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Deir El-Bahri
The most famous and the most visited among the temples of Western Thebes is certainly the one Queen Hatshepsut had built at Deir el-Bahri, a valley ending in an ample amphitheatre demarcated to the west by the rocky face of the Theban mountain, which separates it from the adjoining Valley of the Kings, to the north by the hill of Dra' Abu el-Naga and to the south by that of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna. The Egyptians held that this valley, anciently called geser "sacred", was sacred to the goddess Hathor, deity of the multiple attributes, but linked to the funerary worship in the Theban necropolis. At Deir el-Bahri (an Arabic name meaning "Monastery o the North"), since as in the Coptic era there was a monastery there, nowadays destroyed no less than three temples were built, arranged one at the side of the other and belonging respectively to the pharaoh Nebhepetre Mentuhotep (ruled 11th Dynasty, 2055-2004 BC) [shown in red on the plan], Hatshepsut (Maat-Ka-Re, ruled 18th Dynasty 1473-1458 BC) [shown in green on the plan] and Tuthmosis III (Men-Kheper-Re, ruled 18th Dynasty 1479-1425 BC) [shown in yellow on the plan].
 
The Cache of Deir el-Bahri
Crossing the mountain range that is the southern limit of the valley of Deir el-Bahri, one would find oneself near a rocky precipice, practically invisible from afar, which originally housed the tomb, made in the form of a shaft, of the royal bride Inhapis (TT320); it became famous under the name of the "cache of Deir el-Bahri". In the year 1881, Gaston Maspero, Director of the Egyptian Service of Antiquities, alarmed by the appearance on the market of objects originating from the royal tombs, after conducting investigations that led to the identification of a band of robbers operating in the Thebes area and to their confession, found at that site the remains of the most famous Egyptian Pharaohs, including those of Ramesses II and his father Sety I (Men-Maat-Re, ruled 19th Dynasty 1294-1279 BC). In fact, the Theban priests of the 21st Dynasty - around the reign of Pharaoh Siamun (21st Dynasty 978-959 BC) and of Chief Priest Pinudjem II (990-969 BC) - in their attempt to save the royal remains of the most important pharaohs from profanation which, they thought, was becoming ever more probable, since cases of robbery of the royal tombs by expert thieves had occurred already by the end of the Twentieth Dynasty and could become more frequent, decided to hide the remains in this rocky precipice of the mountains of Thebes which was justly considered more secure than the tombs situated in the Valley of the Kings.

Sources:
The Complete Temples in Ancient Egypt; Thames & Hudson; Richard Wilkinson
Guide to the Valley of the Kings; Gaddis & Sons; Alberto Siliotti

 


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