Tuthomosis I was the first Pharaoh to have his tomb cut, around 1495 BCE, and was followed by later Kings, over the next 500 years. There are 62 tombs in the valley. Each tomb is numbered in order of its discovery, but only about a dozen tombs are currently open to the public.
KV 2 - Tomb of Ramses IV
KV 8 - Tomb of Merenptah
KV 11 - Tomb of Ramses III
KV 16 - Tomb of Ramses I
KV 17 - Tomb of Seti I
KV 43 - Tomb of Thutmes IV
When his tomb was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922, Tutankhamen became the most famous ruler of the ancient world. We didn't go inside because we didn't have time but next time I'll go inside.
Tutankhamen, 1334-1325 B.C.
There are many theories about the parentage of Egypt’s most famous pharaoh, Tutankhamen. Some say he was a son of Akhenaten, others that he was his brother or half-brother, still others that he was a distant and minor relative. We know that he was born into the royal family and that he was probably raised at al Amarnah. Originally named Tutankhaten (“Living Image of the Aten”), his name was changed to Tutankhamen (“Living Image of Amen”) after the death of Akhenaten and when he succeeded Semenkhkara to the throne. He was crowned pharaoh when he was only nine years old and two principal royal advisors, Iy and Horemheb, apparently managed the affairs of state. Each of these advisors would succeed Tutankhamen in turn when the boy-king died eight years after his coronation.
One of the first acts of Tutankhamen’s reign was to re-open the temples of Egypt’s traditional deities. Authority was restored to priesthoods that Akhenaten had ignored, especially the priesthood of Amen at Karnak. There, and at Luxor Temple, the young king’s advisors authorized major building campaigns. A stela at Karnak, called the “Restoration Stela,” tells of these activities.
Tutankhamen died when he was only seventeen years old. The cause of death is not known, although a small fragment of bone in his skull (visible in x-rays) has led some to suggest that he was murdered. He was apparently to have been buried in KV 23, but that tomb was not finished at the time of his unexpected death, and he was therefore hastily interred in KV 62, buried with thousands of magnificent objects, but virtually devoid of the usual carved and painted walls.
The Valley of the Kings is situated in the Western mountain that lies parallel with the Nile on the opposite side of the Luxor and Karnak temples. So far there have been 62 tombs of the kings of the 19th and 20th dynasties found. They are hidden in the heart of the mountain arranged around a longitudianl axis. Long corridors, painted with scenes of kings’ afterlives, meeting the Gods and becoming divinities themselves, lead to subterranean temples with sarcophaguses of kings. Perhaps the most breathtaking is the tomb of Ramses Vand VI with gygantic granite lid of the box that housed the king’s sarcophagus and the ceiling painted so fascinately that can be compared in its greatness with the famous Sistine chapel with the original paint pigments still in place. And we are talking about something 3200 years old!
There is also the tomb of Hatshepsut found here, the only woman pharaoh as well as the most famous tomb – that of Tutankhamen. Tutankhamen’s tomb was found in 1922 by Howard Carter, so much after the others perhaps because of its unusual position. It lies beneath the tomb of Ramses V and VI and it was sealed with stones during the building of the aforementioned one. It is poorly decorated but its immense treasures made it the most famous. The treasures from the Tutankhamen’s tomb can nowadays be seen in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, including the phenomenal 11 kg gold mask of the boy-pharaoh.
No trip to Luxor would be complete without a trip to the Valley of the Kings on the west bank.
Although there isn’t much to take photographs of here, as all the tombs are underground, the valley is dominated by a natural pyramid.
The entrance fee allows you to visit 3 tombs. We visited the tombs of Ramses I, III and VI and although the treasures have long gone the wall paintings are spectacular.
We visited the Valley of the Kings in deep afternoon, in fact we were the last group. So, there were no crowds of tourists :-) And the heat wasn't so heavy as in the middle of the day. We wisited 3 tombs (as all tourists) - in reality i doesn't remember whose tombs these were... :-) But these tombs were beautiful.
Next time when i will be here, i wil spend longer time and try to wisit not only 3, but much more tombs. :-)
Entrance: 55,- LE (you can visit 3 tombs); students: 30,-LE
Tomb of Tutankhamun: 70,-LE (there isn't possible to make photos or film)
Photo: 5,-LE (each tomb)
The tomb of Queen Tawsret and Siptah in the VAlley of the Kings is an easy one to visit as it does not involve climbing or steps. The walls are brightly painted and there is a sarcophagus.
The photo shows Ra , the hawk headed sun god, and Maat the goddess of Justice with an ostrich feather[ symbolizing the feather against the dead's heart is weighed]. Horus is carrying a lotus blossom and an ankh [the symbol of life].
This tomb was spared flood-water damage and paintings are very well preserved.
