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Luxor: Valley of the Kings

Valley of the Kings, Luxor
The stunning setting of the Valley of the Kings.
The popular tomb on the right houses Tutankhamun's remains

 

Set amidst huge sandstone cliffs, the Valley of the Kings was where the ancient Egyptians buried their leaders. As soon as a Pharaoh came to power, work would commence on his final resting place. Long tunnels would be dug out of the rock, meandering into the earth, often incorporatng several side rooms. The tombs were highly decorated and would not only house the asophagus but also everything the king would need in the next life.

Although, the mummified remains, artifacts and treasures have been removed - some was plundered, but much of it found its way into museums - the decorated tunnels are fascinating to see.

We went down two tunnels. They were both richly decorated on almost all surfaces with illustrations of ancient Egyptian life, including birds, animals and even insects. We declined an opportunity to visit the most famous tomb, that of the boy king Tutankhamun, as it isn't the most spectacular and we were hot and tired.

The Valley of the Kings was about 30 degrees Celcius in late February, easily the hottest place we visited in Egypt. Fortunately, two large covered seating areas are available. The Valley itself was arid and truly awe-inspiring.

Also available to see are the self-explanatory Valley of the Queens and the Workmen's Village where the tomb builders and decorators lived and died.

During our visit we were allowed to take photographs outside the tombs but not inside, though there were numerous 'postcard' sellers eager to ensure we did not go home empty handed. Now (2009) it is not permitted to take any photographs at all in the Valley of the Kings and cameras must be surrendered at the entrance.

Valley of the Kings, Luxor (Thebes)
A welcome seating area out of the Sun. Note that the Tourist and Antiquities Police
are always present

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