It is the necropolis dedicated to the princesses and wives of the pharaohs who ruled in the period of the New Empire, although the mummies of some princes have also been found. It is located southwest of the Valley of the Kings, opposite the city of Luxor (an area chosen for its proximity to the ancient city of Thebes) on what represents the west bank of the Nile River.

Introduction

The Egyptian name is Ta Set Neferu, meaning “the place of beauty”, while its current Arabic name is Biban el-Harim. It is a part of the archaeological complex of Ancient Thebes with all its necropolis, which in 1979 was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

Although more than sixty tombs have already been discovered in the Valley of the Queens, few are currently open for tourist visits, as some are in the process of being restored and refurbished, while others are still being investigated by specialized personnel.

The tombs of the Valley of the Queens were discovered by different explorers and in very different decades. Belzoni discovered that of Tyti in 1816, John Gardiner Wilkinson found 24 tombs in 1828 and Champollion and Rosellini identified others in 1829, while Carl Richard Lepsius made an exhaustive inventory of objects. But it was the Italians Ernesto Schiaparelli and Francesco Ballerini who led a systematic excavation of the Valley of the Queens between 1901 and 1903 and found the most valuable piece: the tomb of Nefertari, which experts consider to be the most valuable piece of the tomb. the most beautiful jewel of the Theban necropolis with paintings that, for the first time in all ancient Egyptian art, stand out for giving relief to the figures, specifically to the queen’s face, with shadows on her cheekbones or on the corner of her lips.

Interesting facts about the Valley of the Queens

  • Protagonism of Nefertari. While in the Valley of the Kings there are several tombs of pharaohs that compete for prominence, in the Valley of the Queens it is clear from the beginning that the most important tomb is that of Nefertari. It was built in 1290 BC by order of Ramses II for his favorite wife and is 27 meters deep. It is believed that it was full of treasures that were stolen in successive looting and the only thing Schiaparelli saw upon entering is the decoration of all its walls and the pictorial representations of Nefertari interacting with the gods of the Egyptian pantheon and hieroglyphic transcriptions of the Book of the Dead.
  • Tombs under the rocks. As is the case with the Valley of the Kings, in the Valley of the Queens the tombs are excavated in the rock by decision of the pharaohs of the XVIII dynasty, who broke with the traditional construction of pyramids for fear of looters and plunderers.
  • The sons of Ramses III. Amunherjepshef, one of the sons of Ramses III, was a teenager when he died, as evidenced by one of the paintings found in his tomb in which the pharaoh is seen holding his son’s hand to present him to the gods and asking them to help him on his journey to the afterlife. Jaemwaset, another son of Ramses III, was also buried in a tomb full of brightly colored and very well preserved reliefs.
  • A valley of other valleys. The Valley of the Queens is the main valley and the most important, but also hosts other minor valleys: Valley of Prince Ahmose, Valley of the Dolmen (whose name is due to its proximity to some rocks with that shape), Valley of the Rope (where Coptic ropes were found), Valley of the Great Cascade (so named because it formed a torrent in the rainy season), Valley of the Three Wells (where three tombs were found in wells and also preserves the ruins of the Coptic monastery of Deir el Rumi).

How to get to the Valley of the Queens

The Valley of the Queens is located on the west bank of the Nile River, very close to the city of Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. You can go to Luxor by an overnight train from Cairo or a 2-hour direct flight and, upon arrival in Luxor, you can visit the Valley of the Queens by another train or hire a guided tour service that also includes transportation. The two valleys are usually visited together, the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, in the same excursion.

Schedules

It is open daily from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Visit prices

If you go on your own to the Valley of the Queens, the normal entrance fee for adults is 80 EGP, while for students it is 40 EGP. If you want to visit the tomb of Nefertari, which we recommend, the entrance fee to the enclosure plus the tomb is 1,000 EGP.

If you do the excursion Valley of the Queens plus Valley of the Kings, the prices will depend on the type of service you have contracted, whether or not it includes a guided tour, type of entrance and transfer to where you are staying.

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