Luxor is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. Luxor is often said to be the "world's greatest open air museum." Today I'd like to share with you our visit to the Valley of the Kings that lies on the West Bank of the Nile. This open air museum is the burial site for most of Egypt's New Kingdom rulers. The site was chosen by the Theban rulers because it was only a short distance from their village and temples. The valley was easily guarded because of the steep cliffs that surrounds the area. As you know, even that didn't deter thieves from robbing the graves. Above the valley is the towering mountain of Qurn. This name is derived from the shape of the mountain and means "horn" in Arabic. The shape reminded them of the sun god Re.
As you can see it was a hot and hazy day in the valley. We needed to stay with our guide while he secured our tickets for entrance into a place we had read about for so many years.
We then boarded small little trolleys that took us to the valley. I could hardly hold my excitement as we entered this ancient site!
There are over 65 royal and private tombs in the Valley of the Kings referred to as KV. More and more are discovered as I write here. There are some that have huge labyrinths with over 120 corridors and chambers that are chiseled into the limestone.
Our guide told us to make sure we stayed hydrated on our visit. We both carried bottles of water that were given to us as we exited the coach. We also had our masks on when we were in the crowded tombs or around crowds of folks.
Walking inside we are immediately struck by the clarity and vivid color that remains on these ancient walls that were hand carved!
These tombs were designed and worked on when the king started his reign. Using very simple tools these plans were carried out by many different artisans. It usually took from six to ten years.
Symbols in the tombs were hoped to protect the interred in the afterlife. Some of the scenes depicted rituals or life experiences of the deceased.
Reading about the tomb of Ramesses VI we learn that its location probably protected the tomb of Tutankhamun. Grave robbers went for Ramesses VI and didn't realize that Tutankhamun treasures were next door! Though these treasures are now scattered about the world, many still reside in the museum in Cairo (GEM-Grand Egyptian Museum). The gold funerary mask resides there.
The corridor in his tomb is quite small compared to the Ramesses. The burial site of Tutankhamun is modest in comparison to the other tombs as well. Grayden and I watched a documentary that revealed that behind these walls the corridors go on and on, but the permission to break through these walls has not been granted.
We headed down a flight of stairs when suddenly the lights went out as Grayden was taking my picture. There are many stories and superstitions surrounding this tomb. I must admit to wondering about the lights going out at that particular moment!
There is so much symbolism portrayed on these walls. It's rather mind boggling. It really takes an Egyptologist to understand all of the symbolism.
In a later post I will be blogging more about the Ramesses and their importance to this civilization.
Ramesses IX reign was 1129-1111 BC. He was the third longest serving king of the Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt. Let's take a look inside at this extraordinary tomb.
It was time for us to get back on the trolley to head back to our coach that will be taking us to another very special place in Luxor. I hope you will join us as we remember.