Meeting the Kings


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Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Luxor
August 20th 2018
Published: July 9th 2019
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Today Renata and I explored three places in Luxor: The Colossi of Memnon, the Valley of the Kings and the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. We finished the evening with a Nubian Dinner at a nearby Nubian village in Aswan.

Colossi of Memnon

The Colossi of Memnon are these two massive stone statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III made from sandstone. The faces are a little run down but they are interesting to behold.

The Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings was a highlight of our day in Luxor and one of the highlights of our trip to Egypt. Along with building massive pyramids, the Ancient Egyptians also built underground tombs which housed many ancient Pharaoh treasures. The most famed collection of underground tombs is located in the Valley of the Kings which lies on the Nile's west bank near Luxor.

The underground tombs were stocked with all the material goods a ruler might need in the afterlife. Treasures found in the Valley of the Kings include the tomb of King Tutankhamun and his famous golden mask. The tombs also housed the more mundane including furniture, clothes (even underwear), jewelry, and food and drink. Mummification was used to preserve the body so that the deceased soul can reanimate in it in the afterlife.

There are more than 62 tombs located at the Valley of the Kings. At least one late Ramesside pharaoh tomb (Ramses VIII) is still undiscovered and many believe it may be found within the valley of the Kings.

KV2

Renata and I were allowed to visit 3 tombs with our ticket. I also had to buy a photo pass in order to take pictures within the tombs. The first tomb we visited was tomb KV2: the burial place of Ramesses IV. The tomb is said to contain the second highest number of ancient graffiti inside it which has been left behind by Greek and Roman visitors. It was used as a hotel in 1829 and a Coptic Christian dwelling. The walls display a large amount of Coptic and Greek graffiti.

KV11

The second tomb we visited was the tomb of Ramesses III. It is one of the most interesting and best preserved and opens into a eight-pillared burial chamber. His sarcophagus is currently in the Louvre in Paris, its detailed lid in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and his mummy at the Cairo Egyptian Museum.

KV 8

The Last tomb we visited was the tomb of Merneptah. Merneptah was the fourth ruler of the 19th dynasty in ancient Egypt. He is said to be the thirteenth son of Ramesses II. He became ruler when all his brother died, at the older age of 60 years. The tombs is large in size but the design is less elaborate than the other two tombs we saw.

Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut

After our incredible time at the Valley of the Kings. Renata and I headed towards the nearby Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. Build in a half circle of cliffs, this memorial temple marks the entrance to the Valley of the Kings. Hatshepsut constructed many monuments in Egypt. This temple is considered her greatest achievement. The temple has three levels and resembles Greek architecture.

Hatshepsut story is an interesting one. She is the daughter of Thutmose I and his great wife Ahmose. Thutmose I also fathered Thutmose II with his second wife. Hatshepsut married Thutmose II. Thutmose II fathered a son, Thutmose III with his second wife Isis, who was to become his successor. Thutmose II died when Thutmose III was still a child and so Hatshepsut became regent controlling the state affairs until he became of age. However, during the seventh year of her regency, she broke with tradition and had herself crowned Pharoah of Egypt. Since she was a female, to validate her rule over Egypt, Hatshepsut claimed to be the divine daughter of Amon Ra.

Her reign was one of the most prosperous and peaceful in Egyptian history and is credited by successful trade relations, a booming economy and many public work projects which employed laborers from across the nation. When Hatshepsut's died, Thutmose III ordered her name and image chiseled from the walls of her temple. Furthermore, Akhenaten, an 18 century heretic further damaged her temples because he only allowed images of Aten, the sun god to be shown.

Nubian Dinner

After our jam packed day in the heat of Luxor, the tour group headed towards Aswan. When we reached Aswan we headed off to a much needed dinner at a Nubian village. Nubians are indigenous to present day Sudan and southern Egypt. They originated from the early inhabitants of the central Nile valley. When the Aswan High Dam was built, many of the Nubian's had to resettle due to flooding ancestral lands. Although it was interesting to experience their great culture and art inspired houses, I found many of the dishes to be bland. Nevertheless, it was great to be able to eat a home cooked meal.

Tomorrow, we head off early in the morning to explore the famous Abu Simbel Temple. Then we are off to see the High Dam and Philae Temple. Finally, in the afternoon we embark on our relaxing felucca to cruise along the Nile.


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