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Planning your visit to the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor?
Here are my travel-tested tips for making the most of your visit to the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor!
Find out how to get to the temple, how much does it cost to visit the temple, and what is the best time to visit.
Read about why the Temple of Hatshepsut is so important and what to see at the temple.
Finally, learn about Queen Hatshepsut.
Here is everything you need to know to make your visit efficient and memorable!
Also, if you are planning a trip to Luxor, check out my post: Perfect 2-Day Itinerary in Luxor.
What Is the Temple of Hatshepsut
The Temple of Hatshepsut, also known as Djeser-Djeseru (Holy of Holies), is a mortuary temple built by Pharaoh Hatshepsut and dedicated to herself and god Amun.
The Temple of Hatshepsut is built into a cliff face and consists of a series of terraces lined with columns that can be reached by long ramps.
Where is the Temple of Hatshepsut
The Temple of Hatshepsut is located in Upper Egypt. Specifically, it is situated beneath the cliffs at Deir el-Bahari on the West Bank of the River Nile in Luxor. It is no more than 10-15 minute car ride from the Valley of the Kings.
Image Credit: Map data @2020 ORION-ME
How to Get to the Temple of Hatshepsut
Getting to the Temple of Hatshepsut, which is located about 17 miles northwest of Luxor on the West Bank, requires either hiring a driver, getting a taxi, or joining a bus tour.
For me, it was the third day of cruising along the Nile River. I started my day with a sunrise hot air balloon ride over Luxor. The experience was breathtaking and I am strongly recommending it. However, it requires getting up practically in the middle of the night since it takes time to reach the launching pad. In spite of it, it was all worth it. Don’t miss it! You will be mesmerized by the bird’s-eye view of the Valley of the Kings bathed in the first rays of sun.
Right after the sunrise hot air balloon ride, I returned to my cruise boat and my tour guide with a driver was already waiting for me. And, we took off to the Valley of the Kings. Make sure to check out my two posts:
With a Private Guide and a Driver
Honestly, having a driver and a tour guide is the best option of visiting the Temple of Hatshepsut. This option gives you the total flexibility.
Now, if you are staying in one of the hotels in Luxor, your hotel will be more than happy to arrange for you a driver and a guide. Needless to say, this is an expensive option, but it is all worth it.
On a Tour
You can ask your hotel for a bus tour that stops at all major attractions in Luxor. It is probably one of the least expensive options. But, it does not give you much flexibility.
Another option is to just book a taxi and head to the Temple of Hatshepsut. You will always be able to hire a guide right at the entrance to the Temple of Hatshepsut.
How Long Does It Take to Visit the Temple of Hatshepsut
My recommendation is to dedicate at least 2 to 3 hours to tour the The Temple of Hatshepsut. The temple grounds are vast. You will need to walk quite a bit. If you are visiting during the late spring, summer, or early fall, the temperatures can be brutal. Make sure to carry a lot of water, and apply a ton of sunblock. And, don’t forget a hat. It is a must! Finally, just a reminder, to wear comfortable walking shoes.
I visited the area in late December and the temperatures were in the high 80’s F.
How Much Does It Cost to Visit the Temple of Hatshepsut
The entrance ticket to the Temple of Hatshepsut costs 140 EGP. I need to add that I do not know if it is possible to buy tickets in advance. I have not found any resources on the internet. As I mentioned before, the temple grounds are vast. You will not really feel that the area gets crowded. It does occasionally get busy when the large tour groups pass by.
Can You Take Pictures Inside the Temple of Hatshepsut
During my visit to the Temple of Hatshepsut I was able to use my camera as well as my cellphone. However, once you are in Egypt, you will discover that the rules change. So be prepared. Always take your camera with you and store it in your backpack.
What Are the Opening Hours of the Temple of Hatshepsut
The Temple of Hatshepsut is open daily from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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What Is the Best Time to Visit the Temple of Hatshepsut
As I mentioned before, no matter what time of the year you are visiting, the entire region is notorious for high temperatures. My best advice is to arrive as early in the day as possible or even as late as possible.
