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The temple of Queen Hatshepsut

The memorial temple of Queen Hatshepsut in Deir El-Bahri is one of the most outstanding and at the same time unusual temple complexes in Egypt. The temple became a real miracle of engineering thought by ancient builders and today is one of the most famous structures of ancient Egyptian architecture.

Queen Hatshepsut was in many ways an outstanding woman for her time. The daughter of Pharaoh Thutmose I, half-sister and part-time spouse of Thutmose II, she should have dutifully assumed the role of regent at the young stepson Thutmose III after the death of her royal husband. However, Hatshepsut was too proud to allow herself to be controlled further. Bypassing the rightful heir, Hatshepsut proclaimed herself the only and sovereign Queen of Egypt, and 15 years of her reign became one of the best in the history of the XVIII dynasty, crowned with numerous victories in the military field.

The Tsarina herself did not forget to glorify her victories, as well as herself. The memorial church on the west bank of the Nile has become one of the main structures designed to praise Hatshepsut not only on earth, but also in heaven.

The place for construction itself was not chosen by chance – next to the tomb of Mentuhotep I, the pharaoh who was considered the ancestor of the XVIII dynasty. Thus, the queen emphasized that she has every right to the throne, captured bypassing the legal heir.

The temple was built in accordance with all the rules. The entrance to its territory was a huge pylon, a narrow passage, built in the form of a truncated pyramid, from which there was a 37-meter path to the temple. Sphinxes guarded this road from two sides. The irrigated space in front of the temple was decorated with a garden of strange trees and shrubs, and two sacred lakes were immediately destroyed.

Three huge terraces of the temple itself, one above the other, were connected by ramp stairs. The walls of the temple were decorated with numerous reliefs that corresponded to the attitude of the ancient Egyptians. There are walls depicting the delivery of obelisks to the Amon temple complex under construction at the order of Hatshepsut in Karnak, and reliefs depicting the history of the Queen’s divine birth, embodying the legend that the god Amon was her real father.

The highest terrace was intended for the main rituals. It was here that the entrance to the Hatshepsut shrine, located in the rock, was cut down. Once here, in front of tetrahedral columns, there were monumental statues of the queen herself, which were visible from the ships sailing along the Nile. In the main hall there was also once a monumental image of Hatshepsut, from which only fragments are now preserved, the floors were lined with gold and silver plates.

After the death of the queen, her temple continued to be a place of worship. Centuries later, people came here who believed that the sacred walls would help them recover from serious illnesses. Later, the temple was abandoned and turned into ruins. And only through the efforts of restorers, who took up the seemingly overwhelming work in 1961, the temple of Queen Hatshepsut today comes back to life.