Valley of the Kings, Thebes Biban el-Muluk
From the Mortuary Temple of Sethos I a good road runs 3mi/5km southwest to the Valley of the Kings, above which rears a rocky peak in the shape of a pyramid. The valley takes its name from the sumptuously furnished tombs constructed here for kings of the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties. In contrast to the pyramid tombs which had previously been favored, these tombs consist of a series of passages and chambers hewn from the rock.
Opening hours: 6am-5pm
Entrance fee in EGP: Adult £40.00
Useful tips: Visitors are permitted to see only three tombs in a single visit. It is therefore advisable to bring a guide who will be able to select the best tombs.
Tomb of Ramesses VII
Tomb of Ramesses IV
No. 2, the Tomb of Ramesses IV. An ancient staircase, with a ramp in the middle, leads to the entrance.On the lintel of the door are Isis and Nephthys worshiping the sun, within which are the ram headed sun god and a scarab. On the right hand entrance wall are two figures of Copts raising their hands in prayer; according to an inscription one of them is "Apa Ammonios the martyr". The scenes and inscriptions were painted on stucco, almost all of which has fallen away. In the main chamber is the King's granite sarcophagus (10.5ft/3.2m long, 7ft/2.1m wide, 8ft/2.5m high), with inscriptions and reliefs.
Tomb of Ramesses XI
To the left of the path is No. 3, originally intended for Ramesses III, half filled with rubble. No. 4, the Tomb of Ramesses XI, last of the Ramessids, is unfinished and undecorated. Beyond this, on the left, is No. 5, with a door opening into a corridor.
Tomb of Ramesses II
Opposite No. 6, on the right of the path, is No. 7, the Tomb of Ramesses II. The tomb was plundered in antiquity, and the mummy was then removed to Deir el-Bahri. On both sides of the entrance corridor, in raised hieroglyphs, are texts from the "Praising of Re"; to the left, the King in presence of the sun god Re-Harakhty and the image of the sun with the ram headed sun god and a scarab. The scenes and inscriptions in low relief are badly damaged.
Tomb of Merneptah
No. 8, the Tomb of Merneptah. Above the entrance, Isis and Nephthys worshiping the sun, within which are the ram headed sun god and a scarab.The entrance corridors, with texts from the "Praising of Re" (on the left a very fine painted relief of the King before Re-Harakhty) and scenes from the Realm of the Dead (from the "Book of the Gates"), run fairly steeply down to an antechamber containing the granite lid of the outer coffin. From here steps lead down to a three aisled hypostyle hall with a barrel vault over the central aisle and flat roofs over the side aisles. In this chamber is the lid of the royal sarcophagus, on which is a recumbent figure of the King. The lid, which, as usual, is in the form of a royal cartouche, is beautifully carved in pink granite; the King's face is particularly fine. The rooms adjoining the hypostyle hall are of no interest, and are in any event inaccessible.
Tomb of Ramesses VI
No. 9 is the Tomb of Ramesses VI (Nebmare), named by the French expedition the Tombe de la Métempsycose and by British archeologists the Tomb of Memnon, following the Roman tradition (on the ground that Ramesses had the same praenomen as Amenophis III, who was known to the Greeks as Memnon). The tomb originally begun for Ramesses V is notable for the excellent preservation of its painted sunk reliefs (though they are inferior in style to those of the 19th Dynasty).Three corridors lead into an antechamber, beyond which is the first pillared chamber, with which Ramesses V's tomb ended. Left hand walls: the sun's journey through the Underworld according to the "Book of the Gates". Right hand wall: other scenes and texts relating to the life beyond the tomb. On three of the four pillars the King is depicted making offerings to the gods of the dead. On the ceiling are astronomical figures. Two corridors, with scenes from the sun god's journey through the Underworld according to the "Book of what is in the Underworld", lead into another antechamber, the walls of which are covered with texts and scenes from the "Book of the Dead" (on the left hand wall the 125th Chapter). Beyond this is the second pillared chamber, still containing remnants of the great granite sarcophagus. On the walls are texts relating to the Underworld; in the rear wall is a niche. On the vaulted ceiling are two figures of the sky goddess, representing the day sky and the night sky, with the hours. The tomb contains numerous Greek and Coptic graffiti.
Tomb of Amenmeses
No. 10, the Tomb of Amenmeses, one of the claimants to the throne at the end of the 19th Dynasty, with his mother Takhat and his wife Beket-werer. The inscriptions and figures on the walls have been deliberately destroyed.
The Tomb of Ramesses III is the third largest tomb in the valley. Notable are some of the reliefs which have been well preserved, and retained good color quality.
Tomb Without Inscriptions
No. 12, a tomb without inscriptions.
Tomb of Bai
No. 13, low and filled with debris, is not a royal tomb. It apparently belonged to Bai, Chief Minister to King Siptah (19th Dynasty).
Tomb of Queen Tewosert
No. 14, Tomb of Queen Tewosert (Tausert), wife of Siptah; later appropriated and enlarged by King Sethnakhte, when the Queen's names and figure were covered over with stucco.
Tomb of Sethos II
No. 15, Tomb of Sethos II, with good reliefs in the first corridor.
The Tomb of Ramesses I is noted the red granite coffin, and walls that are painted with colored scenes.
The Tomb of Sethos I contains some of the best and most well preserved reliefs in the Valley of the Kings.
Tomb of Ramesses X
No. 18, Tomb of Ramesses X (Khepermare).
