Chapelle Rouge

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The Red Chapel of Hatshepsut or the Chapelle Rouge, located inside the Karnak Open Air Museum, was originally constructed as a barque shrine during the reign of Hatshepsut. She was the fifth pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt and ruled from approximately 1479 to 1458 BCE.


It was erected at the temple of Karnak in the sanctuary of Amun-Ra and placed immediately in front of a mud-brick and limestone temple remaining from the Middle Kingdom. The chapel consisted of two rooms, a vestibule, and a sanctuary, which were raised on a diorite platform and could be accessed using short ramps on either side. The chapel consists of two open courts and is approximately 18 metres long, 6 meters wide, and 5.5 meters high.

Today it is located in the Karnak Open Air Museum inside the Amun-Re precinct of Karnak Temple complex.


circa 1460 BCE

Eastern Facade
The eastern facade leads in to the vestibule of the structure. Although it had been demolished and parts were reused in antiquity, following rediscovery, the chapel has been reconstructed using its original materials. Its original location is thought to have been in the central court of the temple of Amun at Karnak, near Thebes.

circa 1460 BCE

Upper Sections
Its upper portion is made of red quartzite (hence the name); the foundation is built of black diorite. Black granite and grey diorite also were used in its construction. Although Hatshepsut made many contributions to Karnak, one of her largest was the Red Chapel. Hatshepsut began construction on the chapel in the seventeenth year of her reign. Much of the chapel was covered in relief and inscriptions describing the events that occurred during the reign of Hatshepsut.

circa 1460 BCE

Relief Decorations
Some of the relief on the shrine depicts priests carrying the barque of Amun through the temples and streets of Thebes during religious festivals. Block from the northern inner wall of the sanctuary of the Chapelle Rouge at Karnak depicting the cult to the processional bark of Amun performed by a doubled royal figure with the sole names of Hatshepsut.

circa 1460 BCE

A fragment of diorite pedestal for placement of the Festival Sacred Bark is now located in the center of the vestibule of the Red Chapel. At a later times it was reused and hollowed out for using as some kind of a basin.

circa 1460 BCE

The low plinth in the larger of the two rooms that was used as a base for the barque of the God Amun, who's image was carried in procession between the temples of Karnak and Luxor during the annual celebration that took place at the height of the Nile Flood. In the center of the first of three courts contained in the building, is a basin, probably used to hold a model of a barque. In the center of the inner court, two rectangular stone slabs mark places where statues or barques might have been placed.


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