Home to 91 tombs of queens and princes, the Valley of the Queens offers an interesting contrast to the better known, and far more visited, Valley of the Kings. It was wonderful to arrive to basically have the valley to myself, in contrast with the 4,000 to 5,000 daily visitors to the Valley of the Kings.
Dating from a similar period to the Valley of the Kings the main the reason for visiting is the Tomb of Nefertari, regarded as the best ancient Egyptian tomb, with scenes that look like they were painted last week rather than over three thousand years ago.
Entry at $70 is not cheap but worth it for very few people and quite incredible artwork. Nefertari was the Queen of Ramses II, the long reigning pharaoh who also built Abu Simbel. Her tomb is one of the largest in the Valley of the Queens, 520sqm, split into two main rooms with a number of side chambers.
It was discovered in 1904, but closed to the public in 1950 to preserve the fragile artwork. An extensive restoration was undertaken in the late 1980s and the tomb reopened but access has been restricted at times. As of May 2023 there was a ten minute time limit for visits, but it wasn’t enforced, in the hope of tips for the local guardians.
Photos can’t really capture the atmosphere or overall effect of the tomb, it is a quite incredible place.
There are three other tombs open in the Valley of the Queens, none of which can compare with Nefertari but were better than expected, though the glass protective screens were annoying if understandable with less security present. The Tomb of Amunherkhepshef had some wonderful colour and a large sarcophagus at the end in the burial chamber.
The tombs are generally smaller and simpler than in the Valley of the Kings, but much quieter and have some wonderful artwork. The Tomb of Tyti was the least well preserved of the four tombs but still had things of interest to see.
Lastly the Tomb of Khaemwaset was similar to the Tomb of Amunherkhepshef, if perhaps slightly better in terms of scenes and colour.