This is the pharaoh's were buried in hopes they would return to their Gods in the afterlife. King Tutankhamen tomb was found here in the 1920's almost untouched.
We had gone early in the morning because otherwise going in the afternoon is very hot, the shade is only bearable! Our ticket included entrance into the Valley of the Kings and then you could choose up to 3 tombs to go into. Not all the tombs are open every day, as I soon found out because I wanted to go into the tomb KV5 (belongs to one of the son's of Ramesses II) because I had watched a documentary on before going over to Egypt.
I ended up going into Ramses I, IV and IX tombs. When were there in Ramses IV tomb the lights went out. It was a complete black out. We were deeper into the tomb, not close to the entrance. There is still paint on the hieroglyphs in the tombs.
I also went into the tomb of King Tutankhamen for an extra 100LE.
Like all temples and monuments in Ancient Egypt, the walls are decorated with representations of the gods, usually taking part in the cermonies at the death of the pharaoh, or being offered gifts by the pharaoh.
The different gods can be recognised by their head-dresses or animal heads,:
Amun has 2 tall feathers on his head, Osiris is appears as a mummy with the tall helmet with plumes on either side, Isis has a throne head-dress, Maat has the feather of justice, Ptah looks like a mummy but with no head-dress, Thoth has a strange anteater like head, Anubis is a jackal, Horus has a hawk head, Hathor is represented as a cow or cow-headed woman, Bes is a dwarf-like god always shown full face, Bast /Bastet is a catheaded goddess.
Other things to look for are the false doors where the dead were believed to come from in order that they could eat the sacrifices .
In the west bank of the river (following religious believes, tombs were allays built in the west bank) a common arid valley between two hills is being dug meter by meter, because it was the location of the pharaohs tombs. So far (they keep digging) more than 50 tombs have been discovered and explored, but only a few are opened to the public, allowing a controlled visit.
For a studious it may mean months of analysis, since each chamber is "a book", telling in images the story of its owner. For a common tourist it is a very interesting visit, but after the third it becomes repetitive. That's why the base ticket includes the visit of 3 tombs. Tuthankamon demands a separated ticket but, since his treasures were moved to Cairo's museum there's no special reason for that extra cost except, maybe, controlling the people that, otherwise, would flock to that tomb.
No photos, no large explanation inside, no stop, only a continuous line flowing slowly along the corridors.
I was stupid not to figure out at first what's VOK or Q means, like seriously it inhabits me for 5 minutes.
The valley necropolis was the burying grounds of the Pharaohs for 500 years during the period between 16 - 11th century BC. Tombs in this area were lavishly constructed for the poweful Pharaos, queens, and nobles. Location of the valley is the westabank which is on the opposite side of the Theban sights in east Luxor -- the central.
I didn't take pictures because it is prohibited to take pictures on site, and (I think I've mentioned this seveeral times already) I am a law-abiding tourist so I follow rules (starting this trip ;-)
I was staying in central / east bank and the late afternoon I took the public ferry to the westbank I was approached by this local guy who is offering me his private car tour to the sights in the westbank. I bargained for EGP40 ( I end up paying 50 though because of the forceful baksheesh which I call now - the culture tax). The guy who's name was Ahmad Nubi or sumthin' like that waited for me the following day as agreed at the landing of the public ferry the following day for my tour. The golden-color car was old non-airconditioned peugeot (I think?), but for 40 do I expect a limousine? The private tour I did is actually private drive to essential sights in the west bank which includes -- VOK, VOQ, Temple of Hatshepsut, Deir El-Medina and Colossi or Memnon, and we started at .... VOK.
The entry ticket is EGP80 which includes the main entrance to the valley plus entry to 3 choices of underground tombs except the tomb of Tutankhamun which has a separate entrance fee at a staggering EGP100, and you can't even take a picture.
To make sightseeing comfortable, there is a small train for EGP4 (to & from) that will take you from the entrance to the tombs which is a little further and saves you the energy that you need more in exploring the area.
The several tombs of the Pharaos are in a fair distance from each other but some are nearer. The small train stops few meters from the tomb of Tutankhamun. I think it is easy to take pics of the valley but even though my small digicam and smartphone are both in my pocket, I never dared using it.
Bring a small torch if you really need to, I didn't, and there was one of the tomb where I entered and I was the only tourist coming in when suddenly one of the guard switched off the light inside the tomb just as I was entering and he said, you can use my torch (flashlight) hmmmm...(am sure it's a bakshaeesh trap), I asked him why he turned off the light, he said there's a problem, I said, try turning it on...and it did worked...hmmmm.
