Three Days in Luxor Egypt
Valley of the Kings – at least 2 days
Valley of the Queens – half day
West Valley - Tomb of Ay/Aly
Habu Temple is a treat; Luxor and Karnak are good visits.
One trip to the Valley of the Kings was not enough! Use the National Ferry to Cross the river. A fair price for a taxi for the day is 200 Egyptian Pounds.
The Valley of the Kings was stark. No plants grow anywhere; it was just tan dirt and rock. We bought Seti I and Ramses VI, and a general admission ticket for three tombs. I purchased a photography ticket. We entered the Seti Tomb first. Seti was the 13th son of Ramses. Detailed carvings and colorful paint covered the walls. The ceiling is painted in bright colors of stars and gods and depictions of creatures. The tomb descended 184 meters. Each room held our attention. Glass covered most of the carvings in the tomb. The paint was vibrant. The 1000 E£ ($55 USD) was expensive but worth the visit. I loved the winged gods over the doorways and the many boats for the ‘crossing over’. The last room reveled drawings covering the walls in preparation for the carvers and painters. It was unfinished.
Ramses VI was the next tomb of the day. This required an extra ticket, but it was only 80 E£ (about $4.50 USD). It was a great tomb. Each of the Ramses Tombs were worth visiting. KV 5 has over 120 chambers for sons of Ramses II, but was not open to the public. Ramses VI’s burial chamber had vaulted ceilings with the story of the sun god painted on the ceiling. There were creatures lined across the ceiling including a Hippo and Crocodile combination. The walls were covered with detailed carvings and hieroglyphs. The sarcophagus in the middle of the large room was half pieced back together.
KV 57, Horemhab, KV 14 (Tausert and reused by Seth Nakht) and KV 15 (Seti II) were good. The detailed hieroglyphs on the walls had numerous birds and animals. Horus, Isis and Nephthys were depicted often. Horus, the falcon, the protector, was my favorite. The offerings and the boats were detailed. Three headed snakes, cobras, headless prisoners, baboons and too much more to name cover the walls. One tomb was void of any carving or color, but had a high arched ceiling down to a sarcophagus. Not all tombs were created equal.
We finished Valley of the Kings and moved to Habu Temple. The exterior walls had extensive hieroglyphs around large carved depictions of a pharaoh and Isis. Inside the cartouche and hieroglyph carving were deep. The two-inch-deep carvings were new and paint remained at the higher more covered areas. Every square and round column was carved in detail. The walls were carved 40 feet high like a story was being told.
We negotiated a taxi for the trip to Valley of the Queens. We run into the taxi vendor from yesterday. “I have waited since 7:00 for you!” I told him we paid too much yesterday. He dropped his price to 150 E£. I told him we have an agreement already. The Valley of the Queens is smaller than Valley of the Kings, but was just as impressive.
Q.V. 66 Nefertari, QV 52 Queen Tiki, Prince Amenherkhepshef, Prince Khaemweset were the tombs available.
We entered Queen Titi’s tomb. The walls were brightly colored. I liked the Queen holding a perfume bottle and an owl pipe facing Pharaoh Akhenaten. The hieroglyphics and cartouches around each person depicted stories of the queen and the quest to make it to the afterlife. The snakes above and on her headband were for protection.
We entered the tomb of Prince Amenherkhepshef Son of Ramses III. Most of the walls were behind glass. Many were completely intact. Much of the bottom twelve inches had been worn away. Water damage was suspected. It does not detract from the painted carvings. A Pharaoh had green skin and a tut like mask with the gold and blue strips. This was the first time I had seen it in a tomb. The Prince was young and shorter than the Gods and the Pharaoh shown around him. Isis on the columns had the river blessing. The wing covered doorway was surrounded on each side with the winged snakes.
The Tomb of Prince Khaemweset was good. Mostly intact baboon carvings remained on a yellow wall. The tomb had damage throughout. Walls had missing chunks showing bare spots. Women giving birth, birds, food, and the cow stood out in the tomb. There was more damage in this tomb than the others. Many of the walls had section missing or broken off.
Lastly, we visited QV 66 - Queen Nefertari. No pictures were allowed inside and no one was taking bribes. Weird. No backpacks or purses were allowed in the tomb. We were the only people in the valley. We placed our backpacks on the shelves we walked to the entrance. We had two watchers (people to tip). Both were helpful and pointed out points of interest. Some of the gods had a green faces and arms. We had not seen this anywhere else. The royalty were depicted with sandals. Others and the gods had bare feet. Square columns had her arm in arm touching and holding hands. A grasshopper or praying mantis was unique. There was a ten-minute limit for anyone entering the tomb. For the $60 entrance fee the time seems short, however we were the only tourists in the tomb and the ten minutes allowed us we see everything without feeling rushed.
We returned to the Valley of the Kings for another round of tombs. This had been the highlight of the trip thus far. Some of the tombs on my list were closed. *KV5 was the largest in Valley with 128 rooms- closed. I think due to the size and time it would take to visit, it was never open to the public. The damage to the tomb would be difficult to contain. Amenhotep II KV 35 was closed.
We liked the Ramses tombs we saw on Day 1 so we continue with Ramses IX KV6 and Rameses VII at KV1. They were outstanding and similar. I will spar you the details of each, but I was not disappointed with either. One carving in the little visited Rameses VII KV1 depicted the Pharaoh moving into the afterlife with his spirit leaving his body and stretching around an orb. We saw all the open tombs in the valley. We headed to the West Valley.
The Tomb of Ay/Aly is WV23. This was a separate entry ticket. We walk toward the valley and were asked if we want a ride for only 300E. We decline and start to walk. He negotiated. I told him I know the cost is 50. He says “No” and we turn to walk. He called us back and agreed. We had heard good things about this tomb in the West Valley. Although it was different, farm life, baboons and hunting ducks were not seen elsewhere, it was in poor condition. Wall were only half in place with significant damage.
Here is a list of the open tombs in February 2018:
Valley of the Kings
KV 01 Ramesses VII
KV 02 Ramesses IV
KV 06 Ramesses IX
KV 08 Merenptah
KV 09 Ramesses V and Ramesses VI (extra cost 80E)
KV 11 Ramesses III /
KV 14 Twosret & Setnakhte
KV 15 Seti II
KV 17 Seti I (extra cost 1000E)
KV 62 Tutankhamen (extra cost - We did not visit this tomb)
KV 57 Horemheb
Valley of the Queens
QV 66 Nefertari (extra cost 1000E)
QV 52 Queen Tiki
QV 55 Prince Amenherkhepshef
QV 44 Prince Khaemweset
We finished our day by returning to the Emy Restaurant. A cold beer and a chat with the owner, Mena. We bought a bottle of wine from him for the evening. It was not even overpriced. We fly back to Cairo tomorrow. We chose to stay in Giza this time to give the Pyramids another try.