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Photographer's Note

This is the grave temple of Queen Hatshepsut, regarded as the first important female ruler, reigning Queen of Egypt 1490–1468 BC. Her temple is one of the most important "must see" monuments in the Luxor area of central Egypt.

Most photos of this temple are taken from straight up front, but being such an obstinate kind of person I just had to find a different angle. I started this visit in the winter of 1983 in the Valley of the Kings, on the west bank of the Nile, opposite the modern city of Luxor. I saw several tombs of ancient Pharaos, including those of Ramses III, Ramses VI, Amenhotep II, Thutmose III and Seti I. My favorite was the tomb of the less known Pharao Horemheb, who died unexpectedly in 1292 BC, before the decorations of his grave were finished. Because the work had been suddenly abandoned, visiting his grave was to see a "work in progress" from almost 3300 years ago. I was totally fascinated by the sketches of human figures made by apprentices and corrected by the masters. I got the feeling that the workers had just gone for lunch and would come back in a short while. It was a hair-raising experience, even more so because I was completely alone, since the busloads of tourists were all queuing up to get inside the famous but less interesting tomb of Tutankhamon. Since I had already seen most of the treasures in Cairo I skipped it completely.

After Seti I I wanted to proceed to the Hatshepsut temple, in another valley some distance further north. I had the option to haggle about the price of a taxi or a horse-cart, or I could walk across the mountain, a slightly shorter and definitely cheaper way. Of course I decided to walk. I turned down offers to ride a donkey and climbed up the steep hillside. It was worth the effort for the marvellous view of the tombs far below and the striking contrast between the lush green areas on both sides of the river and the totally dry and sterile desert below me and in the far distance.

Descending into the valley surrounding the Hatshepsut temple was rather tricky. The way down was quite steep, some rocks were flat and slippery and I realized that if I fell down, there wouldn't be much left of me. A few times I had to go down on my knees and use hands and feet to be safe.

Finally reaching the temple I was disappointed to find most of it closed for restoration. At least the view from above was not obscured by scaffolding.

I have added two workshop photos, one showing the Hatshepsut temple from straight above, the other featuring the entrances of several other royal tombs, also from above. All photos were scanned from Kodachrome slides.

Here is a larger version of the main photo. You can find the location by clicking the Map: view.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9520 W: 508 N: 18518] (82168)
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