The Valley of the Queens

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The Valley of the Queens is one of the most popular ancient necropolises in Egypt and the second most important Pharaohs burial site in Luxor after the Valley of the Kings.

While the kings of the New Kingdom started digging their tombs deep into the Theban mountains in the Valley of the Kings, they selected another valley about 10 kilometers to the South to burry the bodies of their royal queens, princes, and leading dignitaries.

The Valley of the Queens was not only the burial site of the royal consorts, but also royal princes and high officials of the government as well. This was why the ancient Egyptians have called the Valley of the Queens; “Ta Set Neferu”, the place of the royal court, or the place of the children of the king.

The first real study of the Valley of the Queens can be attributed to the Italian archeological mission that was directed by Ernesto Schiaparelli. This mission has worked for many years in this historical site and they were able to unearth the most magnificent colorfully decorated tombs.

Considered to be the most beautiful ancient tomb in Luxor, the tomb of Queen Nefertari was closed in 1986 and it was restored for more than 9 years before its reopening in 1995.

The Tomb of Queen Nefertari was named “Mery-en-Mut” by the ancient Egyptians, or the most beautiful and beloved of the god Mut because of its extensive fabulous decorations and wall paintings.

The tomb starts with a few steps leading to the antechamber which is famous for its astronomical ceiling painted in dark blue representing heaven. There is a large opening in this chamber flanked by representations of the goddess Osiris and the god Anubis. This wall opening leads to the first side chamber that contains many interesting offering scenes drawn on its walls.

Another marvelous tomb is that of Khaemwaset. It belongs to one of the sons of Ramses III is famous for its marvelous wall paintings that are still well preserved. Khaemwaset was titled “the highest priest of the god Ptah”. Ramses III was famous for having many sons and there were five of them who were buried in the Valley of the Queens.

The two tombs of Khaemwaset and his brother, Amun-her-Khepshef were most probably the last tombs to be built in the Valley of the Queens in 1156 BC, in the 28th year of rule of the king Ramses III.

The Tomb of Amun-her-Khepshef is considered by many as the masterpiece of the 20th dynasty tomb painting art and the one of the most popular tombs in the Valley of the Queens.

Amun-her-Khepshef, the son of Ramses III, held the titles of the heir to the throne and chief charioteer. Just like his brother, Khaemwaset, he died at a very young age maybe 14 or 15.

The Tomb of Queen Teti  is a good example of a royal queen buried in the Valley of the Queens would be the tomb of Queen Teti who were Married to one of the Ramesside of the 20th dynasty. Most of the tomb of the queen Teti is damaged, but certain wall paintings are extremely magnificent.

The burial chamber of the tomb contains the most amazing scenes where the goddess Hathour is represented in many forms pouring water from the River Nile to revive the queen. A visit to the tomb of the Queen Teti would be a good demo of the art of the period.

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