Sunday, December 02, 2007

THE VALLEY OF THE KINGS

The Valley of the Kings is a valley where for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, tombs were constructed for the kings and powerful nobles. The valley stands on the west bank of the Nile, across from Luxor. It consists of two valleys, East Valley (where are the majority of the royal tombs) and West Valley.

The area has been a focus of concentrated 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 and is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world.

The Valley was used for primary burials from approximately 1539 BC to 1075 BC, and contains at least 63 tombs, beginning with Thutmose I , and ending with Ramesses X or XI.

This is for the history. If you want to know more about the tombs and kings you can read everything in Wikipedia.

We were just amazed that in the middle of a desert we could see tombs. At least that's what we thought.

The entrance with the mountains behind looked very pretty.

We arrived in an entrance hall, where a plaster model showed us the location of all tombs.

Then we went outside

Little trains were waiting to drive the tourists near the tombs, because it is quite a very long way. It was all very new to me, because when I had been there in 2001 this hadn't existed and we had to walk.

The little train took us to a very amazing landscape. Considering that it was a "graveyard"

and you could see everywhere an entrance to a king's tomb

All entrances looked the same. It was not allowed to take any pictures or videos inside. Taking pictures I could understand, because of the flash which harms the paintings, but a video ? Later I heard that if you give some money to the guards, they close both an eye(s).

It was very very hot not only outside but even more inside the tombs, because the air was very sticky. All in all I found the whole visit rather disappointing besides the situation of the place.

From the tombs themselves you couldn't see very much. Only 3 tombs were open for the tourists. All others were closed. They had finally realized that the tourists had done a lot of damage to the wall paintings because of their breathing and perspiration. The tombs had survived for thousands of years and now they were in danger because of human's curiosity and disrespectful behaviour. So many paintings had been damaged or had disappeared completely because tourists scratched them from the walls to bring them home as a souvenir.

My friend Ilona who had been here 17 years ago noticed immediately a big difference to what she could see at that time and today.

Now the Egyptian government has decided to open only 3 tombs, then close them and open 3 others to give them a rest. I only hope it's not too late.

Ilona is our donkey and carries the drinks.

It was very interesting to have seen it once at least the whole valley. From all the treasures which were in the tombs you don't see anything. They are distributed all over the world in museums and the main part in Cairo. The only thing you can still admire are the wall paintings.

This is a report from November 04, 2007, from the BBC news. Although we were there a few days later, we weren't allowed to see the tomb of Tutankhamun. The tomb was closed again.

2 comments:

A. said...

It is such a shame how tourists damage everything they visit, whether intentional or not. It is becoming a real problem the world over. The Lascaux caves in France were closed years ago but at least they have "reproduction" caves which you can visit.

Lifecruiser.com said...

Ah, such a pity yes! Well, I can't help thinking: maybe they never should have opened the graves...

It's an interesting valley never the less!

I'm glad they moved him to safety -Tutankhamun.

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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