The ancient necropolis is located on the opposite bank of Luxor, the ancient capital of Egypt, called Thebes. The buildings on the right bank of the Nile were called the City of the Living. The population of Thebes lived there. For the burials of the pharaohs, their families and high-ranking officials, the city of the Dead was founded on the left bank of the Nile. Tombs and burial temples were built here.
- The history of the necropolis
- City of dead
- Temple of Hatshepsut
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The history of the necropolis
The first burials date back to the late 17th – early 18th dynasties, during the reign of Pharaoh Thutmose I. He changed the tradition of burying pharaohs in pyramids. Having chosen a secluded place in the rocks for the construction of the tomb, the pharaoh hoped that his secret burial would not be plundered.
From the XVI century. BC. to the XI century. BC. for five centuries, a necropolis was created in the Valley of the Kings. At the same time, in the south-west of the Valley of the Kings, burials of wives, children and important government officials began in the Valley of the Queens. The tombs in the Valley of the Queens were built smaller in size, but outwardly similar to the tombs of the pharaohs.
To date, in the Valley of the Queens, about 70 tombs have been discovered that belonged to the wives, children of the pharaohs, priests and government officials. Half of the tombs have not yet been identified. More compact in size, the Valley of the Queens is more convenient for tourists.
The most interesting find is the tomb of Ramses II’s wife Nefertari, decorated with fresco paintings. The drawings from the tomb of Nefertari are considered by scientists to be very important for the study of the history of Ancient Egypt. To visit this tomb, you need to buy a separate ticket.
To the Valley of the Kings we ended up with a guided tour. It started in Luxor.
We crossed the Nile in a small boat.
There are many similar to our boat at the pier.
City of dead
Then we went to the city of the Dead by bus. These are the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens.
On the way, we saw giant statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, which are called Colossi of Memnon. They once towered in front of a giant memorial complex, which was destroyed over time.
Then we were taken further to see the tombs.
We soon arrived in the Valley of the Kings.
A lifeless desert with a sun-scorched land looks the same as it did many years ago, in the days of Ancient Egypt. Excavations are still underway in the valley, so only some of the tombs are open to tourists.
I was glad that for the continuation of the excursion we were offered to get into electric cars in order to drive closer to the tombs. The sun shines mercilessly there. Even a small shadow is happy.
The entrance to the tombs is about the same for everyone. Tourists are only allowed into some of them.
The most interesting thing is inside. In the tombs, drawings and bas-reliefs have been preserved that tell about the divine origin of the pharaohs, scenes from everyday life. Drawings from the Book of the Dead and many mysterious inscriptions tell about the journey to the afterlife.
Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the tombs.
Temple of Hatshepsut
The temple of Queen Hatshepsut deserves special attention. The only female pharaoh, who ruled the country for 21 years, came to power after the death of Pharaoh Thutmose II, becoming regent with her young stepson Thutmose III.
Egypt flourished under her rule. She appreciated art, restored monuments and erected new ones. In addition, many different objects were built, including a burial temple.
Hatshepsut built her tomb different from others. It resembles a temple carved into the rock.
The road leading to it was once surrounded by sculptures of the queen’s sphinxes.
The temple has three terraces, located at different levels, with a ramp in the middle.
Religious rites were performed on the upper terrace. On the sides of the site, located on the terrace, there are sanctuaries.
The entrance to the sanctuary
Drawings and bas-reliefs inside the temple of Hatshepsut
View from the lower terrace of the Hatshepsut temple. Now the desert around looks pretty dull. And during the construction of the temple, myrrh trees were brought in and planted along the long alley leading to the temple. But over time, they stopped taking care of the temple and the trees around.
Finds of archaeologists are piled up near the temple. Restoration work continues to this day.
The object is heavily guarded. At the entrance to the temple, a guard with a real machine gun.
Of course, it is a pity that the former beauty of the temple can only be imagined based on pieces of preserved bas-reliefs, statues and stories of the guide. I would like to see the temple not destroyed by time, in its original form.
The tombs of the pharaohs were interesting to see. The history of Ancient Egypt, which was studied at school, comes to life before your eyes. You will not find anything like this anywhere else.