Travel to Hatshepsut’s Temple – Impressive Temple of Egypt’s Only Female Pharaoh
Appearing to be carved into the cliffs which tower above it Hatshepsut’s Temple is a remarkable reminder of the 22-year reign of Egypt’s only female Pharaoh. Married to her half-brother her political machinations ensure that on his premature death she was made pharaoh, rather than his son. With nothing else like it in Egypt her temple is unique and is testimony to her power and success.
Hatshepsut was the daughter of Tuthmosis I and married to her half-brother Tuthmosis II, who died when his son and heir Tuthmosis III was too young to assume power. Hatshepsut seized the opportunity presented and, with political manoeuvrings, persuaded the influential priesthood to support her as Pharaoh. She ruled for 22 years and left many memorials including the famous obelisks at Karnak Temple. Her rule was characterised by peace, trade and success and yet on her death the new Pharaoh, Tuthmosis III, endeavoured to remove all references to her reign.
Hatshepsut’s massive funerary temple is triple-terraced and approached via a huge ramp. Only excavated at the beginning of the last century the dig revealed the story of her rule and showed how Tuthmosis III’s attempted to remove references to her reign by obliterating her cartouches and images. Nevertheless many images remain, some depicting her as a male pharaoh with the traditional kilt and false beard, whilst in others she is shown quite clearly as a woman. Scenes around the temple include the famous relief of the expedition to Punt – modern Somalia – on a trading mission, and the Chapel of Hathor where this female goddess, depicted as a cow with a disc between its horns, is shown suckling Hatshepsut, thus reinforcing her right to rule.
Hatshepsut’s Temple is best visited on the way back from Valley of the Kings. Allow around an hour to explore it.
After your visit there are lots of vendors selling cold drinks – grab one and admire the view back towards the temple.
If not visiting by taxi, private vehicle or by donkey on the way back from the Valley of the Kings Hatshepsut’s Temple can be reached by taxi from the rank near the ferry dock on the west bank: negotiate a fare and waiting time before setting off.
- Look for representations of Hatshepsut as a male pharaoh
- See the frieze of the expedition to Punt
- Enter the Chapel of Hathor to see the famous depiction of Hatshepsut being suckled the goddess