Set in a curving bank of steep cliffs with a commanding view of the river valley, the Temple of Hatshepsut was built in perfect harmony with its majestic surroundings. Seen from a distance, its three-level façade looks almost futuristic testimony to the timelessness of great art. Designed by Hatshepsut’s steward and architect Senenmut, it took eight years and tremendous manpower to build a fitting tribute to the woman who ruled Egypt as pharaoh for nearly half a century (1503-1452BC). Hatshepsut called it ‘the splendor of splendors’, and some still consider it one of the most striking architectural works on earth.
The faces of the statues decorating the colonnades show traces of ochre, a reminder that these monuments were once vividly colored and must have presented an even more dazzling spectacle than they do today.