Synopsis : Countries such as Egypt that have offered their very rich heritage to the world to see and admire are few and are under constant pressure to safeguard and preserve what they have found so far. They are still finding new sites and hidden treasures all over Egypt that need to be brought out for safe keeping in museums. Egyptians are understandably very proud of their ancient heritage that is so unique.
The Egyptians are understandably very proud of their ancient civilization that has left its mark in the world history. No country can rival what the ancient Egyptians left as their legacy that is unique and has no equal anywhere. You will see the temples or their ruins, the vast underground crypts of their rulers in the Valley of the Kings and Queens in Luxor, the vast complex of the Karnak temple and the Luxor temples. gigantic statues of Ramses and his wife Nefetari in Aswan, the incredible pyramids in Giza, the step pyramid of Djoser, the temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor and others too numerous to mention.
What you will see in Egypt is perhaps a glimpse of their vast antiquities spread all over the country along the Nile because to see everything will require more than a few days or weeks. The Giza plateau where the Pyramids stand is criss crossed by shafts that go vertically down to underground chambers in all directions filled with statues, mortuaries and numerous objects of historic importance but most of them are closed to the public.
When you visit the Valley of the Kings and Queens in Luxor where most of the royalty of Egypt is buried in deep underground crypts, you will be able to visit just a few of them out of 65 or more crypts because some of them are closed to public and others will require you to buy more tickets to visit them. The Valley gets extremely hot during the summer months so you will get easily tired and dehydrated unless you are prepared for it.
There is a replica of the valley in acrylic in 3D in the main entrance hall where you will get your tickets that most accurately displays the entire valley and the deep descending tunnels that lead you to the site of the burial chamber or chambers. Some new ones are being discovered using the ground penetrating radar and other sophisticated technology but it may be years before the public is allowed to see them..
They have not yet discovered the crypt of Nefertiti who was the step mother of King Tutan Khamun but some have found the tell tale signs of a hidden door in the crypt of the king that may lead to her tomb. Most of the mummies of the Royalty have been moved to the National museum in Cairo along with the treasures found in some of the crypts so you will only see the empty sarcophagi in most of the sites. Only the mummy of Tutan Khamun is still visible in his crypt covered with a white sheet outside his sarcophagus. You will need to buy a separate ticket to visit the crypt of Tutan Khamun although it is not as spectacular as the others.
It would have been nice to have just one ticket to visit all the sites in the Valley of the Kings and pay the price than to have numerous separate tickets so the visitors should have the option but that is not the case. They try to get as much money from you as possible but a piped in history through head phones in each site could be easily offered to those who will pay the price and listen in their own language.
The guards tell you not to talk in the tunnels and crypts and not to take flash photos that can damage the bright paintings on the wall so that is quite understandable. Also video making is prohibited probably for commercial reasons but I have found several videos in the U tube that are very well done to show you the beauty of the ancient art on the walls while you enter and descend the ramp to reach the bottom that is deep underground. Again it would have been better to have a narration to describe what you see and the meaning of the Hieroglyphs that only a few experts can decipher. So you are limited to the description in Foddor’s guide book that you can buy somewhere.
The sarcophagi in most sites and the chambers containing the treasures have long been looted by the thieves over the centuries who have damaged and even broken the stone sarcophagi in order to find the loot so that is quite disappointing . Only the crypt of Tutan Khamun was found intact by Howard Carter where he found the extraordinary treasure trove that the whole world has seen and is under the safe keeping of the Cairo Museum.
A vast new museum is under construction in the outskirts of Cairo to house the innumerable artifacts , mummies and jewelries that the Cairo museum has no space for so it will be open to the future visitors in a few years. They are finding new treasures, mummies and artifacts almost every month somewhere in Egypt because numerous teams of archaeologists are working to unearth what lay buried under the sand and rubble. One woman from the Dominican Republic is still looking for the crypt of Cleopatra and Mark Antony somewhere near Alexandria and has found some coins and statues of Cleopatra there that indicates a crypt still hidden.
The famous temple of Abu Simbel in Aswan was relocated piece by piece to a higher ground due to the rising water of the Aswan dam. The original site is now deep under water.
When you visit Egypt, one name pops up most frequently everywhere is that of Ramses. I have noted at least 7 generations of Ramses and their queens so it goes by Ramses I,II,III,IV,V,VI,VII of which Ramses II is probably most known as well as his wife Nefertari. The chronology of all the rulers of Egypt is very long so it is not worth repeating them here.
