Deir el-Bahari

Deir el-Bahari
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Tempel der Hatschepsut (Deir el-Bahari).jpg
LocationLuxor Governorate, Egypt
Part ofTheban Necropolis
Inscription1979 (3rd Session)
Coordinates25°44′18″N 32°36′28″E / 25°44′18″N 32°36′28″E / 25.73833; 32.60778
Deir el-Bahari is located in Egypt
Deir el-Bahari
Location of Deir el-Bahari in Egypt

Deir el-Bahari or Dayr al-Bahri (Arabic: الدير البحريal-Dayr al-Baḥrī "the Monastery of the Sea") is a complex of mortuary temples and tombs located on the west bank of the Nile, opposite the city of Luxor, Egypt. This is a part of the Theban Necropolis.

The first monument built at the site was the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II of the Eleventh Dynasty. It was constructed during the 15th century BCE.

During the Eighteenth Dynasty, Amenhotep I and Hatshepsut also built extensively at the site.

Mortuary temple of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep

Site plan of Deir el-Bahari.

Mentuhotep II, Eleventh Dynasty king who reunited Egypt at the beginning of the Middle Kingdom, built a very unusual funerary complex. His mortuary temple was built on several levels in the great bay at Deir el-Bahari. It was approached by a 16-metre-wide (150-ft) causeway leading from a valley temple which no longer exists.

The mortuary temple itself consists of a forecourt and entrance gate, enclosed by walls on three sides, and a terrace on which stands a large square structure that may represent the primeval mound that arose from the waters of chaos. As the temple faces east, the structure is likely to be connected with the sun cult of and the resurrection of the king.

From the eastern part of the forecourt, an opening called the Bab el-Hosan ('Gate of the Horseman') leads to an underground passage and an unfinished tomb or cenotaph containing a seated statue of the king. On the western side, tamarisk and sycamore trees were planted beside the ramp leading up to the terrace. At the back of the forecourt and terrace are colonnades decorated in relief with boat processions, hunts, and scenes showing the king's military achievements.

Statues of the Twelfth Dynasty king Senusret III were found here too.

The inner part of the temple was actually cut into the cliff and consists of a peristyle court, a hypostyle hall and an underground passage leading into the tomb itself. The cult of the dead king centred on the small shrine cut into the rear of the Hypostyle Hall.

The mastaba-like structure on the terrace is surrounded by a pillared ambulatory along the west wall, where the statue shrines and tombs of several royal wives and daughters were found. These royal princesses were the priestesses of Hathor, one of the main ancient Egyptian funerary deities. Although little remained of the king's own burial, six sarcophagi were retrieved from the tombs of the royal ladies (Ashayet, Henhenet, Kawit, Kemsit, Muyet and Sadhe). Each was formed of six slabs, held together at the corners by metal braces and carved in sunken relief. The sarcophagus of Queen Kawit, now in the Cairo Museum, is particularly fine.

The burial shaft and subsequent tunnel descend for 150 meters and end in a burial chamber 45 meters below the court. The chamber held a shrine, which once held the wooden coffin of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep. A great tree-lined court was reached by means of the processional causeway, leading up from the valley temple. Beneath the court, a deep shaft was cut which led to unfinished rooms believed to have been intended originally as the king’s tomb. A wrapped image of the pharaoh was discovered in this area by Howard Carter. The temple complex also held six mortuary chapels and shaft tombs built for the pharaoh's wives and daughters.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Deir el-Bahari
العربية: الدير البحري
беларуская: Дэйр эль-Бахры
български: Дейр ел-Бахри
čeština: Dér el-Bahrí
español: Deir el-Bahari
euskara: Dair al Bahri
français: Deir el-Bahari
italiano: Deir el-Bahari
lietuvių: Deir al Bachri
Nederlands: Deir el-Bahri
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Dayr ul-bahr
português: Deir el-Bahari
română: Deir el-Bahri
slovenščina: Deir el-Bahari
српски / srpski: Deir el Bahri
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Deir el-Bahri
svenska: Deir el-Bahri
Türkçe: Deir el-Bahari
українська: Дейр ель-Бахрі