Valley of the Kings

Topics Covered:

  • Directions to Valley of the Kings
  • The ancient history of the Valley
  • Dier el-Madina
  • Tips and notes
The best Egypt packages include the Valley of the kings which lies on the West Bank of the River Nile opposite Luxor City, is the site of the world-renowned ‘Valley of the Kings’ which still is the most well-known site for excavations of antiquities and ancient remains. 
Across this expansive area are many fascinating structures, tombs, and Temples including the burial chamber of the boy King Tutankhamun, Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple and the two Colossi of Memnon to name just a few. 


A one hour flight from Cairo, 3 hours by road from the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, and 3 hours by road from Aswan, Luxor is easily accessible by many transport links including trains between Cairo and Aswan. 
Valley of the Kings


For about five hundred years, during the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BC.), most of Egypt's Pharaohs were buried at Thebes in rock-cut tombs in the valley of the Kings. Of the 32 rulers of dynasties 18, 19 and 20, at least 26 were interred there. There are 62 numbered tombs in Valley of the Kings, 21 of them numbered in geographical order by John Gardener Wilkinson in 1827, the remainder numbered in order of discovery since then. Besides, there are about two dozen "commencements", tomb shafts that were begun but almost immediately abandoned for unknown reasons. The non-royal tombs in Valley of the Kings belonged to various officials, royal family members, and pries
Early in the New Kingdom, during the 18th dynasty, preference was often given to sites at the base of the sheer cliffs that surround the Valley of the Kings, ideally below gullies through which, in the rare event of rain, a "waterfall" would pour over the cliff and deposit debris over a tomb's entrance, burying it ever deeper over the centuries. In the late 18th and 19th dynasties, the preferred location was in lower-lying talus slopes; in the 20th dynasty, it was one of the small spurs of bedrock that extended from the valley's sides.
Valley of the Kings


Dier el-Madina

We know a great deal about how Valley of the King's tombs was cut and decorated in part because of thousands of objects and inscriptions found in the village of Dier el-Madina. Dier el-Madina lies about a kilometer (mile) south of Valley of the Kings and during the New Kingdom it served as the home and burial place of the artisans who carved and decorated the tombs of the Valley of the Kings. The remains of about 70 houses can be seen en the village proper, and during the New Kingdom, about 400 people lived here in small stone dwellings built along a narrow street. Many different specialists lived at Dier el- Madina: quarrymen, plasterers, scribes, sculptors, architects, draftsmen- all the skills needed for the preparations of the royal tombs. They were paid for their labor in kind: bread, beer, dried, fish onion, and other vegetables. The men worked eight hours a day for eight days, then took two-day week-end.
Valley of the Kings

Note*  Tickets are sold per three tombs, with a separate ticket for the tombs of Ay and Tutankhamun, from the ticket office at the entrance to the Valley of the Kings. Also here is the Visitor Centre where you can see a film about the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun.

Tomb openings are rotated to protect the paint from human damage.
To avoid the crowds head for the tombs farther away from the entrance. 

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Valley of the Kings
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