Photo Journal West Bank of the Nile – Theban Necropolis

(Day 3 Nile Cruise – after Luxor and Karnak Temples we headed west)

Land of the setting sun, land of the dead.

IMG_1857PMR Colossi of Memnon

For 3,400 years, the Colossi of Memnon have guarded the way to the necropolis of Thebes (Valleys of the Kings and Queens). These faceless giants once stood before the entrance to Amenhotep’s mortuary temple. Unfortunately, multiple floods, earthquakes, and stone scavengers have done their damage and little remains, at least above ground.

IMG_4664PMR The Colossi of Memnon

Why are the colossi of Amenhotep III called the Colossi of Memnon? Well, after an earthquake in 27 BC,  the statue on the right side in the above photo developed a crack. Evidently the cooling and heating, the expansion and contraction, the condensation and evaporation (they guess) caused a moaning, whistling sound when the morning sun heated the stone. The Greeks believed the sound to be Memnon (Hero of the Trojan war slain by Achilles) greeting his mother Eos (goddess of dawn). The statues were already tourist attractions back in Greek and Roman times and it was considered good luck to hear the whistling statue. Sadly the stone is now silent; Roman Emperor Septimius Severus had the statue repaired in 199 AD, and Memnon has not uttered a sound since.

IMG_4668PMR Temple of Hatshepsut

“He who shall do her homage shall live; he who shall speak evil in blasphemy of her Majesty shall die.” – The inscription at Hatshepsut’s tomb

IMG_4681PMR Temple of Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut’s terraced limestone Temple of Djeser-Djeseru or the sublime of sublimes the holiest of holies is architectural elegance.

IMG_1871PMR Temple of Hatshepsut

After the death of her husband/half-brother Thutmose II, Hatshepsut (not yet 30) became regent; her husband’s only male heir Thutmose III (from a lesser wife) was too young to assume the throne. Hatshepsut had influential supporters and eventually phased from regent to Pharaoh. She built temples and monuments, focused on economic prosperity, authorized a very successful trading expedition to the west coast of Africa and gave Egypt a peaceful, flourishing 20 year rule. Hatshepsut was the first woman with full power as pharaoh and apparently she rocked at ruling.

IMG_4677PMR Temple of Hatshepsut

Osirian statues of Hatshepsut – Per her request, most of her statues show her with the typical pharaoh beard. I guess she had to look tough.

IMG_4678PMR Temple of Hatshepsut

IMG_4672PMR Temple of Hatshepsut

Jackal-headed Anubis

IMG_4670PMR Temple of Hatshepsut

Night sky

IMG_4671PMR Temple of Hatshepsut

Offerings

IMG_4673PMR Temple of Hatshepsut

IMG_4674PMR Temple of Hatshepsut

Ra – sun god

IMG_4679PMR Temple of Hatshepsut

IMG_1867PMR Temple of Hatshepsut

IMG_4680Temple of Hatshepsut

IMG_4666PMR Valley of the Queens

The Valley of the Queens was next on our agenda.

IMG_4665PMR Valley of the Queens

This is the resting place of royal women, children, and high officials of the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BC). No picture taking is allowed inside the tombs.

IMG_4667PMR Near Valley of the Kings

Nearby Town

Some houses sit over tombs; some actually have entrances into tombs. Despite the necropolis’ remote location, the tombs were targets from the beginning and guards and caretakers were often involved in the thieving.

IMG_4692PMR Valley of the Kings

Tram ride into the Valley of the Kings

IMG_4684PMR Valley of the Kings

Again no photo taking allowed. Not all the tombs were open to the public, but the ones we saw had extraordinary paintings; the colors still so vibrant.

IMG_4686PMR Valley of the Kings

IMG_4689PMR Valley of the Kings

King Tutankhamun’s Tomb

His mummy was inside (which my son thought was super cool). The tomb is not very elaborate compared to the others we’ve seen, actually it’s really small. The treasure hoard must have been packed in very tightly – not a comfortable space for afterlife living in my opinion. Still, with all of the history and legends surrounding Tut and his tomb it was exciting to visit.

IMG_4702PMR Nile Cruise

This is our last night aboard the Nile Adventurer. They set the dessert on fire just after this pic 🙂

IMG_4705PMR Nile Cruise

In the morning we’ll wake before dawn for our sunrise balloon ride.

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