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The temple of Mentuhotep

The temple of Mentuhotep II (or I) Neb-Hepet-Re was the first one built
in Deir el Bahari. It was called "Akh-set(w)-Nebhepetre: i.e. "Splendid (or Useful) are the places of Nebhepetre". Because of its ruinous state, with very few reliefs, it is seldom photographed.
This temple is a transition between the Old Kingdom temple of the pyramid, and the New Kingdom House of Millions of Years. For the first time, the tomb of the king is united with its mortuary temple. The New Kingdom will later separate the tomb (in the Valley of the Kings) from the House of Millions of Years. It was the (very lucky) Howard Carter who discovered the burial shaft when his horse stumbled into its rubble-filled entrance in 1900.
The temple was discovered in the 1860’s and was excavated by Edouard Naville between 1903 and 1907, and then by Herbert Winlockh between 1921 and 1930.
The multileveled construction and the plan were entirely new, with no equivalent dating from the Old Kindom.
The complex had a valley temple and a 1,2 km causeway leading to the temple itself.
At the lower level there was a pillared lower hall with two rows of octogonal, decorated, colums.
The upper level had a covered central core dedicated to Mentu-Re (Mentu was a primeval god of Thebes, revered by the the warrior kings that had to reunify Egypt after the anarchy of the First Intermediate Period). The roof may have been flat, or topped by an earth mound. The whole terrace was perhaps conceived as a replica of the primeval mound. The enclosure contained chapels and shaft tombs for the king's wives and family.
Around this core was an upper hall with three rows of colums.
The rear part was devoted to the cult of the deified king, who had a statue in a small chapel. Later this was converted in an Amun sanctuary.



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