Valley of the Queens in Luxor

Egyptian queens chose a much more subtle location for their resting place than the inaccessible, rocky Valley of the Kings. It is a vast wadi (valley) that gently rises towards the Theban hills.

Contrary to its name, the Valley of the Queens has not always served as the resting place of Egyptian women. Originally, it served as a cemetery for royal children and people associated with the upbringing of princes and princesses. The earliest known tombs of the queens in this necropolis date back to the 14th century BC and 98 of the local hypogeas (rock tombs) were discovered at the beginning of the 20th century. Only half of the people buried in them have been identified to this date. Within the Valley of the Queens, tombs are numbered in the order in which they were discovered, and the tombs bear the QV symbolism, meaning Queens' Valley.

The Hypogea in the Valley of the Queens are very similar to each other, unlike the architecturally diverse tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Along a straight axis, the few tomb rooms are arranged the same with  a corridor, a vestibule, and a burial chamber, which may be surrounded by annexes.



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One of the most interesting tombs in the valley is the tomb of the royal child - Chaemuaset (QV 44), who was the son of Ramesses III. The decoration of the walls (painted reliefs at the entrance, polychromes deep in the tomb) mainly shows Ramses III and Chaemuaset surrounded by the gods. The prince is always shown with a curl of youth (a small curl, that falls on the shoulder and is a symbol of young age). His father's companionship was necessary in the meetings with the gods, for the pharaoh was the mediator between the world of mortals and gods. Similar scenes can be seen in the tomb of another son of Ramesses III, Amonchopeshfu (QV 55).

Queens' tombs are rare in Egypt. The most beautiful in the valley of the Queens is the tomb of Nefretari, wife of Ramses II the Great. The ticket to the Valley of the Queens does not include this wonderfully decorated tomb but you can visit it for an extra charge. It is also worth seeing the tomb of Titi, one of the spouses of Ramesses III. The decoration of the walls shows the queen as a young girl and a mature woman at the time of worshiping the gods. Unfortunately, the frescoes have only been preserved in fragments, as the tomb was once used as a stable.

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