Today, we woke up at 5:30am. As the sun was rising, we headed towards the Valley of the Kings. On the way, we saw Hatshepsut’s temple in the Valley of the Queens.
I was sad we couldn’t really get any closer than this. But apparently it’s closed for restoration now.
Our bus winded it’s way through the beautiful mountains until we came to the entrance of the Valley of the Kings.
They didn’t allow cameras to be taken onto the grounds (major bummer), but it was kind of nice to look around and take it all in without worrying about capturing it on film. The tombs are literally in a valley in the middle of big stone mountains. You have to take a tram to get to the main entrance.
There are 63 tombs that have been uncovered so far in the Valley. Each one is noted with ‘KV’ for ‘Kings Valley’. They are listed in order of being discovered. The newest one was found in 2006, I’m sure there are even more to find if they keep digging! It is the first tomb they’ve found since 1922 (when King Tut was discovered).
We went inside six different tombs. Each was amazing, magical and breathtaking. They are almost 4,000 years old! You read about them in elementary school and it was really inspiring to see them in person. Just incredible.
We went inside the following tombs, click on the links for amazing 3D images and descriptions!
- Ramses IV which is KV2.
- Ramses VI which is KV9.
Ramses III which is KV11.
- Tuthmosis III which is KV34.
- King Tut which is KV62.
Tuthmosis III (or Thutmes III) was the most impressive of all the tombs. It was carved high into the rock, and Sherif explained that it was the ‘Indiana Jones’ tomb. There were booby traps inside to deter grave diggers. You had to slide down slick rocks, jump over deep pits and cut holes into the rocks to get to the mummy and it’s treasures (of course people still found a way to get to the tomb, but it was worth a shot!) It was so fun climbing inside.
The most decorative tomb was Ramses III, you could still see the paint on the ceilings as if it was still fresh.
But of course, the most famous tomb is King Tut. You have to pay extra to go into his, but it was totally worth it. Since he died so young, his tomb wasn’t elaborate or big, but it was jam packed with treasures when Howard Carter found it in 1922.
All of the tomb’s treasures, outer coffins and the golden mask are in the Egyptian Museum, but his sarcophagus is still inside the tomb.
On the other side of the tomb is King Tut himself. He doesn’t look like a boy king anymore, but his presence was definitely felt inside the tomb. Maybe they’re still afraid of the curse of king tut, or maybe it’s to make money from charging people to go look at him, but they left the body inside indefinitely. Oh Egypt.
It was such an amazing morning, we know we’re so lucky we got to see the things we saw. So much history in one little valley.
We wondered, why would they pick this valley to bury their pharaohs? They believed that pyramids was the way to afterlife (directly to the sun). But pyramids became too risky since tomb robbers knew where to spot the treasure. But the top of this mountain looked like a pyramid! Perfect! Disguised AND still an express train to the sun.
While we were driving out, we saw archeological crews still digging. I wonder what amazing things still have yet to be discovered.
My memory is a little fuzzy on this one, but I think this is the Temple of Ramses. (The ordinary people were too afraid to go anywhere near the tombs, so they built temples to honor them instead).
After that, we stopped quickly at the Colossi of Memnon. These were built in 1350 BC.
There was quite a history behind these statues, they’ve been through a lot over the past 3,500 years.
I love tour books, I always want to know what I’m looking at. lol NERD!
Then we took the bus to one of the highlights of the trip… the Temple of Karnack.
Sherif, our tourguide, led us back in time when he described the wonder inside.
This was a view looking back towards the Nile. Before they built the dam, the nile used to flood all the way up to where I took this picture!
Leading up to the main entrance was a row of Ram heads.
Each ram had a god under it’s head. Partly to give the rams spiritual protection, but also to physically support the stone so it didn’t crack. Genius, no?
Inside was a huge statue of Ramses II.
Around the temple were giant walls. And they built these walls by creating mud ramps. After it was complete, they’d remove the temporary ramp… but in this temple, they stopped building before they had time. You can see it here…
Inside the temple are huge pillars. They built these by filling the interior with sand as they built, then they’d climb up and keep building. When it was done, and the roof was on, they cleared all the sand out.
The paint can still be seen on the ceiling!
There was a really pretty drawing on one of the walls that shows two Egyptians in love. This was extremely rare in Egyptian art.
Outside the temple, is a Scarab Beetle.
You’re supposed to walk around the statue 7 times and make 7 wishes.
So around and around I go!
Nearby is the sacred lake that the priests used to use as holy water.
It’s a long story, but one of the pharaohs didn’t like his wife (who commissioned the obelisk) so he covered it up. This is the reason it is now one of the best preserved obelisks in Egypt. (Joke’s on him, right?)
Then we headed back to the boat to shower and pack up. Our three night cruise down the Nile was over.
We will miss this boat. It was a lot of fun. (In the background, you can see the Valley of the Kings lit up.
It was time to head out of Luxor. I assure you it’s MUCH better than the one in Las Vegas!
Back to the train station for another night sleeping in a
closet train compartment. Before we got on the train, we went to a supermarket to buy dinner. This consisted of Cookies, Nutella, Kit Kat with Hazelnut Cream and Pringles. Yes. I was definitely nutritionally lacking on this trip.
It wasn’t so bad though. You make the best of it.
Tomorrow is our last day in Egypt. There is one more post left to share. I hope you are enjoying them!
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