Hatshepsut Temple, Shrine to the Queen that was King
A Coptic Christian cemetery is just one of several uses this area has had over the centuries, and includes a mortuary complex for Pharaoh Mentuhotep II who reunited Egypt during the Middle Kingdom. The most notable construction though is the Hatshepsut Temple, a beautiful mortuary shrine which rises 30 meters (97 feet) up a cliff face at the end of a grand boardwalk, and was once lined with sphinxes. The Hatshepsut Temple is considered by many to be the closest the Egyptians came to Classical Architecture, and is commonly associated with ancient Greece and Rome, as opposed to the Pyramids of Egypt.
Queen Hatshepsut, the second and only female pharaoh in the 18th dynasty, reigned for approximately 22 years. She is generally considered to be one of the most successful Egyptian pharaohs, having established trade routes and commissioned several new building projects. Queen Hatshepsut is believed to have lived into her fifties, dying of a blood infection while also suffering from several other ailments, such as diabetes. Hatshepsut Temple is a stunning funerary complex in her memory, and a spectacular one at that.
As artifacts have been collected, and even vandalized by successive generations, many of the items that once adorned the Temple of Hatshepsut are now scattered across the world. A huge group of mummies was found at the Hatshepsut Temple, including many pharaohs which are now on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, along with several other artifacts. Many package tours to Luxor are combined with stops in Cairo as well, so make sure to leave enough time, a full day even, to stop in at the Egyptian Museum. Here you can enjoy an extensive exhibit on mummies which will help you to fully appreciate the history of the queen that was king, and her mortuary shrine: Hatshepsut Temple.
When to Go to Hatshepsut Temple
Odds n' Ends
There are no permanent refreshment stands at Hatshepsut Temple, so bring a supply of water with you as it's likely you'll get thirsty during your visit. Water is generally safe to drink in Egypt, but bottled water is available at many stores, particularly in the hotels if there are concerns.
Make sure to have plenty of small bills easily accessible in your pockets for baksheesh, or tips. Many Egyptians work off tips by showing tourists different things at such sites, like the Temple of Hatshepsut. It's considered socially unacceptable and rude if you don't tip them for their efforts.
Sadly, 62 people (58 tourists and 4 Egyptians) were killed by terrorists at the Temple of Hatshepsut in the morning of November 17, 1997. Subsequent terrorist attacks in Egypt and across the globe, like those on September 11, 2001, have kept tourism numbers down in Luxor and the rest of Egypt. The Egyptian Government has made safety a priority for their visitors, but such issues make the Temple of Hatshepsut feel rather empty in comparison to the crowds that once roamed over its grounds. It's a spectacular complex and one definitely worth experiencing.
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