Temple of Hatshepsut
Date ca. 1478-1458 BCE
Movement Egyptian | New Kingdom | 12th Dynasty
Location Deir el-Bahri, Egypt
After Old Kingdom mastabas and pyramids were raided during the Second Intermediate Period, New Kingdom royalty began to choose rock cut tombs as their final resting places, which would have been concealed after their bodies were placed inside. The Temple of Hatshepsut is one of the best preserved of these—its sloping ramps along a central axis and massive vertical pillars help to accentuate the dramatic cliffs beyond, while its expansive courts sustain the desert’s horizon; its bold lines and symmetry help to impose order upon its surrounding—a recurrent theme in ancient Egyptian architecture.
Opposite of the city of Luxor, Deir el-Bahri would have had central causeways leading directly from valley temples on the Nile to their respective rock cut tombs. The pharaoh’s temples and the temples they constructed for their gods were built over the span of several hundred years, beginning with Mentuhotep II’s and ending with Thutmose III’s. During this process and after the death of Hatshepsut, statues that would have graced the female king’s temple were either removed or outright destroyed, though the temple itself remains intact.