Valley of the Kings
            
 

The Valley of the Kings has a similar effect to the pyramids. I fell asleep in the bus (if you've read the pyramid section of this site, you may think that this was a pattern with me, but we had a gruelling schedule....) I woke up to find myself - our bus, on a winding road with massive, bare sandy mountains on either side. It was comforting. Nothing can replace that feeling of being nestled between mountains like that. They just cleaved up out of the ground next to you, with the lower peaks extending down into the valley like fingers.

  Valley of the Kings  
 
Place your cursor on the photo to see the whole view of the Valley
 
 

Something about them speaks to you; 'There's a power and a force greater than you - no need to worry'. I thought that this was just my feeling, but some of my friends echoed the same sentiments.

These tombs were unlike anything you can possibly imagine. Ahmedo went with us into Amenrotep's tomb. The tomb itself was 100 metres down from the entrance, which was not much bigger than the entrance to the pyramid - but there was more light and the slope wasn't so steep. I can't give it justice. The walls were so tall. There were lights inside. The background of the walls were cream but there were floor to ceiling hierglyphs and the even the ceiling was covered with them.

It was a privilege to enter the tomb with Ahmedo. We walked almost single file holding onto the railing on one side. Ahmedo was filming as he went. At one point, he made us stop as he chanted 'om' a few times in his very deep, big voice and the sound in the tomb with all those hierglphys in the artificial yellow light had quite an atmosphere - which was what he was trying to achieve . Ahmedo told us that when he was an actor in Egypt, the directors would make them chant on set.

  Man walking in the Valley of the Kings in a traditional galabaya
 

But more than that, Ahmedo provided a context for what we were seeing. The guide told us that we would see colours in the hierglyphics of the tomb and that this one was the most well-preserved.

We did not think so. Much was faded. There were patches of colour here and there. Ahmedo had last seen it years ago. It was touching to see such a big man say that he could cry over what had been lost in 30 years. His sorrow was palpable. Here was a man, who was so big and strong that he had once played pharaoh, crumpled over the loss of his heritage.

The tombs had lost a lot of their colour and hierglyphics in a short time. If something isn't done to preserve them, they will not be there in another 30 years. Ahmedo was sad for what he as an Egyptian had lost. We were sad for what we as a civilization may lose. I really hope for an intervention soon. I would hate to be the generation that destroyed in 60 years, a legacy that had survived for thousands.

 
 
 
 

Once outside in the intense sun, we were comforted by the beaming beauty of the valley. One could see why the Kings' would choose it as a resting place.

If you believe in life after death, as the ancient Egyptians did, why not start the after-life in a place of beauty and wake up in the valley of the kings? Here was the clean slate, the place for new beginnings. The sandy cream massive mountains with dribbling valleys easily had another world aura about them. It's really wonderful to come across nature in another guise - so naked, so bare, so powerful, and feel it touch you.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing that can assimilate the feeling of being there. I almost don't understand. I have travelled so much and been wowed by a lot of beautiful places and buildings. But in Egypt, it is not just about seeing the tombs or the pyramids. It's about the way they make you feel.

NB. This marks the end of the 'Egypt' section of this site. I'd love to have you join me on my trips to the Sahara and (when it's available), Tunisia. If you're interested, return Home to access those stories.

  Sunset behind the Valley of the Kings  
 
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