Tomb of - Valley of the Queens
Valley of the Queens, also known by the names Biban el-Sultanat, Biban el- Harim and Wadi el-Malikat is located on the west bank of the river Nile in Egypt. The necropolis has more than seventy tombs, most of which are very lavishly and beautifully decorated. The tomb where Queen Nefertari, who lived from 1290-1224 BCE, is a true example of distinct beauty built in the 19th dynasty.
Who was Nefertari?
Nefertari Merytmut, which means Beautiful Companion or Beloved of Mut, lived in the 19th dynasty and was the royal wife of Ramesses I. She is the best known of Egyptian queens, just after Cleopatra. The queen was adorned and honored with many titles during her life some of which were Sweet of Love, Great of Praises, Great King’s wife, Lady of the Two Lands and many others. Nefertari and Ramesses are said to have at least six children, four sons and two daughters.
Tomb of Nefertari
Referred as QV66, Nefertari’s tomb is among the most spectacular, lavishly and beautifully decorated tombs located in the Valley of the Queens. The tomb was first discovered in 1904 by Ernesto Schiaparelli. The tomb has a long staircase beginning from the entrance and ending into a hall that is 17x17.5 feet. The hall contains rock cut bench and cavetto cornice to keep funerary items.
The tomb QV 66 resembles a house and has intimacy which is rare to be found in any ancient tomb of Egypt. There are pictures from the queen’s life and her journey hereafter. Also, the walls of the burial chamber have poetry which was written by Ramesses II for his beloved wife. Since Nefertari was not a Pharaoh, her tomb QV 66 does not contain any images from her daily life. Also, the text found on the walls was very restricted. The text that was found on the walls was from the Book of the Dead.
Temple of Nefertari in Abu Simbel
The Temple of Nefertari is the smaller of the two temples that were built by Ramesses II in Abu Simbel. Built in the honor of Nefertari and Goddess Hathor, the temple is the second of its kind in Egyptian history which was dedicated to a queen. The temple has a number of statues, images, inscriptions and hieroglyphics showing Ramesses II’s heroic acts and Nefertari paying homage to the gods are present.
Present day situation
The tomb was unfortunately robbed for all its treasures by tomb robbers. The mummy and sarcophagus too of Nefertari were stolen. Some pieces of the mummy which were found at the tomb are on display at Turin in the Egyptian Museum.
The tomb of Nefertari was opened for public in the year 1995, but was again closed in 2003 due to the preservation of the place. People on specialized tours however are still allowed with special permits. Even the limited numbers of tourists have a consequence on the surface of the paintings. Their moist bacteria-laden breath causes mould to grow on the surface; the tomb is after all a closed environment. Thus, to preserve the same no visitors are allowed in.