Tuesday, 7 August 2012

VALLEY OF THE KINGS, EGYPT

The Valley 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 are situated) and West Valley. With the 2006 discovery of a new chamber (KV63), and the 2008 discovery of two further tomb entrances, the valley is known to contain 63 tombs and chambers (ranging in size from KV54, a simple pit, to KV5, a complex tomb with over 120 chambers). It 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. Almost 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 Pharaohs. 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, the Valley of the Kings 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.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Taphophile Tragics meme.
Map of the Valley and its tombs
A village close to the Valley. People there still make a living from the tombs - in the past the residents were tomb robbers, nowadays they peddle souvenirs to tourists
Imposing cliffs surround the Valley
Entrance to the tomb of Tutankhamun
The site is well curated and signed 
Entrance to another tomb
The carved stone sarcophagus (literally means "flesh-eater" in Greek) of the Pharaoh Merenptah
Tomb fresco of the falcon-headed god Horus on the right with a female deity on the left
Another view of a village close to the Valley

10 comments:

  1. A place worth visiting. The antiquity of the place awes me.

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  2. Thanks for the journey. Sarcophagus was really well preserved and it looks great in your photo. If only I could go there one day.

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  3. Very interesting post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  4. Thanks for sharing your part of the world. Amazing!

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  5. Wonderful insights into this famous valley! I have never seen the valley in closeup photos like this! And those cliffs look so fragile - as if they will crumble easily! Loved this post!

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  6. It is an amazing place to visit. I was surprised that you could get so close to the paintings and heiroglyphics on the walls. I think they should be better protected for future generations to also have the chance to appreciate them.

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  7. What a fascinating and beautiful place. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. I hope to make it here one day.

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  9. flesheater. that sounds freaky. but makes sense, actually. interesting!
    and the village houses look so very tiny...
    must be amazing to see that

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  10. This is somewhere I never expect to go in person, but I do enjoy reading and viewing images. What gets me in your photos, Nick, is the fragility. Not of the tombs which have a fragility of their own, but of the surrounding hills, and of the village of the locals.

    The hills look as though they have been badly eroded by water, but is that possible? I would not think this area would receive sufficient rainfall to have water caused erosion. Perhaps it is wind.

    The villages look as though not much would stop them returning to the sands from whence they came. They look so small and impoverished. Fancy such a grand culture being reduced peddling replicas. Although these are not the descendents of the pharoahs, I guess, but of the worker-slaves.

    Wonderful eye-opening post. Thank you.

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I love to hear from you, so please comment. I appreciate constructive criticism as it improves my skills as an amateur photographer.