The Valley of the Kings brings forth visions of Ancient Egypt and King Tut, and well it should. This area of Egypt on the west side of the Nile River and opposite the city of Luxor – known as Thebes in ancient times – was the burial ground for Egyptian Pharaohs, and it is one of the most visited attractions in the country today. It is the resting site of King Tutankhamen among other well known names in ancient Egyptian history, and it is believed to still hold many secrets yet to be uncovered. As a matter of fact, it was thought that the Valley of Kings was actually tapped of all its secrets up until a few years ago when another tomb was stumbled upon during the clean up of the area.
The Valley of the Kings contains sixty-three known tombs with the most recent discovery mentioned above coming in 2008. The majority of the tombs contain beautifully decorated passageways that were believed to have been a guide to the afterlife for the Pharaoh that was entombed inside. The pictures showed the Egyptian gods that the Pharaoh would meet on the way as well as the many trials and tests he would have to overcome to reach immortality. Some of the most beautiful handcrafted artwork of the ancient world can be found in the Valley of the Kings, and because of the dry, arid climate the artwork has been preserved for millennia.
Burying the Pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings came about 1570 to 1070 BC after the pyramids were found to have been plundered by grave robbers. The tombs were cut out of the solid rock located in this area and many of the tombs were started decades before the Pharaoh was ever expected to die. When the Pharaohs were buried, they were buried with a variety of objects that they used in their life to be used in their afterlife. Anyone who has seen the riches from King Tut’s tomb knows what we mean. Sadly, Tut’s tomb was one of the most complete tombs ever found, as most of the others were – not surprisingly – plundered by grave robbers.
Close to the Valley of the Kings is the Valley of Queens where many of the 18th through 20th dynasty wives of the Pharaohs, their children, important advisors and members of the court were buried.