Still he's giving me the torch cuz the lower part is a little dim, I told him "thanks God, my eyes are working fine and I could see stuff down there" in my broken Arabic, so he backed off, even the other guy who insisted on guiding me down the tomb.
If you don't like the tomb guards following you with their stories of the tomb - who by the way speaks english, or a little of - or you don't need their "tour" service, say so right at the very beginning of their talking to you, cuz if they start to talk and you let them, be prepared to spare some baksheesh -- not much actually, so if you're in the mood, EGP5 won't be that much. This is btw, a common practice among tomb guards around Egypt, happened to me also in Cairo couple of times (Sakkara and Memphis), so get used to it.
In this necropolis, you can visit 3 royal tombs of your choice for the price of 1 (55 L.E.) and admire coloured reliefs and paintings on their walls and ceilings.
The picture's showing the entrances to the tombs.
Tourists are beginning to fly agin in Egypt, but it is still fairly quiet compared to normal.
We would advise anyone visit Mediat Habu on the West Bank. We had arranged our trips, with www.reallifeegypt.co.uk Full day West Bank, East Bank, Hot air Balloon and Cairo tour from Luxor. We had arrange our flights with www.egyptair.com.
I got Egyptan sam card from vodfone shope, very cheap.
We would like to say thanks to Mohamed.
The vally of the kings is situated in the West Bank area of Luxor. It the place, where thr Royals were buried.
Please do not take your camera inside as it is not allowed. The place is well guarded, if caught taking picture, the camera may be confiscated or you may be fined heavily. It is heard the guard also settle for US Dollars or Euros as bribe! But why take chance.
The Valley of the Kings "Valley of the Gates of the Kings") is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, tombs were constructed for the Pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom (the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Dynasties of Ancient Egypt). The valley stands on the west bank of the Nile, opposite Thebes (modern Luxor), within the heart of the Theban Necropolis. The wadi consists of two valleys, East Valley (where the majority of the royal tombs situated) and West Valley.
With the 2006 discovery of a new chamber (KV63), and the 2008 discovery of 2 further tomb entrances, the valley is known to contain 63 tombs and chambers (ranging in size from a simple pit to a complex tomb with over 120 chambers), and was the principal burial place of the major royal figures of the Egyptian New Kingdom, together with those of a number of privileged nobles. The royal tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and give clues to the beliefs and funerary rituals of the period. All of the tombs seem to have been opened and robbed in antiquity, but they still give an idea of the opulence and power of the rulers of this time.
This area has been a focus of archaeological and egyptological exploration since the end of the eighteenth century, and its tombs and burials continue to stimulate research and interest. In modern times the valley has become famous for the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun (with its rumours of the Curse of the Pharaohs, and is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. In 1979, it became a World Heritage Site, along with the rest of the Theban Necropolis. Exploration, excavation and conservation continues in the valley, and a new tourist centre has recently been opened.
At the start of the Eighteenth Dynasty, only the kings were buried within the valley in large tombs; when a non-royal was buried, it was in a small rock cut chamber, close to the tomb of their master. Amenhotep III's tomb was constructed in the Western Valley, and while his son Akhenaten moved his tomb's construction to Amarna, it is thought that the unfinished WV25 may have originally been intended for him. With the return to religious orthodoxy at the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty, Tutankhamun, Ay and then Horemheb returned to the royal necropolis.
The Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties saw an increase in the number of burials (both here and in the Valley of the Queens), with Ramesses II and later Ramesses III constructing a massive tomb that was used for the burial of his sons (KV5 and KV3 respectively).There are some kings that are not buried within the valley or whose tomb has not been located: Thutmose II may have been buried in Dra' Abu el-Naga' (although his mummy was in the Deir el-Bahri tomb cache), Smenkhkare's burial has never been located, and Ramesses VIII seems to have been buried elsewhere.
In the Pyramid Age the tomb of the king was associated with a mortuary temple located close to the pyramid. As the tomb of the king was hidden, this mortuary temple was located away from the burial, closer to the cultivation facing towards Thebes. These mortuary temples became places visited during the various festivals held in the Theban necropolis, most notably the Beautiful festival of the valley, where the sacred barques of Amun-Re, his consort Mut and son Khonsu left the temple at Karnak in order to visit the funerary temples of deceased kings on the West Bank and their shrines in the Theban Necropolis.
