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The mortuary temple of Hatshepsut, built three thousand years ago for one of Egypt’s earliest female pharaohs, has been rightly called a masterpiece of landscape architecture. The temple is cut directly into a cliff face, and is made up of three colonnaded terraces with total height of 97 feet; decorative reliefs line the walls and columns, with each level connected by a long ramp.
One of the most successful and prosperous rulers in Egyptian history, Queen Hatshepsut ruled Egypt from 1479-1438 BC. She steered the country into a period of peace and prosperity, yet throughout her reign, she was challenged by those who believed that a woman could not be the Pharaoh of Egypt. After her death, her successors – including her own stepson - sought to erase her memory by destroying statues across Egypt.
Visiting Hatshepsut’s once-lost temple is therefore an opportunity to discover the story of a successful queen whose incredible achievements were almost erased from history on the basis of her gender. That her story survives at all is a testament to her tenacity in both life and death.
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