The Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut

The Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at El-Deir el-Bahri

Historical Context

  • Pharaoh: Queen Hatshepsut, one of the few female pharaohs of ancient Egypt, ruling in the 18th Dynasty.
  • Location: Situated in the bay of cliffs known as Deir el-Bahri on the West Bank of Luxor, near the Valley of the Kings.
  • Construction Era: 18th Dynasty, New Kingdom period.

Architectural Significance

  • Design: The temple, known as Djeser-Djeseru (the ‘sacred of sacred’), is renowned for its grand architecture, terraced structure, and alignment with the Karnak Temple.
  • Influence: Reflects architectural elements from the Middle Kingdom temple of Mentuhotep Nebhepetre in the same area.

Features and Artistic Elements

  • Terraces: Built on three levels with a connecting causeway, previously linked to a Valley Temple and the Nile.
  • Gardens: The lower courtyard originally featured exotic gardens with trees.
  • Reliefs: The temple’s walls are adorned with intricate and colorful reliefs.
    • Expedition to Punt: Famous scenes depicting the journey to the mysterious land of Punt, showcasing exotic animals, plants, and the local people, including the depiction of the ‘Queen of Punt’.
    • Divine Birth and Coronation: Illustrations of Hatshepsut’s divine birth narrative and her coronation ceremonies, affirming her right to rule.

Restoration and Alterations

  • Damage and Restoration: Over time, parts of the temple were damaged and defaced, notably by Hatshepsut’s successor, Thutmose III. Restoration efforts have been ongoing to preserve its original splendor.
  • Current State: The temple stands as a testament to Hatshepsut’s reign and architectural vision, attracting scholars and tourists alike.

Significance in Egyptian Culture

  • Cultural and Religious Importance: The temple served as both a commemorative monument for Hatshepsut and a religious center for the worship of Amun and other deities.
  • Archaeological Value: Provides insights into the religious beliefs, artistic styles, and trade expeditions of the New Kingdom era.

Visitor Experience

  • Tourism: A key attraction in Luxor, offering a unique glimpse into the life and legacy of one of Egypt’s most intriguing pharaohs.
  • Educational Value: The temple’s reliefs and structure offer a rich educational experience for those interested in ancient Egyptian history and mythology.


The Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at El-Deir el-Bahri is a monumental tribute to one of Egypt’s most extraordinary rulers. Its architectural elegance, richly detailed reliefs, and historical significance make it a crown jewel of ancient Egyptian heritage in Luxor.

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