The story of Ramses the 2nd is well known in the Old Testament of the Bible where it is mentioned that he grew up with Moses who was found floating in a reed basket in the river where the queen was bathing so she brought the child home and raised him as her own. She knew that Moses was a Jewish child but hid this fact from everyone. Later Moses realized who he was and what he was expected to do to save his people so he took all the Jews out of Egypt to Palestine but not without a fight with Ramses.
It is mentioned in the Bible that the Egyptians forced all the Jews to build the pyramids because they were slaves but this is now proven to be wrong. The pyramids were built by the Egyptian farmers and laborers when the Nile was flooding and they could not do any farming. They were not slaves and they were paid to build the pyramids. They cut all the stones from the quarries in distant places and floated them up the river to the pyramid sites in Giza and elsewhere.
The exact role of the Jews in the pyramid building is still unknown and open to guesswork but there is no doubt that Moses was their leader who helped them escape Egypt and brought them over to the Palestine.
When you look at the well preserved mummy of Ramses II in the Cairo museum, you will see the King who as a child played with Moses and later became his enemy when Moses wanted to leave and bring out all the Jews to Palestine. There is no trace of Moses anywhere except what you read in the old testament but Ramses II is still here or what remains of him. Egyptians were master of the craft of preserving bodies that they hid in massive stone sarcophagi deep underground where they were preserved. The thieves had no respect for their royalties so they broke some crypts and looted what they could which must have been plenty.
I will now present to you many videos that show the splendor of the burial chambers of many Kings and Queens that have survived thousands of years of obscurity because they were buried so that no one will ever find them but they underestimated the very determined thieves.
The wall paintings in the tunnels leading to the crypts are very well preserved as you will see in the videos because the grave looters were not interested in the paintings and Hieroglyphs on the walls so did not deface them or damage them. What is causing damage to them now is the heavy influx of camera toting tourists who take photos with flash even if told not to do so. The exposure to the outer air is also causing some damage to the brightness of the paintings but the Egyptian authorities are trying their best to preserve them.
The temples, monuments and statuaries in the open have not survived the ravages of time well so you will find them in ruins in which some traces of bright paintings are still visible on the stone columns and the ceilings. The Egyptian history is found all along the Nile where the Pharaohs built their palaces, temples , cities etc. and desired to be buried in the valleys to become immortals. The fact that the Black pharaohs of Kush down south in Sudan also ruled the entire Egypt at one time and left their pyramids and numerous temple ruins is a lesser known part of the history so read my blog on it here called The glory of Meroe
Also read my previous blog called Egypt’s lost queens that you will find very interesting that has relevance to this blog.
I will start the photos and videos here with the photo of Ramses II and his queen Nefertari in the temple of Abu Simbel in Aswan that was saved and relocated to higher ground with the aid of UNESCO. It is a world heritage site as most other sites in Egypt are.
Source : Google photo of Ramses the II and his queen Nefertari in Abu Simbel, Aswan
Source : Google photo of the temple at Abu Simbel where the Sun aligns itself to interior of the temple at a particular time.
Here are the three most famous queens of ancient Egypt
Source : Google photo of a painting of Queen Nefertari
Source : Google photo of Queen Hatshepsut who ruled as Pharaoh
Source : Google photo of Queen Nefertiti
Source : Google photo of the tomb of Nefertari
Note : The following 12 videos will show you in great detail the burial sites, crypts and the sarcophagi of great Pharaohs and Queens of ancient Egypt in the Valley of the Kings and Queens in Luxor. They are sourced from U tube.
- Ramses I burial site in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor
2. Ramses the II tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor
3. Ramses the III in the valley of the Kings in Luxor
4. Ramses the IV tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor
5. The tomb of Ramses V and VI in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor
6.The tomb of Ramses the VII in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor
7. Ramses IX tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor
8.Tutan Khamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor
9. Seti I tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor
10. Seti II tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor
11. Queen Nefertari tomb in the Valley of the Queens in Luxor
12.Valley of the Queens in Luxor and some notable tombs
People in Egypt say that the best time to visit the Valley of the Kings, Queens and other prominent sites in Luxor , Aswan or Dendera etc. is the cooler winter months starting November. The summer heat is too much unless you are used to it. Hats. sunglasses and water bottles are a must. Egypt has so much to offer that it is impossible to see them all just in one visit . Learn as much as you can before you visit Egypt . You will be surprised at the beauty of the ancient civilization they are so proud of.
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