The Theban Hills are dominated by the peak of al-Qurn, known to the Ancient Egyptians as ta dehent, or 'The Peak'.It has a pyramid shaped appearance, and it is probable that this echoed the pyramids of the Old Kingdom, more than a thousand years prior to the first royal burials carved here.Its isolated position also resulted in reduced access, and special tomb police (the Medjay) were able to guard the necropolis.
While the iconic pyramid complexes of the Giza plateau have come to symbolize ancient Egypt, the majority of tombs were cut into rock. Most pyramids and mastabas contain sections which are cut into ground level, and there are full rock-cut tombs in Egypt that date back to the Old Kingdom.
After the defeat of the Hyksos and the reunification of Egypt under Ahmose I, the Theban rulers began to construct elaborate tombs that would reflect their newfound power. The tombs of Ahmose and his son Amenhotep I (their exact location remains unknown) were probably in the Seventeenth Dynasty necropolis of Dra' Abu el-Naga'. The first royal tombs in the valley were those of Amenhotep I (although this identification is also disputed), and Thutmose I, whose advisor Ineni notes in his tomb that he advised his king to place his tomb in the desolate valley.
The Valley was used for primary burials from approximately 1539 BC to 1075 BC, and contains at least 63 tombs, beginning with Thutmose I (or possibly earlier, during the reign of Amenhotep I), and ending with Ramesses X or XI, although non-Royal burials continued in usurped tombs.
Despite the name, the Valley of the Kings also contains the tombs of favorite nobles as well as the wives and children of both nobles and pharaohs, meaning that only about 20 of the tombs actually contain the burials of kings, the burials of nobles and the royal family, together with unmarked pits and embalming caches make up the rest. Around the time of Ramesses I (ca. 1301 BC) construction commenced in the separate Valley of the Queens.
The tombs were constructed and decorated by the workers of the village of Deir el-Medina, located in a small wadi between this valley and the Valley of the Queens, facing Thebes. The workers journeyed to the tombs via routes over the Theban hills. The daily lives of these workers are quite well known, recorded in tombs and official documents. Amongst the events document is perhaps the first recorded worker's strike, detailed in the Turin strike papyrus.
History : Courtesy Wikipiedia
The Karnak Temple Complex—usually called Karnak—comprises a vast conglomeration of ruined temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings, notably the Great Temple of Amen and a massive structure begun by Pharaoh Ramses II (ca. 1391–1351 BC). An ancient sacred lake is part of the site as well. It is located near Luxor, some 500 km south of Cairo, in Egypt. The area around Karnak was the ancient Egyptian Ipet-isut ("The Most Selected of Places") and the main place of worship of the eighteenth dynasty Theban Triad with the god Amun as its head. It is part of the monumental city of Thebes. The Karnak complex takes its name from the nearby, and partly surrounded, modern village of el-Karnak, some 2.5 km north of Luxor.
At the entrance to the Valley of the Kings there is a visitors centre where you can watch a short film of Howard Carter going about the business of digging and also see a very interesting model of the valley. The terrain has been represented by drape-moulded clear acrylic: the various tunnels into the mountain hang underneath.
The model is at waist level. My tip is GET DOWN AND LOOK AT IT FROM UNDERNEATH . If you don't you miss the entire point of the model. From above, as with the valley itself (the whole point of the exercise) you see little or nothing.
While many tour groups travel to the site by (air conditioned) buses, our tour (GAP adventures) arranged for us to go by donkeys instead. Being a wannabe adventurer (who really can't live without modern comforts), we were quite excited by this alternative means of transportation.
We headed out around 7am to meet up with our donkey handlers across the river. First, we were "fitted" with a donkey and given a short instructional lesson on how to steer it. Hop hop = fast, whoa = slow down, pull left to make it go left, and pull right to make it go right. Sounds easy right? Well, a donkey is not called an "ass" for no reason.
5 minutes into the trip, I realized that my donkey would not stop for oncoming traffic, despite my desperate and insistent "whoa's". It also would not speed up to outrun the car. Luckily, my time wasn't up yet and we managed to "weave" through the intersection without getting hit. (One car did come way too close for my comfort.) Donkey's also like to poop a lot. As my donkey liked to follow its friends closely, not only do I need to steer the donkey away from traffic, I also need to dodge flying poop. That said, I loved every minute of it!
