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Nile Cruises: Temple of Hatshepsut

Posted by: johnmcc

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Hatshepsut was a monumental woman in history. She reigned as the fifth Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, regarded by modern Egyptologists as one of the most successful Pharaohs, her reign lasting longer than any other female ruler. She is believed to have ruled from 1503BC to 1482BC and throughout her time, was recognised for rebuilding Egypt’s trade network after their disruption during the Hyksos occupation. Although claims about Hatshepsut have been contested, it is believed that she is regarded as the earliest known Queen in history, as well as the first known woman to be classed as Pharaoh, ensuring her place as the first great woman in history. Despite this, her stepson Tuthmosis lll became Pharaoh after his kingship was delayed by her and perhaps feeling challenged by her achievements ordered anything linked to her astonishing reign to be destroyed. All images of Hatshepsut were chiselled off temples, monuments and obelisks. It has only been recently discovered by modern archaeologists that her reign was so monumental.

The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut is part of the focal point of the Deir el-Bahri (Northern Monastery) located on the West bank of the Nile,  like the Valley of the Queens, the temple is facing Luxor, formerly known as ancient Thebes. The three-tiered temple was designed and implemented by Senemut, the pharaoh’s royal steward.  Her temple, known as Dseser-Djeseru, translates to meaning ‘Splendour or Splendours’, enforcing her impressive reign.

The relief sculpture in Hatshepsut’s temple retells the story of the divine birth of a female Pharaoh - the first of its kind, with text and pictures telling the story of her life. They include her expedition to the Land of Punt (a country on the Red Sea), two statues of Osiris, a sphinx avenue as well as many sculptures of the Queen herself. Many of these beautiful artefacts were either stolen or destroyed in later years.  The temple was found tens of centuries after its completion beneath hundreds of tons of sand.

The Temple is included as part of the excursion programme in a Nile Cruise.

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