The Valley of the Kings, as the name clearly suggests, is home of the tombs of ancient Egyptian pharaohs from the New Kingdom dynasties, from the 16th-11th centuries B.C. Scattered on the Nile’s west bank near Luxor, Valley of the Kings happens to be the most famed collection of such elaborate tombs. Not only pharaohs, but the tombs of high priests, and other elites of the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties have also been discovered here.
The ancient Egyptians believed in life after death. The king was revered as God, which is why his tomb was armed with his possessions and requirements, constructed to last forever, thus ensuring the continuing prosperity of the king in his afterlife. Most of the tombs were cut into the limestone following a similar pattern: three corridors, an antechamber and a sunken sarcophagus chamber. Construction of a tomb usually lasted six years.
The tombs in Valley Of The Kings have been numbered in a chronological order, following the letters KV which stand for Valley of the Kings. There are two valleys, the east and west. The West Valley tombs are numbered following the abbreviation WV. These numbers reflects the order of discovery.
The tombs were buried here from approximately 1539 BC to 1075 BC, starting with Thutmose I and ending with Ramesses X or XI. The tombs of Tutankhamun, Seti I, and Ramses II are some of the other pharaohs which are buried here. The entire valley is divided into three phases, which are:
Phase One Tombs
Located at the far end of the Valley, it houses the tomb of Thutmose III. The decoration of the tomb is simple and unique.
Phase Two Tombs
• Tomb of Horemheb who was the last king of the 18th dynasty
• Tomb of Merneptah, who was the son of Ramesses II
Phase Three Tombs
Tomb of Ramesses VI, which is a must visit as it has the best preserved decorative schemes.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the highlight of Valley of the Kings is Tutanhamen’s tomb, KV 62 as per the serial number. Discovered by Howard Carter and George Herbert in 1922, he happens to be the world’s best known pharaoh, because his tomb is among the best preserved.
During summers, the timings of Valley of the Kings are 6am to 5pm. The winter timings are 6am to 4pm. The entry ticket costs to visit LE 100/50 for three tombs of your choice. Additional tickets are required to view more tombs. Separate tickets are also required for Tutankhamun and Rameses VI.
How To Reach
As far as accessing Valley of the Kings is concerned, visitors ought to note that it lies on the Nile’s west bank near Luxor. So the best option for tourists is to take a flight which lands them at the Luxor International Airport. Once in Luxor, the adventurous visitors can explore the West Bank on foot. Else, one should hire a private vehicle for the day. Ensure that you bargain with the driver regarding the prices.
• No food and water are available in Valley of the Kings.
• Mini-trams are available to carry visitors from entrance to the checkpoint.
• A separate ticket needs to be purchased for the tram ride.
• Carry sunscreen and wear sport shoes when you plan a trip to Valley of the Kings.
• It is wise to visit at least one tomb from each of the three main building phases.
Valley of the Kings is representative of the Egyptian belief that “To speak the name of the dead is to make him live again”. A trip to the valley is definitely worth it.