The Valley of the Kings Definition, Tombs & Facts
The Valley of the Kings, located on the west bank of the Nile River near the ancient city of Thebes, is a legendary archaeological site that holds the tombs of many pharaohs from the New Kingdom period of ancient Egypt. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into fascinating facts about the Valley of the Kings, explore its rich history, uncover its map, discover its awe-inspiring attractions, and learn about the captivating tours available for visitors to immerse themselves in the wonders of this extraordinary burial ground. Join us on a journey back in time as we uncover the mysteries of the Valley of the Kings.
Valley of the Kings Facts
Let's begin by exploring some intriguing facts about the Valley of the Kings:
- Significance: The Valley of the Kings served as the burial site for pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom period, approximately from the 16th to the 11th century BCE.
- Number of Tombs: The valley is home to over 60 royal tombs and chambers, including those of famous pharaohs like Tutankhamun, Ramses II, and Seti I.
- Hidden Location: The choice of the valley's location was deliberate, as the ancient Egyptians believed it provided natural protection for the sacred tombs.
- Artistic Treasures: The walls of the tombs are adorned with intricate hieroglyphics and vivid scenes from ancient Egyptian mythology, providing valuable insights into their beliefs and customs.
- Discovery: The Valley of the Kings was first rediscovered by modern explorers in the early 19th century. The most famous discovery was that of the tomb of Tutankhamun by Howard Carter in 1922.
Valley of the Kings History
The Valley of the Kings holds a significant place in ancient Egyptian history. Here are key highlights:
Construction Purpose: The pharaohs of the New Kingdom period sought to create elaborate tombs in the valley to ensure their safe journey into the afterlife. The tombs were carefully designed and decorated to provide the deceased pharaohs with everything they would need in the next world.
Symbolism and Beliefs: Ancient Egyptians believed in the concept of the afterlife and the preservation of the pharaoh's body as a vessel for their soul. The elaborate rituals and burial practices in the Valley of the Kings reflect their deep-rooted beliefs in the afterlife and the divine power of the pharaohs.
Plundering and Preservation: Over the centuries, the tombs in the Valley of the Kings were subjected to looting and damage. However, due to the hidden location and the protective measures taken by the ancient Egyptians, many tombs remained relatively intact, preserving invaluable artifacts and insights into ancient Egyptian culture.
Valley of the Kings Map
The Valley of the Kings is located on the west bank of the Nile River, opposite modern-day Luxor. It is situated in the heart of the Theban Necropolis, surrounded by breathtaking desert landscapes. The valley spans approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) and is divided into two main branches, the East Valley and the West Valley.
The East Valley is the most famous and accessible part of the valley, housing many of the well-known royal tombs and attractions. The West Valley, on the other hand, is less explored and contains fewer tombs.
Valley of the Kings Attractions
The Valley of the Kings offers a wealth of attractions that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the grandeur of ancient Egypt. Here are some of the must-visit attractions in the valley:
1. Tomb of Tutankhamun: Undoubtedly the most famous tomb in the Valley of the Kings, the tomb of Tutankhamun, also known as KV62, was discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter. The tomb's intricate treasures, including the iconic golden mask of Tutankhamun, provide a glimpse into the opulence and craftsmanship of ancient Egyptian art.
2. Tomb of Ramses II (KV7): The tomb of Ramses II, one of ancient Egypt's most powerful pharaohs, is a grand complex with multiple chambers adorned with colorful reliefs and hieroglyphics. Exploring the tomb offers insights into the reign and achievements of this revered ruler.
3. Tomb of Seti I (KV17): The tomb of Seti I is renowned for its exquisite decorations and intricate wall carvings. Visitors can marvel at the stunning depictions of gods, pharaohs, and scenes from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
4. Tomb of Hatshepsut (KV20): Hatshepsut, one of ancient Egypt's few female pharaohs, has her final resting place in the Valley of the Kings. The tomb showcases her extraordinary reign and features intricate reliefs depicting her divine birth and remarkable achievements.
5. The Ramesseum: Although not located within the valley itself, the nearby Ramesseum is a colossal mortuary temple built by Ramses II. This magnificent structure houses an impressive statue of Ramses II and offers a glimpse into the architectural prowess of ancient Egypt.
Valley of the Kings Tours
To make the most of your visit to the Valley of the Kings, consider joining one of the following tours:
1. Guided Tomb Tours: Explore the valley's tombs with the guidance of an expert Egyptologist who can provide in-depth insights into the history, art, and symbolism of each tomb. Learn about the pharaohs and their legacies as you unravel the mysteries hidden within the ancient burial chambers.
2. Balloon Rides: Experience a bird's-eye view of the Valley of the Kings and the surrounding ancient sites by taking a hot air balloon ride. Drift gently above the valley and witness the stunning landscapes as the rising sun casts its golden hues over the Nile River and the desert.
3. Luxor West Bank Tour: Combine your visit to the Valley of the Kings with a comprehensive tour of Luxor's West Bank. Visit other nearby attractions such as the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut, the Colossi of Memnon, and the Medinet Habu temple, and gain a deeper understanding of the ancient Egyptian civilization.
The Valley of the Kings stands as a testament to the grandeur and ingenuity of ancient Egyptian civilization. Its rich history, awe-inspiring tombs, and captivating attractions continue to fascinate visitors from around the world. Explore this sacred burial ground, unlock the secrets of the pharaohs, and embark on a journey of discovery in the heart of ancient Egypt.