Tomb of Prince Mentu-her-khopshef
No. 19, Tomb of Prince Mentu-her-khopshef (late 20th Dynasty); rear part unfinished.
Tomb of Queen Hateshepsut
No. 20, Tomb of Queen Hateshepsut, without inscriptions or reliefs. The corridors of this tomb have a total length of 233yd/213m and go down to a depth of 320ft/97m. The sarcophagi of the Queen and her father Tuthmosis I were found in the tomb chamber and are now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Tomb Without Inscriptions
No. 21, without inscriptions.
Nos 22-25 lie in the western valley of the Biban el-Muluk, which is known locally as the Gabanet el-Qurud ("Monkeys' Cemetery"). No. 22 isthe Tomb of Amenophis III. It is entered from the west, but after a short distance the corridor turns north at right angles and later turns east again. No. 23, the Turbet el-Ourud or Monkey's Tomb, occupies a very secluded situation. It belonged to King Ay, whose coffin is now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Nos 24 and 25 are uninscribed.
Tomb of Tuthmosis III
No. 34, the Tomb of Tuthmosis III, is in a narrow and steep sided gully some 275yd/250m south of the tomb of Ramesses III.A sloping corridor down to a staircase, with wide niches on the right and left, beyond which a further corridor leads to a square shaft 16-20ft/5-6m deep, probably intended to deter tomb robbers; it is now crossed by a footbridge. The roof has white stars on a blue ground.Beyond the shaft is a chamber with two pillars (undecorated). The ceiling is covered with stars. On the walls are lists of 741 different deities and demons. At the left hand end of the rear wall a staircase leads down to the tomb chamber, which has the oval shape of a royal cartouche. The ceiling, with yellow stars on a blue ground, is supported on two square pillars. The walls are covered with excellently preserved scenes and texts from the "Book of what is in the Underworld". Those on the pillars are of particular interest. On one side of the first pillar is a long religious text; on the second side are Tuthmosis III and his mother Eset in a boat (top), the King suckled by his mother in the form of a tree (below), and the King followed by his wives Merit-re, Sat-yoh and Nebt-khru and Princess Nefreterew; and on the third side are demons. On the front of the second pillar is a long text, with demons above it; and on the other sides are further figures of demons.The sarcophagus is of red sandstone, with painted scenes and inscriptions. It was empty when the tomb was opened, but the mummy was found at Deir el Bahri. The grave goods from the four small side chambers are now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Tomb of Amenophis II
No. 35, the Tomb of Amenophis II, is some 165yd/150m west of the tomb of Ramesses III.From the entrance steep flights of steps and sloping corridors descend to a shaft (now bridged over), at the foot of which is a small room, and beyond this the first chamber (undecorated) with two pillars. At the left hand end of the rear wall is a flight of steps leading down to a sloping corridor, at the end of which is the second chamber, with six pillars. To the rear of this chamber, on a lower level, is a crypt. On the pillars the King is depicted in the presence of the gods of the dead; on the walls are finely executed scenes and texts from the "Book of what is in the Underworld", on a yellow ground imitating papyrus. In the crypt is the King's sandstone sarcophagus, in which the mummy of Amenophis II was found intact, with a bunch of flowers and garlands. On each side are two chambers, in which many mummies, no doubt brought here to be safe from tomb robbers, were found, including those of Tuthmosis IV and Amenophis III (18th Dynasty) and Siptah and Sethos II (19th Dynasty).
Tomb of Mei-her-peri
No. 36, the Tomb of Mei-her-peri, a Fan bearer.
Tomb Without Inscriptions
No. 37, without inscriptions.
Tomb of Tuthmosis I
No. 38, the Tomb of Tuthmosis I, the oldest royal tomb in the valley of the Kings, in the steep slope at the head of the valley, between Tombs 15 and 14.A steep flight of steps descends to an antechamber, from which another flight leads down to the roughly hewn tomb chamber, the roof of which was originally supported on a column. The painted stucco which covered the walls has disappeared. The handsome sarcophagus of red sandstone has figures of Isis (at foot), Nephthys (at head), various gods of the dead (on sides) and the sky goddess Nut (interior). Adjoining is a small side chamber.
Tomb of Tuthmosis IV
No. 43, the Tomb of Tuthmosis IV, unfinished. In two of the rooms the King is depicted in the presence of various gods.
Tomb of King Siptah
No. 47, the Tomb of King Siptah (19th Dynasty), which has some good scenes (the King before Re-Harakhty; the sun between two hills; the body of Osiris, attended by Isis, Nephthys and Anubis). The royal sarcophagus is still in the tomb.
Tomb of Horemheb
No. 57, the Tomb of Horemheb, with some excellent paintings. The tomb chamber still contains the sarcophagus.
The Tomb of Tutankhamun is one of the most popular attractions in the Valley of the Kings. A majority of the rich treasure found at the tomb is now located at the Egyptian Museum, but the sarcophagus remains.
If time permits it is well worth while to return to the plain by the hill path which runs direct from the Valley of the Kings to Deir el-Bahri. The walk, strenuous but not difficult (stout footwear needed), takes about 45minutes. It affords magnificent views at first down into the desolate Valley of the Kings and then, from the crest of the ridge and on the way down, into the curiously shaped amphitheater in which Deir el-Bahri lies, enclosed within steeply scarped hills, and over the fertile green plain on both sides of the Nile, with its palms and massive temple ruins, to the buildings of Karnak and Luxor on the east bank of the river.
More Valley of the Kings Pictures