TUT AND COMPANY
In my humble opinion, I saved the best for last. This one is about the Valley Of The Kings, Valley Of The Queens, Valley Of The Nobles, and Valley of The Artisans. Before the trip, I was mostly aware of the Valley Of The Kings, and most of that was about King Tut's tomb. I've always been fascinated with Tut and the discovery of his tomb and treasures etc. Turns out his myths are mostly just that. He only ruled a few years, died young, and as I found out, even though his tomb was filled with amazing things, compared with some of the other kings and queens and even the artisans, his tomb itself was really modest. The Valley Of The Kings has over 63 tombs. Tut's is one of the smallest. Most of the bigger, more elaborate ones were looted many years ago, and Tut's was the only one that still had it's treasures intact when discovered. The treasure is what made him seem like such a big shot to us. My guide was used to westerners wanting to make the whole trip about Tut, and explained to me that it wasn't even close to being the main attraction. Of course he was right: some of the others are spectacular. These tombs were supposed to aid in the journey to "afterlife"as they saw it, so they were pretty big deal. Without going down a rabbit hole here, in general, the longer the king's reign, the more elaborate the tomb. Not necessarily because they were any more important than others, it's just that they probably had more time to work on them. They usually started digging the tombs soon after a king gained power. So, if they were in power for only say 9 years and died prematurely like Tut, his tomb may not have been completed in the way he would have wanted. Others who are fairly obscure to us, but may have reigned longer, or were maybe more important, have amazing tombs. (This is maybe the most incomplete attempt at Egyptology ever written.) I visited 13 of the tombs in all of the valleys ( not all are open all of the time )
So, Andy, what's it like inside those things? Well, it is a bit weird being underground in someone's tomb. On top of that, I was often the only person in them, so it was occasionally pretty freaky. That said, it's amazing to see how elaborate and well crafted much of the work was, and most of the time I was awestruck. Thirty five hundred years is a long time for anything to last, let alone underground painted walls and structures. Here's a small taste of what I saw. A note about some of the pix- take a good look at some of the ceilings- some are insanely elaborate, and many have stars painted on them like the night sky.