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El-Deir El-Bahari

Lying directly across the Nile from the Great Temple of Amun at Karnak, the rock amphitheater of Deir el-Bahri provides a natural focal point of the west bank terrain and an inviting site for the temples of many rulers. The natural rock amphitheater, a deep bay in the cliffs, was an important religious and funerary site in the Theban area.
The remains of the temples of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II, Hatshepsut, and Tutmosis III, as well as private tombs dating to those reigns and through to the Ptolemaic period can be found here.
The most important private tombs at Deir el-Bahri are those of Meketra, which contain many painted wooden funerary models from the Middle Kingdom, and even the first recorded human-headed canopic jar, and the tomb of Senenmut, Hatshepsut’s adviser and tutor to her daughter..

Temple of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep
Nebhepetre Mentuhotep was the first ruler of the 11th Dynasty in the Middle Kingdom. His temple was the first to be built in the great bay of Deir el-Bahri.
It is smaller and not so well-preserved as is the later temple built by Hatshepsut.
The front part of the temple was made of limestone and was dedicated to Montu-Ra, local deity of Thebes before Amun.
The rear of the temple was made of sandstone and was the cult center for the king.

Temple of Tutmosis III
Tutmosis III, the successor to Hatshepsut, built a temple complex here. It was only discovered in 1961.
The complex was built to Amun, as was a chapel to Hathor. The structure was probably intended to receive the barque of Amun during the Feast of the Valley, and thus would have replaced the temple of Hatshepsut.
After a landslide seriously damaged the temple at the end of the 20th Dynasty, it was apparently abandoned. It then became a quarry, and later, a cemetery for the nearby Coptic monastery.

Temple of Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut was a woman who dared to challenge the tradition of male kingship. She died from undisclosed causes after imposing her will for a time. After her death, her name and memory suffered attempted systematic obliteration.
The temple of Hatshepsut is the best-preserved of the three complexes. Called by the people Djeser-djeseru, "sacred of sacreds", Hatshepsut’s terraced and rock-cut temple is one of the most impressive monuments of the west bank.
The mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut is one of the most dramatically situated in the world; it is situated directly against the rock face of Deir el-Bahri’s great rock bay, the temple not only echoed the lines of the surrounding cliffs in its design, but it seems a natural extension of the rock faces.
The queen's architect, Senenmut, designed it and set it at the head of a valley overshadowed by the Peak of the Thebes, the "Lover of Silence," where lived the goddess who presided over the necropolis.
The approach to the temple was along a 121-foot wide, causeway, sphinx-lined, that led from the valley to the pylons. These pylons have now disappeared and ramps led from terrace to terrace.

The porticoes on the lowest terrace are out of proportion and coloring with the rest of the building. They were restored in 1906 to protect the celebrated reliefs depicting the transport of obelisks by barge to Karnak and the miraculous birth of Queen Hatshepsut. Reliefs on the south side of the middle terrace show the queen's expedition by way of the Red Sea to Punt, the land of incense. Along the front of the upper terrace, a line of large, gently smiling Osirid statues of the queen looked out over the valley. In the shade of the colonnade behind, brightly painted reliefs decorated the walls. Throughout the temple, statues and sphinxes of the queen proliferated. Many of them have been reconstructed, with patience and ingenuity, from the thousands of smashed fragments found by the excavators; some are now in the Cairo Museum, and others the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


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