Egypt valley of the queensThe Valley of the Queens is an ancient valley where female spouses lived after their death. It was where all the queens, princesses and other nobilities were buried from the 18th to the 20th century.

The entrance to the tombs was hidden well by the architects of the time, but in 1904, an archaeologist discovered this exquisite burial site.

Continue reading to learn all about the valley and the famous Egyptian queens that were buried there.

Egypt Valley of the Queens

The Egyptian civilization is the oldest known civilization in the world. Egypt is majorly a desert area where huge sand storms are a norm. Hence, the civilization went through a cascade of natural events. This is the reason why many archaeologists are still discovering buried palaces, tombs and treasures in the nation.

In 1904, Ernesto Schiaparelli, an Italian Egyptologist, discovered the Wadi al Malekat, also known as the Valley of the Queens or Ta-Set-Neferu, the place of beauty. Schiaparelli was looking for the tomb of Queen Nefertari and stumbled upon the tombs of many important Egyptian princesses and queens.

After the discovery of the valley, teams of archaeologists and Egyptologists began excavating the site. They had no idea what they were going to find and that they were in for many surprises.

Until now, the excavators and archaeologists are hard at work at the site of the valley, trying to unearth the glories of the ancient civilization of Egypt. In 1979, UNESCO listed the valley on the World Heritage list alongside the Valley of the Kings.

– Inside the Valley of the Queens

The valley of the queens is the burial site for the queens, princesses, some of their servants and other important female personnel of the Egyptian civilization. The Egyptians were highly religious people and they believed in the afterlife. They believed that the dead, once buried, would wake up again. For this reason, the dead were buried with their belongings including food, water, clothes and treasures.

In the valley of the queens, the same notion was followed. The tombs of the dead were highly decorated with ornaments, incantations and drawings on the walls. Statues of gods and goddesses of the dead were also kept inside the tomb. Inside some of the tombs that housed the favorite queens of the pharaohs, boats were also kept.

– The Valley and the Looters

In short, the tombs were filled with everything that one could possibly need in the afterlife. Unfortunately, in 1904, most of the tombs were looted.

When Schiapparelli discovered the entrance to the valley, the looters got a whiff of treasure, so before the artifacts could be collected and safeguarded, many of the tombs were wiped clean. The mummies were all that was left behind because their cases were too heavy to move.

Nevertheless, some of the tombs that were deep inside the valley were untouched. The artifacts found in those tombs are kept at the museum for people to see. It is amazing how the valley of the queens was undiscovered for so long and kept its structural integrity. The architects of that time did an amazing job with its construction.

– When It Was Built

The reign of Pharaoh Seqenenre dates back to the 18th century, which means that the construction of the valley of the queens began around the 18th century.

After the discovery of the valley, the most important next step was the enumeration of the tombs present and the period from which the dead were buried here. According to the Egyptologists working at the site, to date, a total of 91 tombs have been discovered in the valley. They firmly believe that the number will still rise with time.

After careful analysis of each tomb, the oldest or perhaps the first one to be built in the valley belongs to Princess Ahmose, daughter of Pharaoh Seqenenre Tao and Queen Sitdjehuti. In the same tomb, other members of the court of Princess Ahmose are also found buried.

– Where It Is Located

The valley of the queens is located in Luxor, a city in Egypt. Luxor was originally known as the city of Thebes and was the capital of Upper Egypt during the New Kingdom. It is located in the south of Egypt, on the East bank of the river Nile. Luxor was designated as a World Heritage site in 1979 because of the various ancient wonders found there.

– Why It Was Constructed

The exact reason is still unknown, but one can think of many contributing factors. After the discovery of the valley, many theories came up as to why the royalties were buried in a remote site like the valley.

Firstly, the valley of the queens is present in close proximity to the valley of the kings, where the kings and princes are buried. Secondly, the entrance of the valley is through a grotto dedicated to the Goddess Hathor, who was known to rejuvenate the dead.

Whatever the real reason for choosing this location might be, the site was extensively used from the start of the 18th century towards the end of the 20th century.

Important Royalties of the Valley

The valley of egyptian queensThe valley is the final resting place of many important Egyptian queens and princesses. An important question arises: were all the princesses and queens of that time buried here?

