278 Route 24. THEBES (W. BANK). 5. Temple of
5. From Biban el-Muluk to Der el-bahri and El-Asasif.
To return from Biban el-Muluk to the plain we should take the moun¬
tain-path via Der el-bahri. It is possible to ride to the top of the hill,
but better to go on foot all the way. Riding down the hill is by no
means to be recommended. The donkey-boys usually lead the animals by
a narrow path over the ridge, and await the travellers at the foot. The
afternoon is the best time to visit the temple of Der el-bahri, for during
the hotter hours of the day the oppressive rays of the sun are reflected
from the rocks here with peculiar intensity.
The path begins at Tomb 16, ascends the hill separating Biban
el-Muluk from Der el-bahri and El-Asasif, and descends in zigzags.
It is fatiguing but safe, and is easily accomplished in 3/4 hr. The
* View is most remarkable: first into the desolate valley of the Tombs
ofthe Kings, then from the summit and as we descend into the peculiar
ravine of Der el-bahri; we see the steep projecting mountain-side
with its tombs, and buildings old and new, with the rich green of
the fertile plain below spread out on both sides of the Nile , and
here and there its groups of palms and gigantic temples, as far as
Karnak and Luxor on the E. bank. The situation of the temple of
Der el-bahri is remarkably fine; on the W. and N. it is framed by
precipitous rocks of a light-brown and golden colour, against which
the dazzling white walls of the temple stand out in magnificent re¬
lief. — Below the temple lies the house of the Egypt Exploration
Fund, where the keeper of the ruins lives. Opposite is the Chalet
Hatasu, a luncheon-room open only to Cook's patrons.
The *Temple of Der el-bahri, named by the Egyptians 'Zoser-
zosru', or 'Most splendid of all', was built and adorned with reliefs
and inscriptions, at the beginning of the New Empire, by Queen
Makere Hatshepsowet, the sister, wife, and co-regent of Thut¬
mosis III. The construction of the temple shared the chequered for¬
tunes of its foundress (p. lxxxii). When Makere was expelled from
the throne by her brother and husband after a brief reign, the build¬
ing operations came to a halt, and Thutmosis caused the names and
figure of his sister to be obliterated in all the finished sculptures
and inscriptions at Der el-bahri as well as elsewhere throughout the
country. Thutmosis II., who succeeded his brother, continued the
work of destruction by inserting his own name in place of that of
Makere. When Thutmosis II. died, however, Makere once more regain¬
ed the throne, and the building was resumed. Operations were not
carried on with any remarkable activity, for when the queen's long
reign came to an end, the temple was still unfinished. Thut¬
mosis III., once more on the throne, so far from supplying what
was still wanting, resumed his former tactics, destroying all allusions
to his sister and sometimes inserting his own name and figure in
place of hers.
The splendid temple was thus never finished. Amenophis IV.
carefully destroyed all reference to Ammon, and the inscriptions