Hatshepsut Temple in Luxor

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History

Hatshepsut’s reign as queen-regent to Thutmose III, her husband’s son from another woman, is a significant part of Egypt’s history. However, her legacy extends beyond being the only woman to rule Egypt. As a powerful pharaoh, she oversaw a period of peace and prosperity in the country. Hatshepsut also established profitable trade routes to the southern nation of Punt, which can be explored today through Egypt trips or Egypt and Jordan tours.

Her accomplishments are immortalized in the shrine’s relief sculptures, including her notable contribution to the construction of various temples, particularly the Karnak. The Karnak temple was severely damaged by Thutmose III upon ascending the throne, possibly due to Hatshepsut’s hindrance to his path to becoming pharaoh. The temple was later used as a monastery in the first century AD, which hastened its deterioration, leading to extensive restoration. However, most of the relief paintings and columns are not original, and the temple may appear less impressive to visitors due to inadequate maintenance.

The Rule of Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut, the daughter of Thutmose and Ahmose, was married to Thutmose II as per Egyptian royal customs. She held the esteemed title of God’s Wife of Amon, which was the second-highest position for a woman in Egypt. Hatshepsut’s reign was marked by prosperity and peace, focusing on successful trade, a thriving economy, and numerous public works projects that employed people from across the country. She also demonstrated military prowess and maintained a strong army. Additionally, her ventures in commerce were highly successful, and her journey to Punt was particularly legendary. Hatshepsut’s funerary temple was built to surpass all others in beauty and grandeur, serving as a testament to her life and rule.

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Senenmut, who served as Hatshepsut’s steward, confidant, Neferu-educator, Ra’s, and possibly her romantic partner, designed the temple. Senenmut meticulously reconstructed it, making it larger, longer, and more elaborate compared to Mentuhotep II’s temple. To reach the second level of Hatshepsut’s temple, visitors had to walk through beautiful gardens and an impressive entry pylon flanked by tall obelisks, using a considerably longer and more impressive ramp. In contrast, Mentuhotep II’s temple had a massive stone ramp from the first courtyard to the second level.

When to Visit

For the best experience, it is recommended to visit the temple early in the morning to avoid the heat. The temple is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hatshepsut’s temple is one of the many remarkable archaeological sites that make up Ancient Thebes and its Necropolis, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spending a few days there allows you to explore the vibrantly painted tombs in the Valley of the Kings, the expansive Karnak Temple Complex, and the Temple of Luxor, especially during sunset. If you can tolerate the summer heat, visiting between May and September can help you avoid the crowds. However, keep in mind that winters are milder but may have more visitors during the busy holiday season.

Additional Points of Interest

There are several other attractions near the Hatshepsut Temple that might catch your interest. Here are some of the most popular sights in close proximity to the temple itself. If you have a fascination with Ancient Egyptian culture and history, chances are you already have an idea of the places you want to visit.
The Valley of the Kings, boasting over 60 tombs, served as the final resting place for numerous kings during the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties.
The Temple of Karnak is one of the largest temple complexes, offering a plethora of things to explore. Once again, hiring a guide can greatly enhance your vacation experience.
Staying in Luxor is highly recommended as it provides easy access to the temple and other local attractions. The present-day city is situated where Thebes once stood, and Luxor offers a wide array of accommodation options, museums, pubs, restaurants, shopping opportunities, and more.

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