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Posted on July 6th, 2012, by

Hatshepsut’s temple is one of the most famous Egyptian temples, which has been saved till our time. This mortality temple was situated on the West Bank of the Nile River. It is situated in the Valley of the Queens, which got this name later, some time after the temple had been built.

Despite the temple was not connected to the tomb of Queen, it was used as a place of mortuary cult. This place was an important destination point during the Festival of the Valley. This festival was an annual ceremony, during witch the barque of Amun was carried from Karnak to Necropolis. In the temple people celebrated the date of birth of Hatshepsut and some other significant events of her life and reign. Many buildings created during Hatshepsut’s reign make an important input in the development of architecture in ancient Egypt. Luxurious buildings in Luxor and Karnak make a wonderful example of architecture of that time. Some researches attribute great role in building these palaces to Hatshepsut’s steward Senenmut, other researches doubt this fact. The Senenmunt became much more than architect under Hatshepsut’s rule. He became her advisor and despite his relations with Hatshepsut’s are doubted, the honors he got give a reason to think about their possible affair.

The Hatshepsut temple was inspired by the temple built by King Mentuhotep. This temple was build as a funerary temple when Mentuhote, the kind of the Middle Kingdom, died. Semenmout, who was an architect of Queen Hatshepsut, used this temple as a source of inspiration and built one of the most beautiful temples of ancient Egypt.

The temple consists of many terraces which surround the palace. As John Julist Norwitch describes it: It consists of a succession of terraces whose supporting walls are masked by long colonnades divided in the centre by monumental access ramps. On the second terrace a third portico gives entry to a peristyle courtyard leading to the sanctuary, which is cut out of the cliff (Norwich 125). Semenmout put much effort in the building of this temple and the constructions used by this architect have never been repeated. One part of the temple stands freely and another part makes a part of the cliff. The temple has three levels surrounded by terraces which are connected by ramps. Each level is supported by colonnaded portico. The work of Senenmout is, in the strictness of its composition, architecturally very successful and a fine example of the integration of architecture and natural site (Norwitch 125).

Usually, ancient Egyptians oriented their buildings according to four sides of the world. The Hatshepsut temple is oriented to southeast, which is not typical for those times.

Despite Senemount used Menuhotep’s temple as an example, there are a number of things which differ significantly, for example, long colonnaded terraces which significantly differ from those which existed in Menuhotep’s temple.

The temple is also much larger than the one built for Menuhotep. Some terraces rich heights of 97 meters. Each storey’ is articulated by a double colonnade of square piers, with the exception of the northwest corner of the central terrace, which employs Proto Doric columns to house the chapel(Rodenbeck 16). The rows of the colonnades repeat the natural painting of the cliff, which is situated backdrop. The layering of Hatshepsut’s temple is made in classical Theban form. It contains courts, Pylon, hypostyle hall, chapel, sancturary and sun court.
The reliefs inside the temple tell a story of birth, life and death of the Hatshepsut. From the history we know that Hatshempsu was one of the most successful female pharaohs. The temple is also dedicated to Hatshepsut’s parents.

It also contains the chapels dedicated to different gods, such as Anibus.

The reliefs on the walls of the temple tell a story of her divine birth. In addition to the pictures, there is also an engraved text, which supplements the pictures. The text in the form of pictorial cycle tells the story of Hatshepsut’s travels to the Land of Punt. The statues which were presented in the temple included two statues of Osiris, several statues of sphinx and many statues of Hatshepsut herself. Unfortunately, the statues did not survive till present time.

Many of them were stolen, some were destroyed.

Some sphinxes had the Hatshepsut’s head. Hatshepsut herself was sometimes depicted with the body of the lion.

Such depictions have rich symbolism, as they underline her power and majesty. In some reliefs she is pictured clawing at adversaries. This symbolic picture described her ability to fight evil. Most reliefs and statues underline divine origin of Hatshepsut.

Originally, the temple was built in secret because it was planned as a place to burry expensive artifacts. Senmut’s work impressed Hatshepsut very much. He was rewarded with a big sum of money and finally became able to buy a temple of his own.

The architecture of Hatshepsut temple is very close to the Classical architecture. This palace is a remarkable architectural project, since it contains all the sings of Classical style. It was build during the turning point in art and architecture and contains the combination of old and new styles. The pieces which remained from the old style include megalithic geometry. The linear axiality reflected the architecture of the New Kingdom. Unfortunately, the architecture of the temple was seriously damaged during the reconstruction in the twentieth century AD. During the reconstruction works took place a mistake which significantly changed the view of the temple. So, this temple became a transition point between two epochs and underlined the pass from ancient style and art and architecture to classical one.

The temple of Hatshepsut became not only a real masterpiece, but also a great symbol of the epoch described Hatshepsut became one of the first females who gained power, same power as mail pharaohs. Her palace became a symbol of her power and majesty. Many male pharaohs followed her great temple. The temple became the first temple in the valley of Queen. Hatshepsut proved her right to be treated like an independent personality, who can make her own decision and even rule the country. She proved that she could have not only status of pharaoh’s wife, but also an independent ruler of the country. The great palace, erected in order to give honor to this outstanding woman. Moreover, the Osirian statues of Hatshepsutas with other pharaohsdepict the dead pharaoh as Osiris, with the body and regalia of that deity. All of the statues of Hatshepsut at her tomb follow that tradition (Hans Seton Lloyd, Muller 127). The statues of Hatshepsut which depict her divine origin prove respect and high position.

The statues at the tomb of Hatshepsut and her luxurious temple prove her right to be treated equally with male rulers.

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