple of Hatshepsut something never allowed for any official before or after.

Queen Hatshepsut’s body has never been found although she had two tombs. The first tomb was in the Valley of the Kings where all members of the 18th Dynasty were laid to rest. After she became Pharoah she built a second tomb in the Taker Zeid Valley overlooking the Valley of the Kings. The first tomb was designed so that the corridors, burrowed 213 meters beneath the barrier hill would lead to the tomb chamber itself directly beneath the mortuary temple. It appeared that she wanted to be buried in the Valley of the Kings but wished to conform to the ancient practice of linking the tomb with the mortuary temple. The passage was very basic and bad rock among other things prevented the passage from being completed and was abandoned.

Hatshepsut’s sarcophagus was enlarged to receive the body or her father Thutmose I, until the priests of the 20th Dynasty moved his mummy to the shaft of Deir el Bahri for safe keeping. His own tomb had already been used by Thutmose II, who died prematurely after a short co-regency with Queen Hatshepsut. When Thutmose III asserted himself as Pharoah he expelled Queen Hatshepsut from the throne. In his anger he waged a campaign of destruction obliterating her name, statues and any reference to her from every temple in the land, including Deir el Bahri.

Later King Akenaten further mutilated the inscriptions at Deir el Bahri.They were further mutilated when Ramses II endeavoured to restore them with shoddy workmanship. Later the Christian monks setup a convent there adding further to the overall desecration, leaving the temple much as it is today.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Avril Betts, I have over 25 years experience in all aspects of Travel and Tourism. I hold a CHA (Certified Hotel Administrator). Along with my partner Khaled Azzam we own A-Z Tours and Action Travel in North America along with Travelocity Travel Egypt in Cairo, Egypt.

I have co-chaired Atlantic Canada Showcase an International Travel Trade Show, managed 450 volunteers for the Tall Ships Visit in July 2000, and was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia. In 1996 I hosted the president’s wives luncheon for the G7 conference. In 1988 I founded the Country Inn Association in Nova Scotia.

As an experienced speaker I have presented seminars for many years on subjects ranging from Marketing and Sales and Life Skills to Tourism, Travel and Real Estate, and operating an online Travel business.

I enjoy working with tourists to pass on my knowledge to help our clients make the most of their vacations. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or travel inquiries.

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