There are hundreds of tombs cut into the hillsides west of Luxor but the best restored tombs are in the Valley of the Kings. Chamber after chamber are decorated with colorful hieroglypics and drawings. Some are situated at the back of canyons and go down several levels. After visiting and then ascending one such tomb the 40C temps outside felt like an arctic breeze in comparison to the stuffy, humid, sweltering temps found in the chambers! Tutankamen’s tomb is found here as well as 10-15 others open to the public at any given time. Many of of the antiquities from King Tut’s tomb can be seen in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The Tombs of the Nobles is close to the Valley of the Kings but of the hundreds of tombs found here only several have been restored. The entrances dot the hillsides and I explored a number of totally un-restored tombs. Trails lead up and down the mountains and one is free to explore.
The time it must have taken to dig out these chambers and tombs is incredible, not to mention the manpower. At one of the tombs we saw about 100 men digging into the side of the rocky hills side with picks and shovels and attacking large rocks with large metal hammers. Dirt and rock was cut out of the hillside and then moved into plastic containers and then hand carried to awaiting trucks. Progress was painfully slow. Volume of workers was key to the construction projects of the ancient Egyptians. It certainly was to build the great pyramids where several thousand people were working at any one time.
The advances the Egyptians made in writing and building and artwork are amazing – light years ahead of their time.
The Luxor Museum is small in comparison to the huge Egyptian Museum in Cairo but the items on display are no less significant; all are extremely well preserved and in some cases the artwork and detail is absolutely stunning – especially when you consider the statues were carved 3 and 4 thousand years ago. It was interesting to see a 4000 year old stove with temperature control built into it, a chest of drawers with small handles that were 3500+ years old but looked like they could have come from the 18th century and well preserved pillows.
Tomorrow a highlight will be an early morning hot air balloon ride above the morning glow on the desert sands and the shining waters of the Nile. We are working on a video of our trip and should have that posted soon.