Our ride follow the main route into the Valley of the kings, so us donkey riders kept to the right hand lane and the tour buses going the same way can pass us on the left. I have to say we attracted quite a lot of curious stares. It would have been even cooler if we could go off-road, but it wasn't meant to be. Our (donkey) guides were really helpful in giving us tips to ride better. (It also helps that they were the only voice of "reason" those stubborn animals listen to!) I have to say that I was way more confident on the donkey 20 minutes into the trip - I even managed to have a little race with my friend.
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. We disembarked about 5 minutes from the entrance of the Valley and we had to say goodbye to our new "friends". We watched as the guides and 15 donkeys disappeared into the arid landscape before we continued with our journey. (We took local cabs back to town after the tour.)
Taking a donkey into the Valley of the Kings was a wonderful way to experience more of the desert, mainly because we were going at a somewhat leisurely pace. That said, be prepared for a lot of stiffness when you dismount from the donkey, especially if you're not used to riding.
Your entrance ticket to the Valley of the Kings entitles each person to enter 3 tombs on any one day. You have to pay extra if you want to visit the tomb of Tutankhamun or Rameses VI. We chose the latter because we'd heard that Tutankhamun's tomb is quite small and only famous because of it's association with the boy king.
We were really impressed with Rameses VI tomb and felt that it was well worth the additional LE£50 each ( half for my daughter).
Firstly the tomb wasn't crowded so it wasn't hot and we could take our time slowly looking at all the paintings and even noticing some of the old greek graffiti high up near the entrance.
As you go further down there are small side chambers with paintings depicting daily life but the real excitement comes at the end. There is a very large chamber with a smashed sarcophagus but it is the amazing paintings of night and day depicted up the walls and onto the ceiling that really impressed us. The dark blue and the golden stars of the night sky separated by the long, thin figures was just gorgeous.
The pictures of the headless slaves in the corners and columns were however a reminder of how brutal these times were despite all the care, detail and imagination put into creating these wonderful wall paintings.
For us, this tomb was the highlight of our visit to the fantastic Valley of the Kings.
I agree with comments above.
At the end of March, already hot, saw three including Ramses 9 and Tuthmosis III (which was up stairs and down stairs, quite low in places but v good). You could pay extra for King Tut but it is empty. We chose to pay extra for Ramses VI which was excellent, very well preserved, lots of paintings to see and no crowds because of extra price. Think we were in Valley of Kings for about 3 hrs.
Hatshepsut's temple is nearby and we were there less than one hr. Colossi of Memnon is just a 5 minute stop, you can see them from the car park.
Did another trip to West Bank and visited the Ramsseum, hardly anyone there, then Habu Temple - excellent.
The valley of the kings is a great place to visit early in the day if possible.
You are unfortunatly NOT allowed to take camera's in to the site at all.
Withe the basic ticket you can visit 3 tombs. Tutenkarmens tomb is 100EL more and not really worth that, its apparently tiny.
The art work you see in the tombs is amazing, some have retained their colour more than others.
Look out for balloon ride offers in June 2008, we paid £30 each for a sunrise trip, I know that sounds hard to believe but that was offered to us by our local tour rep.......we didn,t even have to barter at that price...........wow....sod the euro get to Egypt.
(PLEASE NOTE: Since this review I do not think you will see this value again, 2009 onwards,since a small accident required a review of all balloon operators and their training, you might say that prices have ballooned!!), apologies pardon the pun.
This is where I got arrested by the tourist police!
The third and final tomb that Anne and I visited was the tomb of Thutmoses III. We were told to visit this tomb last as it is the most impressive tomb in all of the Valley of the Kings!
Well, let me tell you, this tomb is the most amazing place that I have seen! The tunnel is very steep, and the walk out is very arduous, but it is well worth every bit of effort.
The hieroglyphics were truly spectacular and the variety was magnificent. The biggest surprise was right at the very end of the tunnel, a very large and impressive granite sarcophagus was located in the burial chamber. The burial chamber was adorned with murals showing the boat that would take the Pharaoh across the night sky and slaves tending to the Pharaoh.
As there was only a few people around I decided to take a photo. As I did, a guard appeared out of the shadows and grabbed my camera! He radioed for the tourist police and I was arrested for taking photos in the tomb.
After I was escorted from the tomb I was taken to the “Police Office” where other tourists were in a state of panic or distress as they had been arrested for the same thing…in the same tomb! The trick is, they allow you to bribe the guards and then they take your camera. They then attempt to get a bribe of 50 Egyptian Pound per photo or they will take your camera and send you to court! Most people pay, I argued for over an hour and it cost me 75 Egyptian Pound to get off…a huge saving as I had 35 photos inside the tombs!