Madam King: Hatshepsut of Egypt

Temple of Hatshepsut, near Luxor, Egypt

Temple of Hatshepsut, near Luxor, Egypt

Hatshepsut was the daughter of the early New Kingdom pharaoh Thutmose I and his queen. The only surviving son of Thutmose I was by a secondary wife. In terms of dynastic succession, this was not an ideal situation. Still, a son by a secondary wife, was better than a daughter by the queen. As was the custom, Hatshepsut married this son of a secondary wife, her 1/2 brother Thutmose II, and became his queen. Together, Hatshepsut and Thutmose II had one daughter, no sons. But Thutmose II did have a son with a lesser wife, just in the nick of time. When Thutmose II died, Queen Hatshepsut became regent for her infant stepson, Thutmose III. Continue reading

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Along the banks of the longest river on earth (or the 2nd longest, depending on who you ask), life proceeds much as it has for 8,000 years, at least. Until it was dammed in the early 19th century, the annual flooding of the river left rich silt in its wake and the fertile fields fed the country and exported wheat and other grains far beyond its borders. The cultural sophistication and political and economic power of the country’s ancient civilization can be directly linked to the river. Today, the river still provides almost all of the country’s water but dams control the flow and provide hydroelectric power.

 

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Karnak the Magnificent

What Luxor, Egypt attraction is the largest place of worship ever built?

It doesn’t take a wizard to proclaim the magnificence of Karnak Temple in Luxor. After the pyramids at Giza, it’s the 2nd most visited site in Egypt. It’s really a temple complex, with multiple temples added and embellished by a long series of pharaohs over the course of 2,000 years. It was known to the ancient Egyptians as The Most Sacred Place and is reputed to be the largest place of worship ever built anywhere.

Click to see Egypt tours that include visits to Karnak Temple. Continue reading

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Beautiful boxes inlaid with mother of pearl are a popular souvenir from our mystery country, and just one of countless items to be browsed in the streets of Khan el Khalili Bazaar. We recommend visiting with a guide and exploring beyond the touristy areas (where many products are made in China). A guide will help navigate the maze of small streets for a more authentic experience in this historical market and make sure you get what you pay for.

 

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NAME THAT COUNTRY

This is the Great Hypostyle Hall of Karnak Temple. It consists of 134 columns in an area of over 50,000 square feet. Most of the columns are 50 feet tall, but two rows of 6 columns flanking the central aisle are 80 feet tall and 30 feet in circumference. (!)
The hall was built around the 13th century BCE, an addition to the existing temple. Originally, a roof covered the hall, but it is long since open to the sky. (In architectural terms, a hypostyle indicates a space covered by a roof supported by columns.)

 

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NAME THAT COUNTRY Episode 128

A remote valley on the west of the Nile river shelters the burial grounds of ancient kings and courtiers. To elude robbers, tombs were hidden deep in the folds of the desert mountains. Most were looted anyway, leaving only the exquisite wall paintings for posterity. To date, 63 tombs have been discovered in the Valley of the Kings, ranging in size from a single chamber to sprawling networks of passageways with over 100 chambers.

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NAME THAT COUNTRY Episode 118

The ceremonial solar boat pictured above is one of several found buried at Giza, near three of the largest and most famous royal tombs ever known. The boat may have been used to carry the body of the deceased king down river to his burial. Or, the boat may have been meant for use in the afterlife, to carry the king across the sky with the sun. The ancient people of our mystery country believed the afterlife mirrored life as they knew it before death. They were buried with items from their lives that would ensure them a comfortable and successful existence in eternity.

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