Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut

Queen Hatshepsut was a female ruler in the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt. Before she became queen, she bore her name and did not change it after taking the throne. Hatshepsut ruled for almost 22 years. She carried such titles as “Consort of the god Amun” and “Great wife of the king.”

Hatshepsut is one of Egypt’s most influential and famous rulers, equated with Tutankhamun, Ramses and Cleopatra. We can say she refused to be a member of the government of Thutmose III and called herself Pharaoh. After the queen restored Egypt, which suffered from the Hyksos, Hatshepsut began constructing many monuments throughout Egypt. She also accompanied campaigns to the war. In total, only four women ruled on the throne before the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great. All these women came to power when Egypt’s toughest decline and Hatshepsut came into its prime.

Origins

She was one of the daughters of Thutmose I and Queen Ahmes. Based on this, her grandfather was Pharaoh Ahmose I, the founder of the New Kingdom. While her father was alive, she became the “Spouse of God” – the primary (high) priestess of the god Amun. Queen Hatshepsut had a sister, Nefrubiti, and four younger brothers, two of whom died as babies. After the death of her husband Thutmose I, she became the wife of her blood brother Thutmose II. However, this Pharaoh ruled for four years only. In general, Hatshepsut was a purebred queen, and the whole dynasty was completely unblended.

Experts believe she ranked on a reasonably high status in Ancient Egypt. Thanks to that, she became a pharaoh. Thus the ancient Egyptians passed the throne on through the female line. Her father and husband were alive. She could well be the ruler instead of Thutmose II. Hatshepsut and Thutmose had only one daughter who bore the status of “The wife of the god Amun”. The ancient Egyptians depicted her in the guise of the heiress to the throne.

Reign

The reign of Queen Hatshepsut was significant and prosperous in Ancient Egypt. She showed herself in many areas; the main of them was the sphere of construction. Only Ramses II had more buildings than hers. The queen has revived a large number of the destroyed monuments by the Hyksos.

In addition, Hatshepsut herself actively constructed temples: she erected the “Red Sanctuary” in the Karnak Temple, which was her father’s complex. She built this sanctuary of graphite for the ceremonial boat of the god Amun. After a while, under Amenhotep III, it was demolished. Once again, the Greeks used it as a material for buildings in the Hellenistic era. Recently, archaeologists have restored it in the “open-air temple museum“. All relief images adorn the walls of the sanctuary. The polish mission has recently wholly restored them.

Under the queen’s direction, ancient engineers constructed giant obelisks of granite stone in Karnak and built a tower in the temple of the god Amun. Also, they established The famous sanctuary of Amun-Kamutef. Besides, they enlarged the temple of Amon’s wife, the goddess Mut. She also raised four massive monuments – obelisks standing between the pylons of Thutmose I. The other two obelisks – next to the pylon of the temple of Amon-Ra. These obelisks were the tallest in Egypt, but later, Thutmose III concreted them. In our time, only one obelisk survives – a block of red granite. Under the queen’s rule, a giant obelisk was created, which was never completed. It was supposed to be almost 42 meters in height and stand at Karnak. This obelisk is practically three times the size of the giant obelisks in Egypt.

Hatshepsut temple in Deir El Bahari

The Hatshepsut Temple is one of the most famous and significant monuments in Deir el-Bahri. This temple stands in the West of Thebes. The construction of the temple went on for nine years. The leading architect was Senmut. This temple has practically followed the temple of Pharaoh Mentuhotep II; the columns are fascinating until now. Previously, the temple was unique; its architecture was harmonious and flawless.

The architecture of the Temple

The temple consisted of three large terraces decorated with snow-white columns. Large ramps lead to the top of the building in the centre of the temple, to the sanctuary itself. They depicted drawings of the queen and statues and sphinxes bowing before her. Some are still preserved and located in Cairo, the Museum of Egypt, and New York at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

First Terrace

To the very first terrace, one could go through the alley of the queen’s sphinxes, decorated with trees. The Sphinxes were located on both sides of the road for 40 meters. This road begins from the temple’s lowest terrace to the borders of the desert and past the fields of the Nile Valley. The temple in Deir el-Bahri was dedicated to Hatshepsut and Amon-Ra, who the queen’s father deified. In front of the entrance to the temple, there was a garden where extraordinary exotic trees and shrubs grew. Besides, they dug pools in this place.

The unique reliefs are at a very high level of execution; they indicate the main events of the reign of Queen Hatshepsut. On the lower terrace, the walls of the porticoes show how the obelisks were delivered from Aswan to Karnak and scenes of various rituals.

Second Terrace

On the second terrace, the reliefs depict the potent marriage of the god Amun and Queen Ahmose, who were the parents of Hatshepsut. And also, there is a depiction of a distant expedition. Hatshepsut set off this expedition in the 9th year of her reign to the faraway country of Punt.

The ancients depicted the idea of ​​unifying the two lands also on the stairs’ railing. This railing unites the second and third terraces. An image of a colossal cobra decorates the lowermost parts of the stairs. This cobra refers to the goddess Wadjet. In this image, the tail of this cobra stretches up the head of the goddess Wadjet herself.

On both sides of the second terrace, there are the sanctuaries of Anubis and Hathor. They consist of 12-column hypostyle halls located on the terrace. Also, they consist of interior rooms that go into the depths of the rock. Exceptionally, Hatshepsut dedicated the uppermost terrace to the gods who gave life to Egypt and herself, too. Not far from the central courtyard exist the sanctuaries of Ra, Thutmose and Ahmose. However, in the very centre, there is the sanctuary of Amon-Ra. This sanctuary was the Holy of Holies, the central, majestic and secret part of Deir el-Bahri.

Hatshepshut Sancatury in Medinet Habu

Not far from the temple of Deir el-Bahri, in the western part of Thebes, the queen ordered to make a sanctuary in Medinet Habu, on the site of the Djeme hill, where the serpent is the serpent Kematef, which depicted the energy of Amun-Ra, rested.

Queen Hatshepsut built various temples, not only in Thebes but throughout Egypt. A rock temple in Speos Artemidos, in honour of the goddess Pakht. Another temple to the goddess Satet, located on the island of Elephantine. Archaeologists have found several fragments with the architecture of the queen in Abydos, Hermopolis, Memphis, Armant etc.

1 thought on “Hatshepsut

  1. Trust me! Being a queen in Ancient Egypt was not that easy. That is what I have understood after reading this write-up. One had to pass through so many tests. It takes a lot of courage, determination, and tough spirit to become a queen. Also, what I feel after reading the history of this famous queen is that she was a ruler with a sense of culture. It shows in the fact that she had built so many monuments during her reign. She was also of a very strong religious bent of mind, the fact that she built certain structures in different temples dedicated to the gods and goddesses make a statement about her religiosity. She was a ruler who made Egypt prosper under her rule. Her contribution to art and architecture is something to be cherished for all future generations to come. My suggestion is: if you come to Egypt, make sure that seeing these temples is a must-do on your agenda.

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