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A runner with an appetite for adventure!

Luxor and the Valley of the Kings November 13, 2010

Filed under: Cairo — Kelocity @ 8:06 pm
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Originally 11/4/2010…

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.
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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.
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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.
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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).


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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.

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The most decorative tomb was Ramses III, you could still see the paint on the ceilings as if it was still fresh.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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While we were driving out, we saw archeological crews still digging. I wonder what amazing things still have yet to be discovered.
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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).
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After that, we stopped quickly at the Colossi of Memnon. These were built in 1350 BC.
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There was quite a history behind these statues, they’ve been through a lot over the past 3,500 years.

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I love tour books, I always want to know what I’m looking at. lol NERD!
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Then we took the bus to one of the highlights of the trip… the Temple of Karnack.
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Sherif, our tourguide, led us back in time when he described the wonder inside.
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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!
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Leading up to the main entrance was a row of Ram heads.
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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?
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Inside was a huge statue of Ramses II.
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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…
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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.
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The paint can still be seen on the ceiling!
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There was a really pretty drawing on one of the walls that shows two Egyptians in love. This was extremely rare in Egyptian art.
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Outside the temple, is a Scarab Beetle.
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You’re supposed to walk around the statue 7 times and make 7 wishes.
So around and around I go!
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Nearby is the sacred lake that the priests used to use as holy water.
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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?)
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Then we headed back to the boat to shower and pack up. Our three night cruise down the Nile was over.
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We will miss this boat. It was a lot of fun. (In the background, you can see the Valley of the Kings lit up.
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It was time to head out of Luxor. I assure you it’s MUCH better than the one in Las Vegas!
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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.
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It wasn’t so bad though. You make the best of it.
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Tomorrow is our last day in Egypt. There is one more post left to share. I hope you are enjoying them!

Make sure you enter the contest! I’ll be picking a random winner, so give it your best shot!

 

Exploring Luxor November 12, 2010

Filed under: Cairo — Kelocity @ 2:00 pm
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Originally 11/3/2010…

We woke up today at 6am to get to the Luxor Temples before the crowds. Our tour company is “Contiki”… so our motto on the trip was to get to the sights before “Antiki” (get it?) lol

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Our first stop was the Temple of Horus in Edfu.
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It was built in 200BC and is the most well-preserved temple in Egypt because it was covered in sand for nearly 2,000 years.

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See the ‘windows’ carved into the sides? These didn’t used to be there. In 300AD, when Christianity was starting to boom, people moved into the temple and cut holes for sunlight.
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The temple is really deep, there are several rooms leading down a long hallway.
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At the end of the hallway, was a granite shrine that originally housed a boat that would take the god once a year to the courtyard where the people could have a look.
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Here is a depiction of carrying the god out of the temple.

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Don’t these look like they were just carved yesterday? It’s amazing.

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When people moved inside the temple in 300AD, the Egyptian religion had long been forgotten. The new religious dwellers scratched the images of the old gods off the walls.
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But even though the faces of the gods are gone, the stories scratched into the walls remain.
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Written here is a long play that the people could read.
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Back on the boat, we enjoyed another relaxing day of lounging, reading, blogging and sleeping. Smile
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Midday, our boats passed through some locks in the River. Because of the Dams, the water level changes and you have to go through like the Panama Canal.
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It’s a slow process and as we waited, kids swim along the boat and throw empty film canisters onboard. They want you to put money in it and throw it back to them.
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It’s so sad because they are so poor.
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In the afternoon, they had teatime on the ship.

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In the evening, we went to a Papyrus shop and learned how they make it.
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We drove back along the Nile and saw the Valley of the Kings all lit up! (We’re heading to there tomorrow!)
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Our next stop was Luxor Temple, built by Ramses II.

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The focal point was the pink granite obelisk in front. There used to be two, but the second one was given to France as a gift.

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Recently discovered was a two mile row of Sphinxes connecting Luxor Temple to Karnack Temple. One by one they are restoring them.
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Inside, the temple was breathtaking.
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Since it had been buried under sand for nearly 2,000 years, it was very well preserved. No one knew it was even there, and they continued to build on top of it in the 13th century. When they excavated, they left the Mosque above the temple walls.

On the left, up above, you can see the original door!
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There was also lots of color preserved here as well.
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Me and Ramses II.

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I wonder how many more buried temples and treasures they’ll find in the next hundred years. This stuff is amazing!
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Stay tuned for the Valley of the Kings, King Tut and Karnack!

And don’t forget to enter the contest!

 

 
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