Valley of the Kings: Thursday 19 January 2017

Thought it was to be cloudy today (according to yesterday’s weather forecast), but was pleasantly surprised when I looked out the window and saw sun. View below is from my window.

Was asked if I wanted to upgrade to a better room so I could see more of the Nile. I said it wasn’t necessary. The little bit I see is okay.

The hotel serves a very complete breakfast. I probably ate more than usual because the plan was to be out most of the day with Gadafi, my driver who I engaged as my “tour director” yesterday. He was to meet me at 10:00 a.m. along with a tour guide who will provide the history of the Valley of the Kings and other sites.

Gadafi was at the hotel at 10:00 as planned. We picked up Dayib (or as he likes to be called, “Indiana Jones” because of the hat he wears).

Dayib was great giving a historical perspective of Egypt and how their religion was fundamental in building the early empire and sustaining Egypt’s growth. I had no idea. Dayib’s information was fundamental in setting the stage for what I was about to see at the Valley of the Kings.

The Valley of the Kings was where many of the New Kingdom (or Empire) Pharaohs and powerful nobles were entombed. Including Tut-ankh-amun.

When we arrived, you could see many open holes in the sides of the cliffs. While many tombs have been found, many are still undiscovered. We had a good conversation whether they should be found or left as they were intended to be. We did agree that all Egyptian artifacts should remain in Egypt.

One of the reasons the site was selected was because of the hill that was shaped as a pyramid. (See below.)

The plan was to see three tombs, but I asked to see Tut-ankh-amun too. The first three tombs were interesting for the fact that you saw the original tunnel, some with the hieroglyphs intact, and the rooms that were built as part of the tomb complex. Depending on how long the Pharaoh was on the throne, since the tomb was being built as soon as the Pharaoh was instated. So, the tombs that I saw were of various depths. Tut-ankh-amun’s tomb was very small, but had many treasures since he restored the traditional Egyption religion, which had been set aside by his father, Akhenaten.

In Tut-ankh-amun’s tomb, his body (without the wrappings, though covered with a sheet) was displayed as well as his sarcophagus in the burial chamber. Maybe a little gruesome seeing the body.

Other pictures from the Valley of the Kings below.

Very glad to have a guide help me understand what I was seeing. Not being an Egyptologist, I hadn’t much of an understanding of the rituals and history of this sacred place. Sad that so many of the tombs have been raided over the years. A nearby town was relocated because many of the homes had hidden tunnels beneath them and used to dig for artifacts.

Here is Dayib and Gadafi (far left and right) at one of our stops. They were smoking a hookah.

After the Valley of the Kings we went to see a place that still practices the art of making crafts from the local rock and also another place how papyrus is made into paper. Think the intent was to have me buy something, but was educational nonetheless.

The next site we visited was Deir el-Bahari , which is the mountainside remains of temples, including Queen Hatshepsut’s tiered temple (Djeser-Djeseru), chapels and tombs. This complex of buildings was influenced by Hatshepsut and looks more modern than you’d expect from something that was built around 2050 BC.  This complex is currently being restored after being mostly buried for many years and damage from falling rock from the cliffs above. The view up to these buildings and down into the valley are amazing.

Looking out at the Nile Valley below.

The last site was the Colossie of Memnon. Two massive stone statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III (1350 BC) and stand in the Theban Necropolis, located wet of the Nile near Luxor.

Dayib said the status were floated to this spot  though Wiki said they were brought over land. In any case, they are 720 tons each and are 13 meters tall.

On the way back, am starting to make arrangements for a hot air balloon ride in Luxor. Also a trip to Aswan and Lake Nasser.

 

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