The answer to this question is no. This burial site was only used for those queens and princesses who were the most beloved and close to the reigning Pharaoh.

Here we list some of the important female royalties, from the 18th to the 20th century, that are buried in the valley of the queens.

– Sitre

Sitre was one of the queens who were of non-royal descent. She was one of the most beloved wives of Pharaoh Ramesses I, and the statue in Abydos shows that Sitre was also the mother of Seti I.

Sitre had a list of titles that were given to her, including Lady of The Two Lands, King’s Wife, Great King’s Wife, his beloved Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt and most importantly, the God’s Wife.

The tomb of Sitre inside the valley of the queens is thought to be commissioned by Pharaoh Seti I. The reason for this is that at the entrance of the tomb, the words “King’s Mother” are engraved. The tomb, however, is in an unfinished state, with a lot of drawings left incomplete. The existing images portray gods like Isis, Thoth, Horus, Anubis, Hapi, Maat and Nephthys.

– Ahmose

The name Ahmose translates to “Child of the moon.” Ahmose was the only known daughter of Pharaoh Seqenenre Tao and his sister-wife Sitdjehuti. Ahmose outlived her siblings and died at the age of 40 due to a heart attack. Her title is the King’s Daughter.

The tomb of Ahmose was the first tomb to be discovered by Ernesto Schiaparelli in 1904. Her tomb was pretty simple with a single chamber and a burial shaft. Along with her mummified body, several funerary items were also found within. All the contents of her chamber are on display at the Egyptian Museum of Turin, Italy.

– Nefertari

Nefertari is one of the most famous Egyptian queens in the world. She was highly educated which was rare at that time, especially for females. She was the first of the Great Royal Wives of Ramesses the Great of the 19th century. The name Nefertari translates to “A Beautiful Companion” and she surely lived up to the name.

Inside the valley of the queens, the biggest tomb belongs to Queen Nefertari. Her tomb is said to cover an area of 520 square meters. The tomb is exquisite and also strangely different from the other tombs in the valley as it contains pictures and inscriptions only about Nefertari and none related to the King or the gods.

Visiting the Valley of the Queens

If you are thinking of visiting the valley of the queens, take note that it may not seem as glorious as one might think at first glance. The idea behind burying the queens and their belongings in a secluded place like the valley was to hide them from looters. Because of how huge and open the area is, the guards could not possibly have made any difference.

At first, the valley seems like any other place in Egypt because of its red rocks and sand, but once you enter through the grotto, you might start to sense the enormity of it all. The Egyptian government has done an excellent job in preserving what was left of the valley, the tombs and their contents.

You can see the decorated walls full of incantations and drawings. For a deeper experience, the inside of the valley is equipped with various story-telling aides that enable the viewer to fully submerge in the story of the dead. Overall, it is surely an amazing experience and a must-visit whenever you happen to be traveling to the country.

Other Burial Sites Near the Valley of the Queens

The valley of the queens is surrounded by smaller burial complexes and worship sites. These complexes are thought to be built much later than the original tombs inside the valley.

The subsidiary valleys or the complexes present at the site famously include:

  • The Valley of Prince Ahmose
  • The Valley of the Rope
  • The Valley of the Three Pits
  • The Valley of the Dolmen

There are 19 tombs present in these smaller complexes. Apart from these, the valley of kings is also present at a short distance from the valley of the queens. The valley of kings is the final resting place of many famous pharaohs such as Tutankhamun, Seti I and Ramses II.

Conclusion

Valley of the queensIn conclusion, the valley of the queens is an extraordinary place built as a final resting place for female Egyptian royalties.

Here are the most important points we learned from the article above:

  • The valley of the queens is a burial site for female Egyptian royalties.
  • The valley consists of royalties from the 18th to 20th century.
  • There are 91 tombs inside the valley.
  • The valley was discovered by the Italian Egyptologist Ernest Schiaparelli in 1904.
  • The valley of the kings is present in close proximity to the valley of the queens.
  • The biggest tomb in the valley belongs to Queen Nefertari.
  • UNESCO designated the valley of the queens as a World Heritage Site in 1979.

The architects of that time put a lot of thought and work into building and disguising the tombs of these important queens and princesses