Three Days in Luxor Egypt
At 7:30 we walked to the ferry. Motorboat offers came as expected, but we made it to the National Ferry. We were picked out on the ferry for a taxi, we told him we would see what was available once we arrived at the dock. We ended up going with him for a ride the the Valley of the Kings and Habu Temple. His ‘brother’ drove us.
The Valley of the Kings is stark. No plants grow anywhere; it is just tan dirt and rock. The tombs are fantastic. 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. We immediately liked the tomb. 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 covers most of the carvings in the tomb. The paint is vibrant. The 1000 E£ ($55 USD) is 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 is not open to the public. Ramses VI’s burial chamber has vaulted ceilings with the story of the sun god painted on the ceiling. There are creatures lined across the chilling including a Hippo and Crocodile combination. The walls are covered with detailed carvings and hieroglyphs. The sarcophagus is 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 are depicted often. Horus, the falcon, the protector, is my favorite. The offerings and the boats are detailed. Three headed snakes, cobras, headless prisoners, baboons and to 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 are created equal. We finish Valley of the Kings and move to Habu Temple.
The Temple is similar to Philae Temple is shape. The exterior walls have extensive hieroglyphs around large carved depictions of a pharaoh and Isis. Inside the cartouche and hieroglyph carving are deep. The two inch deep carvings are new and paint remains at the high more covered areas. Every square and round column is carved in detail. The walls are carved 40 feet high like a story is being told. Through the next doorway large twenty carved columns remains standing 6 feet tall. I am ecstatic with tombs today and want another day to see the remaining tombs.
We negotiate a taxi for the trip to Valley of the Queens. Today is 200 E£. We run into the taxi vendor from yesterday and he is pissed! “I have waited since 7:00 for you!” I tell him we paid too much yesterday, of course you waited. He argues with our new actual taxi driver. Our new driver asked if we made an agreement with him yesterday and we respond “No.” He ignores further argument and we walk on. The past arranger drops his price to 150 E£. I tell him we have an agreement already. We get to Vally of the Queens. It is smaller than Valley of the Kings, but just as impressive.
Q.V. 66 Nefertari, QV 52 Queen Tiki, Prince Amenherkhepshef, Prince Khaemweset are the tombs available. We visit Queen Titi first.
We enter the tomb. The walls are brightly colored. I really liked the Queen holding a perfume bottle and an owl pipe facing Pharaoh Akhenaten. The hieroglyphics and cartouches around each person depicted tell stories of the queen and the quest to make it to the afterlife. The snakes above and on her headband are for protection.
We enter the tomb of Prince Amenherkepshef Son of Ramses III. Most of the walls are behind glass. Many are completely intact. Much of the bottom foot has been worn away. Water damage is suspected. Is does not detract from the painted carvings. A Pharaoh has green skin and the tut like mask with the gold and blue strips. This is the first time I have seen it in a tomb. The Prince is young and shorter than the Gods and the Pharaoh shown around him. Isis on the columns have 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 have missing chunks showing bare spots. Women giving birth, birds, food, and the cow stand out in the tomb. There is more damage in this tomb than the others. Many of the walls have section missing or broken off.
Lastly we visit QV 66 - Queen Nefertari. No pictures are allowed inside and no one is taking bribes. Wierd. There is an person to insure no cameras go into the tomb. No backpacks or purses can enter. We were the only people in the valley. Placing our backpacks on the shelves we walk to the entrance. We have two watchers (people to tip). Both are helpful and point out points of interest. Some of the gods had a green faces and arms. We had not seen this anywhere else. The royalty are depicted with sandals. Others and the gods have bare feet. Square columns have her arm in arm touching and holding hands. A grasshopper or praying mantis is unique. There is a ten minute limit for anyone entering the tomb. For the nearly $60 entrance fee the time seems short, however we are the only tourists in the tomb and the ten minutes allowed us we see everything without feeling rushed.
This was a fantastic day in VOQ.
We return to the Valley of the Kings for another round of tombs. This has been the highlight of the trip thus far. Some of the tombs on my list are closed. *KV5 is the largest in Valley with 128 rooms- closed. I think due to the size and time that it would take to see it, it is never open to the public. The damage to the tomb would be difficult to contain. Amenhotep II KV 35 is also closed.
We liked the Ramses tombs we saw on Day 1 so we continue with Ramses IX KV6 and Rameses VII at KV1. They are 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 did not go back into another tomb as we have seen all the open tombs in the valley., but we did head to the West Valley.
The Tomb of Ay/Aly is WV23. This is a separate entry ticket. We walk toward the valley and are asked if we want a ride for only 300E. We decline and start to walk. He negotiates. I tell him I know the cost is 50. He says “No” and we turn to walk. He calls us back and agrees. We have heard good things about this tomb in the West Valley. Although it is different, farm life, baboons and hunting ducks are not seen elsewhere, it is in poor condition. Wall are only half in place with significant damage. Considering the extra cost I would not recommend this tomb unless you have a strong desire.
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 - I did not visit this tomb)
KV 57 Horemheb
Valley of the Queens
QV 66 Nefertari (extra cost 1000E)
QV 52 Queen Tiki
QV unk Prince Amenherkhepshef
QV unk Prince Khaemweset
We finish our day by returning to the Emy Restaurant. A cold beer and a chat with the owner, Mena. We buy a bottle of wine from him for the evening. It was not even over priced. We fly back to Cairo tomorrow. We chose to stay in Giza this time to give the Pyramids another try.