Mortuary temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor Egypt | Facts Pharaonic Temples and History Deir El Bahari temple, Layout, drawings, inscriptions.
Before we talk about the Mortuary temple of Hatshepsut at Deir El Bahari, we will introduce in brief the Queen and why she is very famous in ancient Egyptian History. Meanwhile, her temple at Deir El Bahari is one of the top Luxor tourist attractions and one of the best Pharaonic temples in Luxor.
None of the Egypt tours packages or Nile Cruise does not include the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut in the Program. All Egypt tours, Day tours from Hurghada Tours and Marsa Alam Tours include the temple as a source of information about the Ancient Egyptian civilization during the The New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt.
Mortuary temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor Egypt
Who was Queen Hatshepsut?
The legendary female pharaoh Hatshepsut is one of the most successful Egyptian Pharaohs such as Ramesses II, Thutmose III, and Akhenaten.
Queen Hatshepsut was not the only female Pharaoh but she was the longest reigning one for over two decades. She was the daughter of the Pharoah Thutmose I with his royal wife Ahmose and she ruled Egypt during the New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty (1473-1458 B.C).
Hatshepsut has a tomb in the Valley of the Kings KV 20 as a Pharoah and is believed by many Egyptologists to have been the oldest in the Valley. Hatshepsut added parts to Luxor temple, and her chapel at Karnak temple together with her Obelisks are among Karnak highlights.
Mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut Opening hours
Opening hours from the temple of Queen Hatshepsut open daily like all Luxor west bank sightseeing from 06.00 am to 17.00 pm. The only temple that opens till late time on Luxor East Bank is Luxor temple as it opens at 06.00 am and closes at 21.00 pm.
How to get to Hatshepsut temple?
If you plan to visit the Valley of the Kings by limousine, taxi, bicycle, donkey, or any transportation method, you will end at the parking lot. Then you will walk between the Bazaars to the entrance of the visitor center.
Visitor Center at Deir El Bahari
After you will cross the Xray, you will see in front of you an amazing maquette for the valley of the Kings. The Maquette offers a very nice overview of the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut and that of Mentuhotep II. Restrooms are available in the visitor’s center (5 L.E) per person.
Hatshepsut temple Tickets
kindly put in your mind that you will need to purchase two tickets, an Entrance ticket for the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut and a ticket for the electric car. Ticket windows are next to the visitor center. The Entrance fee for Hatshepsut temple
Adult: EGP 160 (8 $)
Students with valid cards: EGP 80(4 $)
Children aged 6-12 years: EGP 80 (4 $)
Children under 6 years: FREE
Electric car: EGP 5(.26 $)
Best time to visit the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut
The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut is included in all the Nile Cruises programs as well as all Luxor Tours from Hurghada and Marsa Alam. So, normally the temple is very busy from 06.00 am to 09.00 am because of the Nile Cruises itineraries. Hurghada and Marsa Alam day trips reached the place around 10.00 am to 12.00 pm. so, the best time to visit The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut could be from 14.00 pm till 17.00 pm or very early morning.
Facts About the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut
- The owner of the temple Queen Hatshepsut is one of the very famous female characters in ancient Egyptian History such as Tausret, Khentkaus, and Meryt-Neith.
- The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut is on Luxor West Bank of the Nile River facing Karnak temple on Luxor East Bank.
- Deir El Bahari dates back to the New Kingdom, an era of ancient Egyptian history between 1550-1080BC.
- Hatshepsut temple has two parts, Part Carved inside the cliff mountain of El Deir El Bahari, and the second part built outside the mountain.
- The temple was built by the Chief Royal Architect, a possible lover of Queen Hatshepsut Senenmutز
- Her successors attempted to erase her from Egyptian historyز
- The temple of Queen Hatshepsut is aligned perfectly with the winter solstice sunrise, which in modern times occurs either the 21st or 22nd of December every year
- The Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw are responsible for the restoration of the temple since 1990. In other words, we can say the Temple has been completely restored.
- The mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II next to the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut was an inspiration for Hatshepsut.
