Speos Artemidos El Minya, Egypt information, tours, prices, booking

Speos Artemidos or Istabl Anatar is a rock shrine which situated on the south side of an isolated wadi. In fact, Speos Artemidos located about 3 km east of Beni Hassan in El Minya, Egypt. Moreover, Speos Artemidos is a small temple which hewn completely out of the rock. In fact, the temple situated in an area where there are many ancient quarries. The origins of the structure goes back as far as the Middle Kingdom. Yet, the temple is the first decorated in the reign of Queen Hatshepsut of Dynasty XVIII. The temple dedicated to the goddess Pakhet, a local lion-headed goddess of the desert. Furthermore, it is an aspect of Hathor, who given the title ‘”She Who Scratches”. She known from the Coffin texts as a night huntress. But in fact, her cult not attested in the area before the New Kingdom.

Later, the Greeks identified Pakhet with Bastet, a feline deity. In fact, they associated him with their own huntress Artemis. The temple became known as the “Cave of Artemis”. In fact, there are other titles which attached to Pakhet at Speos Atemidos. The titles are “Goddess of the Mouth of the Wadi” and “She Who Opens the Ways of the Stormy Rains”. The modern name for the Speos Artemidos, Istabl Antar, comes from Antar, who was a local pre-Islamic poet. In fact, the facade of the Speos Artemidos is 15 meter wide. Morover, the facade features four square pillars which cut from the rock. Two located on each side of the entrance. Moreover, the pillars prepared for decoration with Hathor-headed capitals. In fact, it was on the outer face and Osiride capitals on the inner face. Yet, they remained unfinished, although the sides added texts and cartouches.

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In fact, the texts and cartouches are of Thutmose III and Horus of Hebenw. Amenhotep’s temple dismantled and rebuilt by Seti I. In fact, the doorway leads into a transverse hall. Moreover, the ceiling supported by four more unfinished pillars. Furthermore, the pillars decorated with hieroglyphs and reliefs. In fact, hieroglyphs and reliefs now worn and difficult to read in some parts. The most important of these, inscribed by Hatshepsut on the architrave over the entrance. Moreover, it denounces the ‘Asiatics of Avaris’ (the Hyksos). In fact, the Hyksos ruled Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period. In the lengthy text the queen describes the chaos of Hyksos rule. Moreover, she extols the benefits of her own reign and her restoration of the damage they caused.

In fact, the Hyksos used in the text as a metaphor for chaos and the sovereign’s duty. The duty was to bring order to the land. In fact, it was since their expulsion happened three generations before Hatshepsut’s reign. The queen did, yet, undertake the restoration of several monuments in Middle Egypt. The monuments which had suffered under the rule of the Hyksos. The wall decorated with painted scenes depicting Hatshepsut before the gods. In fact, this wall located on the south side of the transverse hall. Moreover, the wall is on either side of the doorway into the sanctuary.

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In fact, the western part of the wall usurped from Hatshepsut. It is although it has appearance of decoration by Seti I and shows little trace of alteration. Scenes depict the queen and king receiving the Khepresh crown from Amun and Pakhet-Weret-Hekau. Moreover, the scenes also show them while making offerings. In fact, the offering are of incense and libations to the goddess. The goddess wears a Hathor head-dress and offers a menat and double uraei. On the eastern side, there are two scenes from Hatshepsut’s reign.

How to get to Speos Artimedos:

Speos Artemidos located on the east bank of the Nile, about 20 km south of El Minya. From Beni Hassan, follow the road along the river for a few kilometers. After going through a village a track turns eastwards into the desert. The Speos Artemidos is in the cliff on the right-hand side of the wadi. A police escort currently required when visiting this site.

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