The great temple of Hatshepsut
is built at the bottom of sheer cliffs in Luxor's west bank
in a wonderful site. The chief temple is built by Queen Hatshepsut
and other constructions were added by other rulers.
Hatshepsut is the daughter of Thutmose
I and wife of her half-brother King Thutmose
II. After the death of Thutmose II, a power struggle surfaced
between Queen Hatshepsut and Thutmose II's son Thutmose
III (son of another wife). Hatshepsut was announced as a
co-regent with Thutmose III, but she eventually overshadowed
him and announced herself the 'king-Pharaoh' of Egypt. She was
pictured with masculine attributes in many reliefs. To boost
her position she claimed a divine birth and depicted her story
in her temple.
After Hatshepsut's death, Thutmose III rose to power and managed
to revenge from her. He started to efface her name from her
eras the temple was changed to a monastery, hence the name Deir
The temple of Hatshepsut is built in three levels connected
by ramps. The first terrace was once nourished by myrrh trees
imported from the land of Punt (probably present-day Somalia).
The first ramp is bounded by colonnades
The ramp leads to the second terrace which is also bounded
by colonnades. The reliefs behind the colonnade carry the
important story of Hatshepsut's expedition to the land of
To the extreme left-hand side in the second terrace there
is an entrance flanked by square pillars that leads to a shrine
dedicated to Goddess Hathor.
Other reliefs behind the colonnades carry the divine birth
story of Hatshepsut. To the extreme right-hand side of the
court there is a chapel dedicated to Anubis.
The chapel is sided by an unfinished sanctuary.
The second ramp opens into the last terrace which has rows
of colonnades and an entrance that gets you to the upper hypostyle
hall that has the temple's sanctuary and chapels dedicated
to Queen Hatshepsut and her father hewn out in the rock. This
part of the temple was recently opened in early 2002 after
completing restoration work by Egyptian-Polish restoration
team that lasted more than 40 years.
To the south of Hatshepsut's temple a small temple built by
Thutmose III was found damaged because of a landslide.
Going further south, there are ruins of mortuary temple of
Montuhotep II (Nabhepetre). This temple was built earlier
in the 11th
dynasty and seldomly contained a royal tomb. Its design
is similar to that of Hatshepsut's temple.
The tomb of Senenmut, Hatshepsut's adviser, can also be found