- Two ramps connect the three terraces of the temple
- Together with the Luxor temple, the temple provides perfect information about pregnancy in ancient Egypt and the divine birthز
- Chapels for different gods and goddesses are here as God Anubis, Goddess Hathor, and God Amun.
- The temple is opened to tourism in 2000, then in 2017, the sanctuary of Amun was also opened for visit
- The first visitor to the temple in 1737 was an English traveler Richard Pococke
- In 1817 Giovanni and Henery Willian found the temple
- In 1823-1825 another visitor Henry Westcar and the appearance of the name Deir El Bahariز
- Between 1893–1906 Egypt Exploration Fund’s (EEF) expedition found the entire temple.
Where is the Mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut?
The Mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut is located on the west bank of the Nile River at Deir El Bahari, Luxor, Egypt. It lies directly facing Karnak Temple on the east bank of the Nile, the main sanctuary of the god Amun. Hatshepsut temple is next to the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II, and between Deir El Madina (workers city), and the Valley of Nobles.
What is the name of Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple?
The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, also known as the Djeser-Djeseru means Holy of Holies while Hatshepsut’s name means the Foremost of Noble Ladies.
Mortuary temple of Hatshepsut Layout
- First courtyard (Lower Portico)
- Sphinx Avenue
- Ramp to the next level
- Obelisks Colonnade(left)
- Fishing, hunting, and offering scenes
- Second courtyard (Middle Portico)
- Birth Colonnade (North)
- Anubis Chapel (North)
- Punt Expedition Colonnade (South)
- Hathor Chapel (South)
- Ramp to the third level
- Two Falcons statutes
- Third courtyard (Upper Portico)
- Two rows of columns
- Entrance to the open court
- Sanctuary of Amum where they celebrate the Beautiful Feast of the Valley
- Altar room (right)
- Solar cult chapel(right)
- Royal cult chapel(left)
- Enclosure wall
The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut Pharaonic drawings & inscriptions
After stepping out of the Electric car, you will find the entrance of Hatshepsut temple. Two Sycamore trees decorate the entrance from the Queen’s famous Punt expedition.
- First Level (Courtyard)
Crossing the entrance will take us to the processional road or Sphinx Avenue. Similar to that one of Karnak temple And Luxor temple, that processional road was decorated on both sides with statutes for Hatshepsut in the shape of the Sphinx with a Human head.
- Sphinx Avenue
Unfortunately, all these statues were smashed into very small pieces by her follower Thutmose II because she usurped his throne. All the statutes are missing. Only two were recently reconstructed and the southern one of them still keeps colored parts. Right after the reconstructed statutes, there are two T-shaped basins that held trees in the past.
To the south and north of the first ramp, we have the right and the left porticoes
The Portico measures 25m with 22 columns arranged in two rows of 11 columns. The south portico’s reliefs show how they cut Hatshepsut Obelisks from Aswan Quarries, and how they transported them from Aswan downstream to Karnak temple in Thebes. One of these Obelisks still standing in Karnak while the second one is broken. Moreover, here there are scenes for the Foundation Ritual of the temple like those in the Edfu temple. There are sixteen known foundation deposits at Hatshepsut’s temple.
The North portico has the same measurements as the south one and the walls reliefs show Hatshepsut like Sphinx crushing her enemies under her legs together with some fishing, hunting, and offering scenes.
First Ramp of the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut
Through a ramp of 73 steps, you can climb from the ground level to the middle one
Middle Level of Hatshepsut temple
The middle level is divided into two parts, the south portico, and the north portico.
South Portico of the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut
The south portico consists of 22 columns in two rows and the reliefs on the walls of this portico represent the expedition to the Land of Punt (Punt Expedition).
The reliefs started on the walls of the portico from the south wall then it goes from left to right on the west wall. The scenes started with Punt area houses and how they built their houses by the trees. They reached the houses through leaders may be to avoid snakes.
The next scene shows the head of the Punt country and his wife and their donkey receiving the Egyptian expedition headed by Nehesy.
West wall shows the 5 ships that left Egypt for Punt southwards to Suakin where the expedition disembarked. The trip takes between 20-25 days to sail.