However, I understand that sometimes it is not possible due to a packed itinerary. So, if you happen to have your tour of the Temple of Hatshepsut scheduled right in the middle of the day, make sure to wear a hat, apply sunblock or wear a light long sleeve shirt and light long pants. Needless to say, wear comfy shoes! Don’t forget water!
Do You Need a Tour Guide to Visit the Temple of Hatshepsut
First of all, you do not a tour guide to explore the Temple of Hatshepsut. You can roam the temple grounds all by yourself and soak it all in. However, as I always said, having a knowledgeable guide by your side is simply invaluable.
Notwithstanding, while I was being transported to the Temple of Hatshepsut, my guide talked to me about Hatshepsut and gave me an overview of her reign. Once, we got to the temple, he walked me through all the key areas and explained the importance of each section.
Who Was Hatshepsut
To start off, before you head to the Temple of Hatshepsut, let’s find out who Hatshepsut was!
Upon the death of Thutmose II, Hatshepsut began acing as regent for her stepson Thutmose III.
How Did Hatshepsut Come to Power
Hatshepsut was supposed to control the affairs of state until Thutmose III was to come of age. However, around 1473 BC, Hatshepsut broke with the tradition and had herself crowned as the pharaoh of Egypt becoming a co-ruler of Egypt with Thutmose III.
Was it ambition or a political crisis that prompted Hatshepsut to assume the title and full powers of a pharaoh?
After less than seven years, however, Hatshepsut took the unprecedented step of assuming the title and full powers of a pharaoh herself, becoming co-ruler of Egypt with Thutmose III.
Though past Egyptologists held that it was merely the queen’s ambition that drove her, more recent scholars have suggested that the move might have been due to a political crisis, such as a threat from another branch of the royal family, and that Hatshepsut may have been acting to save the throne for her stepson.
Interestingly, I think, Hatshepsut knew that her reign as a pharaoh might have been vulnerable. I think this is the reason why many of her statues show her as a male pharaoh with a beard.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
What Did Hatshepsut Accomplish as a Pharaoh
Hatshepsut’s major accomplishment was opening and expending the trade routes.
Her expedition to the Land of Punt is beautifully documented in the section of the Temple of Hatshepsut called the Punt Colonnade.
Where was the Land of Punt?
The exact location of Punt is still debated by historians. Most scholars today believe Punt was situated to the southeast of Egypt, most likely in the coastal region of modern Djibouti, Somalia, northeast Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the Red Sea littoral of Sudan.
Source: Wikipedia Commons
The Punt Colonnade reveals a lot about the expedition spearheaded by Hatshepsut. It shows the ships that sailed to the Land of Punt. It depicts the inhabitants of the fairway land.
Furthermore, it shows the variety of trees and animals that were found in the Land of Punt.
Moreover, you can find out what kind of goods were brought back.
How were the trade routes established?
During the reign of Queen Hatshepsut in the 15th century BC, ships regularly crossed the Red Sea in order to obtain bitumen, copper, carved amulets, naptha and other goods transported overland and down the Dead Sea to Elat at the head of the gulf of Aqaba where they were joined with frankincense and myrrh coming north both by sea and overland along trade routes through the mountains running north along the east coast of the Red Sea.
Besides trade, Hatshepsut oversaw an immense period of building across Egypt. Needless to say, she was probably one of the most prolific builders in the Egyptian history. She employed the great architect Ineni, who also had worked for her father, her husband, and for the royal steward Senemut.
During her reign, so much statuary was produced that almost every major museum with Ancient Egyptian artifacts in the world has Hatshepsut statuary among their collections.
First of all, she had monuments constructed at the Temple of Karnak. Next, she constructed an underground complex carved into a cliff known as the Temple of Pakhet. However, her masterpiece was the mortuary temple she built as a dedication to herself and god Amun, known as the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut.
