One of the most amazing temples ever built on this planet! When we think of Ancient Egypt, by default we think of majestically built pyramids in the middle of the desert such as the Great Pyramids of Giza. But what people often forget I that, the ancient Egyptians also built numerous other types of monuments, including massive temples, mostly to honor the Gods and let the pharaoh’s reign be remembered forever.
One such temple is the Temple of Hatshepsut. It is a mortuary temple that was constructed by Pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut, who ruled over Egypt in the 18th dynasty. The temple is also referred to as the Djeser-Djeseru. Read along to know the most fascinating facts about the Temple of Hatshepsut –
Who was Hatshepsut?
Hatshepsut was an Egyptian Pharaoh who reigned over Egypt in the 18th Dynasty, which lasted between 1549/1550 and 1292 B.C. Hatshepsut was the daughter of Thutmose I (1520-1492 BCE) and his wife Ahmose. She is considered to be one of the most successful pharaohs in Egyptian history. Hatshepsut commissioned the construction of the temple soon after she began her reign in 1479 B.C. The construction lasted for 15 years. She passed away in 1458 B.C.
It is built below the massive cliffs
Hatshepsut is one of the most powerful female pharaohs to rule over Egypt. Of course her temples would be massive and dramatic. Built below a massive cliff at Deir el-Bahari, a complex of mortuary temples on the west bank of the River Nile. This is a part of the great Theban Necropolis.
Ancient Egyptians believed that, if a person is remembered, then their soul will get a ticket to the gods land. That is why they were so heavy on building huge fancy things. the temple doesn’t have an odd angle. Hatshepsut made sure of that. It looks just as amazing in a dramatic way below the huge cliffs.
Hatshepsut was elevated to the position of the wife of the god Amun
That is such a turn of events! The most important status an Egyptian woman could achieve. So, the Temple of Hatshepsut wasn’t just dedicated to her, but also to the god Amun. Turns out people were actually fond of her.
It misses a model that stood right next to god Amun
Hatshepsut wanted to be seen as an amazing ruler. She had her own statue sculpted right next to the god Amun. By this she wanted to be immortal. In the same area where she built her temple was the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II, a very highly regarded pharaoh who reigned for 51 years between 2061 and 2010 B.C.
Hatshepsut’s stepson erased her from history
The worst thing that can happen to an Egyptian is to be forgotten or not remembered at all. Hatshepsut and her step son Thutmose III ruled the kingdom together. Apparently, he wanted to be remembered as the main ruler of Egypt instead of sharing this honor with his stepmother, so he erased her name from all monuments. Such an puny little guy. None of the ornaments and statues of Hatshepsut that used to decorate the temple still exist. There is zero evidence of rivalry between these two.
There is one thing he left untouched
The most interesting facts about the temple of Hatshepsut is that, her stepson, Thutmose III, left one thing about her existence literally untouched – which is the story of her divine birth. The relics at the entrance of the temple show the divine birth of Hatshepsut.
The temple is aligned with the stars
Ancient Egyptians were not only excellent astronomers but also amazing architects and engineers. Their monuments , pyramids are all an evidence for that. The Temple of Hatshepsut is aligned perfectly with the winter solstice sunrise, which in modern times occurs either the 21st or 22nd of December every year.
An amazing thing happens inside the temple. A light-box appears in the center of the temple as the sun rises and first highlights the god Amun-Ra with soft sunrays. Then it slowly moves towards the image of the kneeling Thutmose III before it finally puts the Nile god Hapi into the spotlight.
The Temple is being completely restored
The Temple was only rediscovered at the middle of 19th century when excavations near the temple also translated the hieroglyphics which led to the discovery of a female pharaoh. All evidence of Hatshepsut existence was destroyed by Thutmose III, but he dumped the evidence nearby. And immortal she is!