I had the pleasure of visiting the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut on Friday. Noor acted as a tour guide to me, Mustafa, Zeynab and the latter two’s 5-year-old son, Ali. We took a small boat, or felucca, from the east bank (which includes Karnak and downtown Luxor, where I live) to the west bank (which consists of sand and various tombs).
As Noor explained, Hatshepsut served as queen and pharaoh in Upper Egypt from 1479 to 1458 BC. She was the daughter of Thutmose I and married her brother, Thutmose II. She claimed the throne after the latter’s death, when the male heir, Thutmose III, was still a child. Apparently she loved agriculture, extended trade routes and was skilled in the art of hyperbole – building projects from her time far outdo her actual accomplishments.
Noor said that, during Hatshepsut’s reign, neighboring tribes closed in on Egyptian soil to the west and south. She was eventually driven out of the palace by her own paranoia that the tribes would kill her. Thutmose III took over and drove back the tribes.
We also visited the Memnon Colossi, a pair of massive statues that the main road to Hatshepsut’s temple now runs past.
We finished the excursion around 11:45 a.m. – just in time to go to a swimming pool with Georgina (the British teacher) and Francesca (the Italian volunteer who arrived last week).