Much construction has taken place at Hatshepsut’s Chapel and has finally opened up to the public within the Open Air Museum at the Karnak Temples. Visitors who will be visiting the area will get to admire the Limestone Chapel of Queen Hatshepsut, who was known for her position as Ruler during the 18th Dynasty period, and wife to Thutmose II.
It has taken over four years to maintain and reconstruct the second chapel, and during the end of February this year, it has been officially announced open to the public.
The chapel itself is made from Limestone and was constructed this way to worship the Sun God Amun-Re within the Thebes area. The chapel also consists of an open court area and two walls inside the hall ways, that depict religious scenes of Hatshepsut and her husband Thutmose II who are standing before Amun-Re.
At the Karnak courtyard, the blocks discovered at the chapel contained the cartouche of Thutmose III, Hatshepsut’s predecessor, who also took the liberty of removing Hatshepsut from existence from most of the walls scenes. Other remains consisted of the colossi of Ancient Egyptian statues of people, ranging from the Egyptian noblemen and officials, up to famous Kings and Queens that existed during the New Kingdom Period. Mohammid Ibrahim, Minister of State of Antiquities points this out.
Ibrahim continues by explaining that more blocks have been discovered during an excavation at the cachette, that was carried out during the mid – 1950’s by Farid El-Shabury and Sheata Adams.
Since the excavation, the blocks have been kept safe at the galleries of Karnak. It wasn’t up until 2005, that the blocks had then been restored, studied and then published by the CFEETK (Centre Franco-Egyptian D’Etudedes Temples de Karnak), that they were allowed to be publicised.
During 2005 – 2008, the blocks were moved to the Open Air Museum, for when Hatshepsut’s Chapel underwent reconstruction along with other chapels that were deteriated and destroyed over the years. Then finally in 2008, the blocks were then placed on mastabas in Karnak.
It is known that some of the blocks have been reused to help construct other monuments at both Luxor and Karnak. The construction work of Hatshepsut’s Chapel consisted of fixing up and maintaining the entrance court and the Red Chapel. Other constructions included the calcite shrine of Amenhotep II and King Sanusert I’s White Chapel.
Supervisor of Luxor Antiquities, Mansour Boreik spoke to Ahram Online via phone interview where he explained that the reconstruction of this new Chapel, known as the ‘Sacred Monument’ has been considered very important. As it is known to be one of the very few places that still displays and represents the powers of Hatshepsut before she descended the throne to the next Pharaoh.
Scenes of Hatshepsut have ony been witnessed in a few areas that have not been erased by Thutmose III. These areas consist of the Queen taking part in religious events that can be seen at the Hathor Chapel and the Birth Colonade, located at Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple. Similar to her Limestone Chapel, the scenes link her relationship to Amun-Re. For example, in the Birth Colonade, she is identified as being the daughter to Amun-Re, as he impregnated her mother, Queen Ahmose,with his divine breath, while being under disguise as her father Thutmose I. Hatshepsut is then displayed as being breast-fed by Hathor as her wet-mother which identifies her, as a born ruler by the Gods.
Along Luxor’s Eastern banks, where the Karnak Temples are located, other Egyptian Temples, shrines, pylons,chapels and other ruins can be found. The complex construction took place during the reign of King Sesostris I during the Middle Kingdom period, and continued through into the Ptolemaic period. But, according to Archaeologists, most of the buildings and ruins indicate that they were created during the New Kingdom Period.
The Karnak Complex itself is known for its name due to village at El-Karnak, which can be located north 2.5 kilometres of Luxor.
Copyright © 2013 Aleesha Csanki