The 5 Egyptian ships were outfitted with goods for trade and they brought back sacks of aromatic gum, gold, ebony, ivory, leopard skins, live apes, and incense trees.
Temple of Hatshepsut – Hathor Chapel
Goddess Hathor was considered the guardian of the El Deir El Bahari Area that’s why she has a chapel here at the south end of the west portico. There are three beautiful scenes here
First of all, all the columns here are called Hathoric columns like those of the Dendera temple, each column end with the human head and ears of the cow representing Hathor.
2nd there is a beautiful scene of the goddess Hathor as a cow and Hatshepsut sucking the holly milk.
3rd on the left side of the carved part inside the mountain there is a nice scene of Queen Hatshepsut portrayed as a male Pharoah putting the outstretched kilt, male headdress, straight false beard, and holding the royal signs.
4th On the eastern wall of Hathor Chapel, there is a representation of the beautiful feast of the Valley.
North Portico of the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut
Temple of Hatshepsut – Divine Birth of Hatshepsut
The dive birth of Queen Hatshepsut on the walls of her Mortuary temple on the west bank of the Nile River was a kind of Royal Propaganda. As mentioned before, Hatshepsut was the daughter of the Pharoah of the 18th Dynasty, New Kingdom Thutmose I with his royal wife Ahmose. Following her father’s death, she married her half-brother prince Thutmose II who became a king for 6 years and then died suddenly.
The King had a young prince son Thutmose III was 10 years old when his father died. According to Egyptian traditions, the young prince supposes to be a king but his aunt was his co-ruler-coregent. 3 years together then she put an aside and she ruled on her own for 20 years.
She created that story to say that she was the chosen one by God Amun and she is his daughter on his early throne. Amun, complained to the gods that he is bored and he wants to go out of his mood, gods advised him to marry a Human.
God Ibis (Thoth) found him Hatshepsut’s mother; they spent together a night. Then Amun ordered Khnum, God of creation to create the Queen and her Ka. He did it on his pottery wheel, and the mom became pregnant.
After delivering the baby Hatshepsut, we can see the milk provider babysitter feeding her and she grows up to be a princess. Finally, God Thoth writes and wishes her long years on the throne of Egypt.
Anubis the god of mummification and anatomy sometimes was portrayed as a jackal, sometimes Jackal headed man, and sometimes like a black dog. This chapel is one of the most beautiful colored places in the whole of Luxor.
The ceiling imitates the sky with the stars on blue background
Hatshepsut was portrayed in a very large-scale offering of sacrifices in front of Amun Ra and under the protection of the winged vulture goddess Nekhbet. Unfortunately, they erased Hatshepsut’s figure and we can see only the God Amun Ra.
2nd scene shows God Osiris with a green face and Hatshepsut was portrayed in front of him, they erased her and left the god
3rd the entrance of the Anubis chapel inside the mountain has the names of the Queen inside the cartouche, they erased all the names
4th Hatshepsut was portrayed offering a list of sacrifices in front of Anubis, they scratched her figure and left the god figure.
Inside the two small niches on the north and south walls, the figure of Hatshepsut was scratched from the walls.
In general, on the walls of this chapel, they erased all the Queen figures, scratched her names, and destroyed all her cartouches.
2nd Ramp of the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut
Ascending ramp connect the middle level with the upper level. We can see that the ramp was walled and it was a statute of Horus as a falcon on both sides of the Ramp. The third terrace of the temple of Hatshepsut in Deir el-Bahari was closed for restoration for many years but is now open to visitors.
Colonnade of the Upper portico of Hatshepsut temple
It is consisting of two rows of columns, one row consists of 8-sided columns and one 4-sided pillar with engaged statues for Hatshepsut in Osiris Form.
Through a granite entrance, we reach the open court.
The open court was never roofed and on the cliff sides, we see many niches housing Osiris form statues for Queen Hatshepsut.
Entrance to the Holly of the Hollies
There is part of the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut that was carved inside the mountain, 3 rooms one behind the other and it supposes to house the Braque of Amun Ra during the yearly Feast of the Valley.
