Docked overnight in Luxor, our full day of discovery started early with a short ferry ride across to the West Bank and by bus to the tombs. Classified as an active archeological site, the valley is home to 65 discovered tombs to date. Many more lie buried awaiting modern-day treasure hunters’unearthing.
Any visit to the valley of the kings permits guests to select three visits among the available open tombs. A must see is famous Tutankhamen (see first photo) followed by SETI I which is a deep and steep climb in a narrow tunnel but totally worth it.
Our West Bank visit continued with a stop at the artisan village where for millennia workers carved on limestone, Alabaster, and granite. This visit is not only educational it also provided some quality retail therapy for our group. Greg was invited to demonstrate the alabaster carving in the below video.
Afterwards, our visit to tge burial sites continued with the tomb of queen hatshepsut whom ruled with an iron fist. For her first three years of rule, she was depicted as a woman and then transformed into a man for the remainder of her reign. This change in artistic license was used by her to express her power over the land.
Part three of our visit was to the worker village of Deir El-Medina founded in 1446 BC. These workers dug, plastered, decorated and built the burial tombs of hundreds of rulers and queens. Their skill and expertise rarely exist anymore in today’s Egypt, yet they were the envy of the ancient world.
Crowning jewel among the spectacular tombs is that of Nefertari. Favorite wife of Ramses II, she got her very own burial complex in the valley of the queens. Only discovered and opened to a limited public in the late 90s, this site is mind blowingly beautiful. Few visitors get to see this as the cost for limited tickets is high and only the well-connected like A&K can secure them. Thank you Mohamed Singer at A&K for making this work for us.
Our adventures ended with a quick stop at the colossi of Memnon which guarded the west side of the Nile for millennia. Only parts of them remain today as local villagers used the stones for their own purposes.