Hatshepsut’s reign was one of the most in prosperous Egypt’s history. The successful trade contributed to the economic growth and her many public works employed laborers and skilled workers from all over the nation.
Why Was Hatshepsut Removed from History
How and why Hatshepsut died is unknown. There is a lot of speculation and theories out there.
Let’s not forget that throughout Hatshepsut’s rule, Thutmose III was well and alive. However, Hatshepsut had him occupied with leading the armies of Egypt on different campaigns.
It is estimated that Hatshepsut died around 1458 BC.
Interestingly, Thutmose III had almost all of the evidence of Hatshepsut’s rule erased. It included all of her images on the temples and monuments. However, he left the story of her divine birth and her expedition to the Land of Punt mostly untouched.
Again, we can only speculate why Thutmose III went to such lengths to have her completely removed from history. As my tour guide explained, it is possible that Thutmose III wanted to eliminate the existence of a strong female ruler. He then backdated his reign to the death of his father and Hatshepsut’s accomplishments as pharaoh were ascribed to him. Let’s not forget that at that time to have someone’s name erased meant to deny them the afterlife.
As a consequence, Hatshepsut remained unknown for centuries. It was not until 1829 AD, when the hieroglyphs on the walls of the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut were decoded, that we were able to learn about her existence.
Who Discovered Hatshepsut
In 1822 AD Champollion published the first translation of the Rosetta Stone hieroglyphs. Several years later, specifically in 1928 AD, Champollion set on an Egyptian expedition to confirm the validity of his discovery.
It was not until 1829 AD, when Champollion read the hieroglyphs on the walls of the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, that we were able to learn about the existence of Hatshepsut.
What to See at the Temple of Hatshepsut
The Temple of Hatshepsut was built into a cliff face that rises sharply above the structure.
The temple consists of three levels: the ground, the second and the third level. A large ramp leads from the ground level to the second level. And, then another ramp connects the second level to the third level. Next, each level has a beautiful colonnade.
I need to add that the Temple of Hatshepsut reminded me of some of the Greek monuments although those were built at least a thousand years later.
What to exactly see at the Temple of Hatshepsut?
Here is my list of unmissable things to see at the Temple of Hatshepsut. However, make sure to find out all the details and see the pictures of the must-see things at the temple. Check out my post: The Temple of Hatshepsut – 7 Unmissable Things to See
The Ground Level
- The Ground Level has a large courtyard. As you pass through it, imagine how magnificent it must have been with exotic trees brought hrom the expedition to the land of Punt and planted here.
- Also, imagine how stunning it must have been with all the sphinxes lined up along the path. Now, they are gradually being restored.
- Take your time and meander through the two colonnades that have been restored. They comprise of 22 columns on each side arranged in double rows.
- Next, pause in the southern colonnade and find the scene showing two obelisks being transported by water. These are the two obelisks that Hatshepsut had erected at Karnak. The ﬁrst row shows them on the deck of the barge and below a trumpeter leads a group of archers to the inauguration ceremony.
The Second Level
- The Second Level has a number of things that you cannot miss! First of all, make sure to check out the Chapel of Hathor.
- Next, do not miss the Birth Colonnade located right by the Chapel of Hathor. It tells the story of Hatshepsut’s creation with the god Amun.
- Following the Birth Colonnade is the Punt Colonnade relating the story of Hatshepsut’s expedition to the Land of Punt.
- Finally, make sure to visit the Anubis Chapel, which has a hypostyle hall and an astronomical ceiling.
The Third Level
- The third Level has a portico with double rows of columns.
- Make sure to visit the Sanctuary of Amun, which is situated behind the courtyard.
Now, make sure to read my post: The Temple of Hatshepsut – 7 Unmissable Things to See
Who Is Responsible for the Restoration of the The Temple of Hatshepsut
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Above all, check out my post: The Temple of Hatshepsut – 7 Unmissable Things to See