Inner Sanctuary | vestibule
Yearly in December, the ancient Egyptians celebrated one of the very famous Egyptian feasts Called Sun-God feast or the beautiful feast of the Valley.
The feast started from Karnak when the boat of Amun cross the Nile and then carried on the shoulders of the priests to the vestibule of the temple.
It was a national feast, people from all over Egypt came, camped, and celebrate the feast like that Opet Feast between Karnak temple and Luxor temple.
We cannot mention the Mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut without mentioning the famous character Senenmut and the famous Royal Cache of Deir El Bahari Cache.
Senenmut was a very important character in his time and he carried many titles overall, he was the tutor of Hatshepsut’s daughter Neferu-Re, whom she died young. Far from the speech that Senenmut was a secret lover of Queen Hatshepsut, was also the overseer of the works, overseer of the royal palace, and overseer of the granaries of Amun.
Senenmut had the honor to make two tombs for himself, one is tt71 in Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, on the west bank across the river from Thebes. While the second one is TT353 within the Theban necropolis in an area known as Deir el-Bahari.
This TT353 tomb is very unique tomb as it is the only one even before the tomb of King Seti I has an astronomical ceiling. The astronomical ceiling and other decorations are in an almost perfect state of preservation.
The ceiling includes the earliest representation of the planets, with the notable exception of Mars, lunar months, and the constellations.
Both tombs are unfinished and we are still not sure if he was buried in any of them. Senenmut was lucky to receive a gift from Queen Hatshepsut, a Granite sarcophagus it was smashed but now is rebuilt and it is in New York in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Royal Cache of Deir El Bahari | DB320 | TT320
Previously, we mentioned that the royal tomb at the Valley of the Kings was robbed and the only one was the boy-king Tutankhamun’s tomb. Starting from 1870, archeologists noticed a lot of ancient Egyptian funerary objects, together with some important papyri started to be everywhere in Europe.
Gaston Maspero, director-general of excavations and antiquities of Egypt suspected that a royal place was discovered and they sell what they found there. Many objects bore royals’ names. For example, The Book of the Dead’ of Pinudjem was with one English man named Campbell. Maspero came to Luxor in March 1881 and he started his long investigations seeking out the looters and discovering the location of these tombs.
Finally, the oldest of the Abd el-Rassul Family, Mohammed, on June 25th, 1881, gave up the location of the cache to the authorities.
The Royal Cache of Deir El Bahari is known as DB320 or TT320 and they found more than 50 Royal Mummies in it with almost 6000 funerary objects including papyrus, Canopic Jars, and Shabti. However, most of the found mummies date back to the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th Dynasties of ancient Egyptian history during the New Kingdom.
We should mention that a scribe called Butehamun was in charge remove the mummies from their original tombs after rewrapping them in the new place.
Here are some of the most important Egyptian Pharaohs found in it
- Ahmose I
- Seti I
- Ramesses II
- Ramesses IX
- Ramesses II
- Ramesses III
- Thutmosis III
1st – Queen Hatshepsut was not the only female Pharoah in ancient Egyptian History, we have female characters before and after her, and here are some of them
2nd- Pharoah Thutmosis III, Hatshepsut nephew ordered to replace her names, scratch her figures, and destroy her statutes from the temple. Some historians believe it was not a king of revenge but the ancient Egyptians never see a woman as a Pharoah.
That was a brief idea about a must-see Pharaonic temple while you enjoy your Egypt tours or Nile Cruise. Here, you can learn a lot about ancient Egyptian history during the New Kingdom, the rule of women in ancient Egypt, and some of the very famous Egyptian Pharaohs kings and their life.
For more information about the top places to visit on Luxor west bank please consider the following list
KV2 The Tomb of Ramesses IV
KV6 The Tomb of Ramesses IX
KV11 The Tomb of Ramesses III
KB 8 Merenptah tomb
KV 14 Tausert and Setnakht
KV9 – Ramesses V, Ramesses VI
KV17 – Seti I
KV62 – Tutankhamun
That was about the Pharaonic tombs but if you like to know more about Egyptian history, ancient Egyptian civilization, and Pharaonic temple, we recommend the following sites
Medinet Habu temple
Valley of the Queens
Tombs of Nobles