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The Valley of The Kings

The Valley of The Kings

The ” Valley of the Kings ” (Arabic: Wadi Biban el-Muluk , Valley of the Gates of the Kings) is home to the most magnificent and mysterious cemetery in the world. In this dry river valley, Egyptian workers under the scorching desert sun in the second millennium BC. Graves of fascinating beauty and awe-inspiring size carved into the rock.

The high point of the Theban hills is pyramidal in shape from the entrance of the valley, and so some Egyptologists and archaeologists believe that this must have inspired the selection to build the Valley of the Kings here. It is divided into the West Valley and the East Valley, where most of the royal tombs are located.

Here the kings of the New Kingdom established their dynastic necropolis (necropolises were generally built west of the city, ie on the way to Amenti: the west or the land of the dead). It was once a canyon lost in the tangle of rocks, but it still retains its mysterious appeal when people have built convenient access roads.        
    
The Valley of the Kings is located in Thebes-West opposite today’s Luxor in Upper Egypt and is one of the best known and most visited necropolises from the Pharaonic period. In this valley, the remains were all kings of the New Kingdom – since Thutmose I . – laid to eternal rest. As the cemetery of the pharaohs, the “Valley of the Kings” was one of the most sacred sites in ancient Egypt.

Today there are 26 royal tombs known to have been created for pharaohs in this valley. The chambers of the graves once overflowed with treasures of daily and religious life, the walls are decorated with mysterious guides through the underworld. Even today, over 3000 years later, the “Valley of the Kings” is an awe-inspiring place.
       
The graves have been numbered by science, each grave in the Valley of the Kings begins with the abbreviation “KV”, which is the abbreviation for the English word “Kings’ Valley”.
So far 63 graves have been discovered over time; not all of them were once created for kings, four or five of them belong to the royal family.

At the beginning of his story, the decision of King Thutmose I to separate his burial place from the mortuary temple is evident . – However, other sources say that it was Hatshepsut , ruler of Egypt around 1500 BC. and royal daughter of Thutmose I. – In addition, Thutmose ordered that his body no longer be in a magnificent monument, but in a secret place. His architect, named Jneni, had a shaft dug in the lonely valley, a steep staircase hewn into the rock and the burial chamber dug deep down at its end. According to this scheme, all subsequent pharaohs were buried from now on.    

But the rest of Thutmose I and the other kings should be short-lived. The history of the Valley of the Kings is full of looting, theft and nighttime torchlight transport. Because it was not just thieves who had already systematically plundered the graves in the time of the pharaohs in order to get the jewelry and the treasures added to the dead.
They also carried away the most devout and obedient servants of the kings, who did not know the body there safely, in order to place them in another secret place. In these so-called cachettes (eg the famous “DB 320”) archaeologists or treasure hunters found numerous mummies by royal rulers in the 19th century.

The tomb of Thutmose ‘I is one of the oldest in the Valley of the Kings and was discovered in 1899. Almost all pharaohs from the New Kingdom to Ramses XI. are represented in the Valley of the Kings. Almost all graves were looted, with the exception of Tutankhamun’s grave (KV 62). Some scientists assume that there are still some treasures and other graves in the Valley of the Kings today. In 2005/2006, scientists found a small burial chamber (hereinafter referred to as KV 63) filled with a number of anthropoid sarcophagi as well as numerous amphorae and additions.
To the south of the Valley of the Kings is another desert valley, the Valley of the Queens (Biban el-Harim) where the queens of the New Kingdom and the young children of the late royal family were buried. The majority of these graves date from the 19th and 20th dynasties, of which the most splendid are those of the Nefertari, the wife of Ramses II, and that of Queen Titi.

A working village was founded especially for the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, at the time of the New Kingdom: Deir el-Medina. The craftsmen, artists and stonemasons lived there until they died. The village was shielded from the outside world, surrounded by a wall.                    
Unfortunately, numerous graves in the “Valley of the Kings” were robbed of their valuable grave goods during the Pharaonic period. It was common for grave robbers to be run by greedy compatriots. This was a very serious criminal undertaking and was usually punished with death.   

Since the end of the 18th century, the Valley of the Kings has been the center of archaeological exploration, and its tombs and burial sites continue to stimulate research and interest. In 1979 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Read more about the New Kingdom of Egypt.

The valley is home to well-known names of ancient kings and queens, since it is the remains of pharaohs such as Ramses (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, IX, X), Hatshepsut, Amenhotep I and the famous boy King Tutankhamun contains. The first pharaoh to be buried in the Valley of the Kings was Thutmose I, while the last pharaoh was Ramses X. It also contains graves of powerful nobles including their wives and children. The graves showed the luxury these pharaohs had enjoyed, and the writings on the wall contained much information about their lives.

The Most Famous Tombs in The Valley of The Kings

Tutankhamun (KV 62)

It is one of the most famous tombs in the Valley of the Kings, discovered by Howard Carter in 1922 . The tomb was full of amazing artifacts, including King Tut’s fully preserved mummy, a massive inner coffin made of gold, a golden chariot, the famous golden mask and many other treasures (a total of 5000 artifacts). The grave contained several chambers, the most important of which are the burial chamber and the treasury.

Set I I (KV 17)

The grave was reopened in 2016 after years of restoration and is the longest and deepest grave in the entire necropolis at approx. 137m. It is one of the most decorated tombs in the valley and is covered with numerous ornaments and religious text inscriptions. The tomb is one of the most beautiful in the Valley of the Kings and in all of Egypt and still leaves a breathtaking impression on visitors.

Tuthmosis III (KV 34) 

The tomb of Tuthmosis III is considered one of the oldest tombs and is located at the extreme end of the eastern valley. The oval chamber of the tomb is decorated with breathtaking inscriptions and figures.

Ramses III (KV 11)

The walls of the grave KV 11 show scenes from the Amduat (“Scripture of the Hidden Space”), the Gate Book, the “Book from the Earth” and the “Book from the Sky Cow”. They are decorated with a decoration scheme valid for the Ramesside period, which only varies in detail. The colors of the deep reliefs are well preserved overall and offer an extraordinary variety. The tomb of Ramses III houses the famous paintings by two blind harpists in the burial chamber. The harps wear the king’s head in regalia with the double crown or the crown of Lower Egypt. 

Ramses VI (KV 9)

The tomb KV9 in the Egyptian Valley of the Kings was originally built by Pharaoh Ramses V. He was buried here, but his uncle Ramses VI. later used the grave as his own. Numerous decorations can be found in the tomb. These include paintings from the Book of the Gates, the Book of the Caves, the Book of the Day, the Book of the Night and the Book of the Sky Cow. Other decorations can be found in the burial chamber, such as the Amduat, the Book of Earth and an astronomical ceiling with groove and the sky books

Ramses IX (KV 6)

The burial chamber has a ramp that leads to the sarcophagus of the pharaoh. The ceiling is vaulted and decorated with magnificent pictures of the goddess Nut. The side walls show scenes from the Book of Caverns and the Book of Earth. The great wall represents Ramses IX. that is surrounded by gods.

Visit these wonderful archaeological sites on a private tour of Egypt or experience many other historical sights along the Nile in Egypt on a fascinating Nile cruise. Enjoy your vacation in the land of the pharaohs with trips to Egypt.