Ever since I was a little girl – I’ve been fascinated with Egypt.
Maybe it’s because my mother was born here, maybe it’s because I’m part of that generation that collected NatGeo magazines full of Egyptian archeological finds, or maybe it’s because I watch waaaaaay too many history documentaries!
I’ve long dreamed of visiting The Valley of the Kings – the final resting place for many of the pharaohs.
I was not disappointed.
Being here in person was better than my wildest dreams, better than those NatGeo mags, even better than any history doc!!!
Unlike their predecessors, the pharaohs of the New Kingdom preferred discreet tombs to monumental pyramids.
There are 63 “discovered” tombs in the Valley of the Kings, but not all of them are open. I saw five of them and took… 224 photos (don’t freak I’m not going to share them all here now!)
The most famous tomb is the Tomb of Tutankhamun – and yet it is one of the smallest and least decorated. The king died when he was 19 and the artisans had only just begun to dig his chambers. But they filled it chockablock full of bling!
The discovery in 1922 by Howard Carter of Tut’s undisturbed tomb with its vast treasure trove intact is what continues to draw visitors.
Also, Tut’s mummy is the only one still to be found “in situ” – His tiny, teen body is laid out in a hermetically sealed glass case – and I felt so sorry for him. He’s famous for being famous – and yet, he’s all alone.
BUTTTTTT – for my money – The most fantastic tomb, with fine wall carvings, belongs to Seti I!
SETI I, died in 1279 B.C., and his tomb was discovered in 1817 by Giovanni Belzoni.
It’s only fitting that an Italian would find it because it is like a cathedral.
It’s massive – measuring 449ft/137m- long with 11 chambers and it’s spectacular!!!!
KV17 as it is known features art from Seti’s reign and is among the finest in Egypt.
(KV17 stands for King Valley – 17th tomb found)
Family tree info: Seti I, who succeeded Ramses I, was the father of Ramses II and ruled some 70 years after the death of Tutankhamun
The walls are filled with fabulous, mythological, and mysterious images from many ancient texts – but it’s the ceiling that brings down the house!
The ceiling is gorgeous; astronomical scenes decorate Seti’s burial chamber and simulating the night sky is a mesmerizing galaxy of stars. At 20 feet high, the vault is curved and a series of gods and goddesses can be seen proceeding toward symbols of constellations painted in the form of animals.
Being in the tomb was truly an emotional and spiritual moment for me.
It’s been so long since I’ve been “in the moment” – I sat down in the corner and just breathed it all in – it was totally unexpected, so moving, so profound … I was brought to tears.
The tomb “guard” was quite amused by my emotional show I’m sure.
He let me go inside a blocked chamber where an “Apis tomb” was found. When Belzoni found the tomb, a mummified bull was found inside this chamber – can you imagine – a mummified bull! It’s gone, but a mural remains – and that’s no bull!
Despite watching a gazillion documentaries and reading everything I could get my hands on about the Tombs, I truly wasn’t prepared for the beauty of these final resting spots. They’re like mini museums. Spectacular artwork – some as fresh and vibrant as the first day – others, muted and victims to time and abuse. In many places, the walls are marked with graffiti that dates back hundreds of years. On other walls, you can see the early drawings that were put in
It was a great experience – a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Below is a slideshow with some more photos from inside Seti I’s Tomb.