Queen Hatshepsut is one of the very few women to have ruled in Ancient Egypt. After the death of her father Tuthmosis I, she married her half brother Tuthmosis II to secure power. He died young, and his successor Tuthmosis III was too young to take the throne and Queen Hatshepsut reigned in his place.
Al-deir Al-bahari Temple is in actual fact the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, a 3 storey temple set back against the base of a very imposing cliff. The temple also included a garden dedicated to the God Amun-Ra filled with exotic plants brought back from expeditions.
Many of the carvings in this and other temples were defaced by Hatshepsut’s stepson Tuthmosis III seeking to erase all record of her and put his own cartouche and image in her place. In error he omitted to deface an image of Hatshepsut’s mother pregnant by Amun-Ra. This is how Hatshepsut managed to reign in Egypt – she was divine.
Hatshepsut also built a beautiful pink granite needle to Amun-Ra in Karnak Temple. This is one of the very few monuments which bears her name. Granite hieroglyphics cannot be altered, so her stepson was unable to deface it and carve his own cartouche. Equally though, he was unable to tear it down as it was a monument to Amun-Ra and he didn’t dare to anger a God. Instead he built walls closely surrounding the needle to shield the majority of it from view.