The Valley of the Kings

As great as it was to see the sights from on high, there is nothing like getting up close and personal also, so did a tour of the West Bank also. I thought this was exceptionally good value – for NZ$100 I got a car all to myself, a driver, a guide and entry to the major attractions.

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First we had a look at the Colossi of Memnon. They also date back to around 1350 BC, even though the Romans upgraded the top of the right hand one later on.

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That track up there is where you go if you take the Donkey option to get over to the Valley of the Kings. I’m not kidding – you see packs of tourists on donkeys heading up that hill.

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This is the reconstructed temple of Queen Hatshepsut. Up top parts of the original walls and artwork remain. Hatshepsut is viewed by historians as one of the most successful female Pharaohs. She ruled around 1500 BC.

Her step son, who was nominal co-ruler with her when alive, seemed to resent her as during his reign many pictures of her were literally scratched out – you can see the vandalism still today.

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This is artwork on the original walls of the temple. You know you can see numerous pictures of this stuff, but there is nothing like seeing it in real life – knowing it is 3,500 years old. Amazingly well preserved.

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This is Anubis – God of the Dead. All Stargate fans will know him 

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This shows boats on the Nile. They also show many different fish and goods.

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Again the quality of the artwork is superb. What a civilization it must have been back then.

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And this is the house of Howard Carter – the finder of King Tut’s Tomb.

After this temple, we went to the Valley of the Kings proper. Now earlier this year they banned cameras which is a shame, so this image is from Wikipedia.

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There were 62 tombs in the Valley of the Kings but in 2006 they discovered a 63rd. Don’t think archaeology is last century – there is still so much to find.

It has been a tourism site since Roman times. Sadly even by then, most of the tombs had been looted.

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I went down KV57, the tomb of Horemheb. It is a relatively deep tomb – you descend a considerable way underground. This is what you see down there. Image from Theban Mapping Project.

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Also went into tombs of Ramesses IV. This tomb was very shallow but very colourful.

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This is from the tomb of Rameses III. You get to do three tombs in total. You have to pay extra to see KV62 or King Tut’s tomb and I decided to skip it as I have heard the tomb itself is nothing special – what was special was the contest which are now if the Egyptian Museum in Cairo – I hope to visit them on Monday.

The combination of this, plus the balloon ride has made this a great day. Now about to head north tonight.

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