Rameses IV, 1151-1145 B.C.
Rameses IV, the son of Rameses III, ascended to the throne during a period when Egypt had fallen on hard times. There is no evidence that he attempted, or was able, to restore its wealth and international authority. Texts of his reign speak of social unrest, rising crime, and economic decline.
However, Rameses IV did order extensive work in several stone and turquoise quarries, and he built additions to temples at Abydos, Heliopolis, and Thebes and erected many statues there. His own memorial temple lay near Dayr al Madinah, and his tomb, KV 2, was dug in the Valley of the Kings. Later, in Dynasty 21, his body was moved with several other royal mummies to KV 35 for safekeeping.
This tomb is damaged but you can still see great paintings.
Merenptah, 1212-1202 B.C.
Because Rameses II lived into his eighties at a time when normal life expectancy in Egypt was only about forty, many of his sons predeceased him, and it was his thirteenth son, Merenptah, who finally succeeded him to the throne. Merenptah was by then already sixty, and his reign lasted only ten years. But during that time, he maintained peace in northeast Africa and western Asia, led expeditions into Nubia and Libya, and sent food to famine-stricken Hittites in Syria. His military exploits are recounted in three major inscriptions, one at Karnak, a second at Athribis in the Delta, and a third in his memorial temple at Thebes. This last text includes the first known reference to the people of Israel, which was said to be "wasted, bare of seed."
Merenptah’s building activities included additions to the Osireion at Abydos, enlarging government offices at Memphis (and moving his administration from Piramesse to Memphis), and building at Dandarah. In the Valley of the Kings, his tomb, KV 8, is one of the valley’s largest. His memorial temple, currently being made into an open-air museum by the Swiss Institute, lay immediately behind that of Amenhetep III and used the earlier temple as a source of building stone.
Merenptah’s mummy was found in 1898 in the royal cache of mummies re-buried in KV 35, the tomb of Amenhetep II.
When visiting tombs, don't forget to look up as even the ceilings can be decorated . From the earliest times [eg IVthe Dynasty] ceilings were often painted blue or black with 5 pointed yellow stars. In later times an actual zodiac was found. In this tomb there is an astronomical ceiling in the middle corridor.
In the photo taken in the tomb of Ramses IX, the god Bes [ the only god represented full face] sits above a lintel. Other gods and goddesses walk above him.
This is a large tomb with excellent paintings. It is usually crowded, so that photography was difficult, and the paintings are protected by glass or plastic. Nowadays photography is forbidden in all tombs.
The long straight corridor is typical of the tombs from the late Ramesside period.
The main photo shows the scarab in a solar barque between two uadjet eyes, sailing on the snake representing Time.
For visiting the Valley of the Kings you need some time. So cross the Nile to the westbank and start your visit in the Valley of the Kings. Fore some of the 20 tombs you have to wait a long time before you can enter. Tickets for the tombs (on every ticket you can visit 3 tombs) you have to buy at the ticketoffice, several KMs away at the other side of the necropolis. Only the separate ticket for the tomb of Tutankhamun you can buy at the entrance of the Valley of the Kings.
We visited the tomb of Tutankhamun. It was not the most impressive tomb to visit, but the discovery of this tomb in 1922 was a very important and exciting historical event in the archaeology. They found the tomb at the bottom of the tomb of Ramses VI.
We visited also some other tombs. All the tombs have a similar design. Staircases and long corridors lead to the ''underworld'' of a sery of chambers and halls ending in the burial chamber. The paintings are beautifull, we bought a nice booklet of it.
This tomb is the most preserved tomb in the valley. It descends over 100m. The long corridor ends with the burial chamber. The burial chamber originally contained Seti’s alabaster sarcophagus, but that is now in the Soane Museum in London.
Sety I, 1291-1278 B.C.
Sety I may have briefly served as co-regent with his father, Rameses I, and then ruled Egypt alone for fourteen years.
Sety I called himself “Repeater of Births,” meaning that he considered himself the leader of a renaissance. Certainly, this was true not only militarily but in terms of Egypt’s art and architecture as well. For example, he devoted considerable time and energy to the Temple of Amen at Karnak. He began the great hypostyle hall, one of the largest religious structures ever built. The hall covers 5,406 square meters (1.3 acres) and contains 134 columns, the largest of them twenty-three meters (seventy-five feet) high.
Sety also built extensively at Abydos, where he built both the Osireion, a cenotaph dedicated to Osiris, and an elegantly proportioned temple in which a “King List” was carved. That list gives the names of seventy-six rulers from the beginning of Dynasty 1 to Sety I himself.
Sety I’s mummy, found in the Dayr al Bahri cache in 1881, is now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.
Sety I and his principal wife Tuya lost their firstborn son. It was their second son, Rameses II, who succeeded his father as pharaoh.