Description of the Valley of the Kings
The remote and barren Valley of the
Kings was chosen for a necropolis by the pharaohs of the New
Kingdom to offer better safety to their earthly remains. Since
body preservation was an important part of Egyptian belief
system Egyptian leaders wanted a safe place for their tombs. All
of pyramids were robbed at some point at time during internal
revolutions and invasions, so a new and permanent solutions had
to be designed.
The pharaohs of the new kingdom, starting with
Thutmose I started building their tombs in a secret location in
the Saqqara desert. Workers that actually dug their future
graves were subsequently executed to keep the mystery of the
valley hidden from the rest of the population. This plan did not
work out as well as they hoped and only two tombs remained
intact, one of Yuyi Tuji and infamous tomb of pharaoh
Tutankhamen that was discovered 1922 by British archaeologist
Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon. The last offered modern
archaeologists and historians a particular reach source of
information about life in the Ancient Egypt. Despite the fact
that the tomb was constructed hastily due to unexpected death of
a young pharaoh it still impressed discoverers with magnificent
artefacts, statues, golden objects and other items. Unlike other
tombs it lack any frescoes on the walls. Apparently
there was no time for that. The tomb itself was broken in, but
robbers were probably caught and subsequently killed. Anyhow the
tomb was resealed soon thereafter.
The tomb of Seti I on
contrast lacks any artefacts, but it is reach with bas- reliefs
and frescoes. One of the most interesting features of his tomb
is a burial chamber with a ceiling covered by a southern sky
filled with many stars. Unlike the tomb of the Tutankhamen, the
tomb of Seti is a large complex with many halls, stairways and
galleries. Pharaohs had no pyramids, but it does not mean they
did not want lavish houses for their after life.
The entrance to the tomb of Thutmose III is located about 30
meters above the valley's floor. Even these attempts to secure
the contents did not save the grave from looters. The only thing
that was not plundered is the pharaoh's sarcophagus. Apparently
it was too heavy and bulky to carry away. The walls of the tomb
are covered by scenes from the Book of the Dead. This guidebook
of how to lie and cheat your way into heaven had to be memorized
by Egyptians if they wanted to get to the better life.
The tomb of Amenophis II was plundered while the pharaohs
were still in power. Apparently the old pharaoh suspected
something is up in his troubled kingdom so he put nine coffins
in his tomb. Only one contained the actual body. Here too the
walls of the chambers and hallways are covered by illustrations
from the Book of the Dead.
The tomb of Ramses IX is very long and pretty high. The walls
of the hall is covered by the scenes from life of god Ra, the
god of Sun. The ceiling of the room that is situated before the
curial chamber has an image of a goddess Nut.
Be aware that the sun in the desert is unforgiving. Bring
lots of water and sunscreen. Cover your head and if you have sun
glasses don't forget them. The desert surface reflects sun rays
and it might cause painful headaches. Note that although the
Valley of the Kings contains around 63 tombs of different
leaders only few are actually open to the public.
The Tomb of King
Tutankhamen (aka King Tut)
Carter works here on a newly discovered tomb that is filled by
riches, chariots of the young pharaohs and other items that he
used. Below is the interior of the actual burial chamber and a
famous mask of the young king himself. All of the items have
been removed and now are presented in a museum.
Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon. The later soon died after the
discovery. Journalists quickly blamed it on an alleged mummy's
curse. To their dismay. Carter who actually opened the tomb and
looked inside for the first time lived a long life after the
discovery. If the curse existed it had and interesting choice
for its victims.