Valley of the Kings in Egypt..a microcosm of the other world, The historic “Valley of the Kings” in Egypt attracts millions of tourists amid curiosity to discover the archaeological landmark that reveals part of the ancient Egyptians’ view of tombs and what they believed to be “eternity” after leaving life.
Valley of the Kings in Egypt..a microcosm of the “other world”
The Valley of the Kings is a narrow, closed valley located on the western bank of the Nile, behind the rocks of Mount Thebes (Luxor). It is a shallow groove surrounded by heights that resembles a large, irregularly shaped crater in the middle of the heights of the plateau’s western edge as seen from the east Karnak temples, which are about three kilometres away,
The road that leads to the Valley of the Kings from Luxor, after crossing the Nile, is a long road that crosses the plain, passing through the Temple of Seti I in the village of al-Qurna, then bends to the west on a rocky road with many bends that cuts through the hills. The length of this road is about 5 kilometres.
Why did the Pharaohs choose this valley?
The location of this royal burial cemetery was carefully chosen. Its position, notably on the west bank of the Nile, is also notable. Because the sun god set (dead) on the western horizon in order to be reborn, renewed, on the eastern horizon, the west became associated with burial practices. For this reason, ancient Egyptian graves were mainly located on the Nile’s west bank.
The powerful kings of the New Kingdom were laid to rest beneath the shadow of a pyramid-shaped peak rising out of the cliffs surrounding the valley. The pyramid represented renewal and, consequently, endless life, and the existence of a natural pyramid was seen as a heavenly omen. This entire area, as well as the peak itself, was devoted to Hathor’s funeral aspect, the “Mistress of the West.”
The story of choosing this valley as a place for the burial of kings deserves to be told. Thutmose I (1540–1501 BC), the third pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty, wanted to choose his grave in a secluded valley behind good rocks in order to preserve his body and protect him from the hands of thieves, so he entrusted the engineer Anini to choose this place for him.
Anini did not fail to refer to this task, which was assigned to him by his king, in the texts he wrote on his tomb, as he said: I alone supervised the selection of the rock tomb of His Majesty Thutmose I, without anyone seeing me or hearing me.
Here are some of the kings buried in the Valley of the Kings:
Tomb of Ramses VII: The Tomb of Ramses VII is a tiny, incomplete tomb. It‘s substantially smaller than many other tombs, having only two rooms and a passageway, due to the pharaoh’s unexpected death.
- Ramesses IV :Due to the limited time available, the planned layout was allegedly cut short. His tomb walls are decorated with fragments from the Book of the Caves and the Dead, and the burial chamber features a mixture of modern and ancient works. The walls of the tomb include fragments of the Amatat, the Book of Gates, the Book of Heaven, and the Clan Lists.
The outside of the tomb is decorated with artwork representing the king’s coronation as well as images of Isis and Nephith venerating the sun disk. Inside, the ceilings are decorated with representations of eagles, hawks, and winged scarabs with outstretched wings.
- Ramses VI’s Tomb :The painted sunk reliefs in this tomb, which was originally built for Ramses V, have been well preserved.
Three passages lead into an antechamber, which leads to the first pillared chamber of Ramses V’s tomb. On the tomb’s walls, images depicting the sun’s trip through the Underworld according to the Book of the Gates and texts connected to the Underworld can be seen, while on the vaulted ceiling, two figures of the sky goddess, symbolizing the day sky and the night sky, with the hours, can be found. The tomb is covered in Greek and Coptic graffiti.
- Merneptah’s Tomb :The entry hallways, which feature texts from the Praising of Re (on the left, a very excellent painted relief of the monarch before Re-Harakhty) and scenes from the Realm of the Dead (from the Book of the Gates), descend quite steeply to an antechamber carrying the outer coffin’s granite lid.
In the Valley of the Kings, there are also the tombs of RAMSES IX, TOMB OF RAMSES, TOMB OF MERNEPTAH, and TOMB OF RAMSES VI.
Also read :The wonder of Kom Ombo temple