Saturday, March 17, 2018

Valley Of The Kings

The Valley of the Kings 

Strangely, one of my favourite stops on the Nile Cruise was a bleak hot desert valley. There is no town there, no magnificent temples or cathedrals, and not even any water, but it was fascinating. This was the Valley Of The Kings.

For years, the Egyptian Kings tried to outdo each other by building bigger and more elaborate Pyramids for their burial sites. Finally one wise advisor suggested this might not be the best idea. It was Ok to design elaborate tunnel systems into these pyramids, to outwit grave robbers, but really, it is hard to hide a giant pyramid, and once you are dead and buried the next King is more concerned with deciding how his eternal resting place is going to outshine yours. This advisor suggested he had found an ideal spot for a burial site. It was unknown and far away from known cities. He suggested digging elaborate tombs carved into the mountain and then simply cover it over to keep the location hidden. In the middle of nowhere the tomb would be safe. To make it more secure, he designed an entire city of just the workers who had no contact with the outside world and their entire world would be serving the king to dig his tomb.
Going Down Under the Mountain

It didn't quite work out that way, because there are over 63 known tombs in the Valley of the Kings, so obviously it did not stay hidden, and indeed most of these tombs were discovered and robbed, but the famous discovery of King Tut's “Untouched” tomb, was here in the Valley.

The Valley Of The Kings remains however, nothing but a winding desert valley between mountains. There is nothing there but the tombs. Today they are uncovered and marked, but you can imagine how this would have appeared to be nothing but a desolate desert valley to anyone coming across it. There are no elaborate temples or monuments to the Kings, just a quiet place of eternal rest.

Visiting The Valley Of The Kings, you can descend into seven of the tombs, and they really are impressive inside. A simple unadorned entrance leads down carved and elaborately decorated shafts leading to rooms under the mountain. Often there are false passages, blocked tunnels, and side tunnels, all leading to a deep final burial chamber for the Kings. It is interesting to watch the walls as you descend. Often they start out with wonderful carved and painted walls, but the deeper you go the plainer they get. In many cases the kings plans and elaborate designs outlived him, and many of the tombs were not finished when he died. King Tutt's for example is a very simple unadorned and relatively shallow tomb, because he died a young man and there was not time to excavate an elaborate deep tomb.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool! Thanks for the pics and the post! Love these!!