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Overview Valley of the Kings

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Valley of the Kings - Overview



Things to be Aware of in the Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings is a very worthwhile tourist destination. There are several things to be aware of, however, which will make your journey much more pleasant.

First: Bring your own water, as the valley is hot and dusty, and the bottled water inside the compound is much too expensive!

Second: Wear a hat to help block the sun. You won't constantly have to remove your sunglasses each time you enter the tomb, but you will still be protected. It's much easier to enjoy yourself if you don't have to worry about sunstroke!

Third: Bring a small headlamp or torch of your own. Most of the tombs will have a 'guard' stationed in the inner chambers who will offer to shine his flashlight on various important hieroglyphs and into the sarcophagi for you, but this will inevitably cost you baksheesh. If you have your own torch, you can avoid this unnecessary expense.

Fourth: While you are technically not allowed to take pictures inside the tombs, most of the 'guards' in the inner rooms will, for a small fee, allow you to take pictures as long as no one else is in the chamber. Every traveler must decide the ethics of this question for herself, but I found that the preservation of this magnificent work on the walls was much more important to me than my own photographic memories. If you choose not to take pictures, as I did, there are plenty of postcards you can purchase on the way out of the compound which depict the inner rooms of various tombs. [more ]

Tomb of Ramses I

This tomb is centrally located and is the easiest tomb to access. The descent is very short and wide, and not at all steep, and perhaps for this reason it is very popular. The tomb itself is historically significant because, of course, it belonged to the founder of a great dynasty. The decoration and the layout of the tomb is simple, however, perhaps because Ramses' reign was so short. There are some historically significant hieroglyphs, and the huge pink granite sarcophagus is very impressive. Otherwise, however, this was the least impressive tomb of the three we visited in the valley. [more ]

Tomb of Mernepthah

The tomb of Mernepthah in the Valley of the Kings is slightly off to one side, and perhaps for this reason it's not as crowded as some of the other central tombs. There are several chambers in this tomb, and it is notable for the clarity and beauty of its wall carving and hieroglyphs. I was especially impressed by the ceiling in the last corridor, which is blue and covered with gold stars. The descent to the burial chamber proper is long, but there is a lot to see along the way. We unfortunately had very little knowledge of the significance of the hieroglyphs and were only able to admire the technical skill and the colours, but we passed many students on the way down who were intent on studying the hieroglyphs and taking copious notes. As far as decoration goes, this was definitely our favourite tomb in the valley. [more ]

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