Wādī al Mulūk
I’m in Egypt today, traversing through what’s known as Wādī al Mulūk, or, the Valley of Kings.
Where was the Valley of the Kings built?
Much like the old kingdom Pharaohs built their tombs in the Pyramids of Giza and the Nile Delta. The Valley of Kings near Luxor on the west bank of Niles also became the burial place for many well-known Pharaohs such as Tutankhanum, Seti I and Ramases of the II New Kingdom of Egypt. Several high ranking queens, priests and elites of the 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties, were also buried here. According to my tour guide, these Pharaohs may have chosen this place to be put to rest closer to their dynastic roots in the south.
History of the Valley of the Kings
Egyptians were big-believers of the afterlife and their tombs reflected this belief. Like the tombs in the pyramids, the tombs in the Valley of Kings also show elaborate preparations for the kings’ journey into the after-life. They believed their Pharaohs would become one with Gods in the after-life, so their tombs were well stocked for this very purpose. From riches and treasures like the gold masks and precious jewelry to mundane everyday items like clothes, underwear and even furniture, Egyptian tombs had all the material necessities a ruler might need in the after-life. In fact, they even found food, drinks, and favored companions and pets buried alongside. Curiously, books were nowhere to be found, at least in the tomb of Tutankhanum. I wonder if they believed that one didn’t need books to gain knowledge in the after-life.
For centuries the valley has been combed for tombs, and it still yields surprises. Experts believe that there are many more tombs to be found. Although, they do think that the tombs may already have been raided for loot. Egyptian writings show records of most of the royal tombs having been raided and the offenders severely punished, even though the entrances to the tombs are very well-hidden. The tomb of Tutankhanum discovered by archaeologist Howard Carter was relatively untouched by raiders, which was quite a surprise. Not long after, another unnamed tomb was discovered quite close to Tutankhanum’s tomb. This only increased the experts’ interest in this mystical tomb valley.
All through my trip here, we weren’t allowed to click pictures while inside, and even our tour guide only gave us a quick run-down of the facts while inside. This, he said, was in an effort to reduce damage caused to the tombs because of overcrowding by visitors. Quite understandable. The place has a mysterious ancient vibe to it that deserves to be preserved and experienced in its peaceful glory.