Difference between revisions of "Luxor/Western Valley"
Revision as of 22:46, 1 September 2010
The Western Valley (Arabic Wadi al-Gurud) is an Egyptian archaeological locality situated adjacent to Luxor's Valley of the Kings and contains a number of remarkable pharaonic burials additional to the main Valley.
The Western Valley is also known in Arabic as the Wadi al-Gurud (the "Valley of the Monkeys"), on account of the representations of baboons in several tomb paintings found within the wadi.
The Western Valley is nowhere near so commonly accessed by tourist parties as the Valley of the Kings, being located somewhat 'off the beaten track' (see below, Get in). The Valley is nonetheless well worth a visit by the determined traveller: its relative quiet and isolation help to evoke the silent and haunting atmosphere at one time characteristic of the main King's Valley (believed by ancient Egyptians to have been watched over by the protective goddess Meretseger, whose name translates as "she who loves silence").
The Western Valley is accessed by a winding dirt and stone road that begins at the car park of the Valley of the Kings. Visitors must walk for some 2 km between massive boulders, under towering rock cliffs, in order to reach the tombs; although some taxis will take you all the way into the valley. The road is not suitable for cycling. Check at the ticket office for the status of the tombs (open / closed) before entering the Valley. You can sometimes also negotiate with a main Valley tomb guard at the entrance to accompany you and open the tombs - he will definitely expect a respectable baksheesh in these circumstances (try to negotiate beforehand in order to avoid later embarrassment).
A security policeman, complete with sub-machine gun, may also accompany you into the valley for your safety.
Western Valley tombs that are officially open to public view are theoretically open daily, 6am-6pm (summer) and 9am-5pm (winter) - but see the caveat under "Get in" above. Admission LE 10, by means of ticket from the main Ticket Office (ensure you carry some baksheesh for the guard when visiting the Western Valley).
The tombs in the Western Valley have been catalogued under WV numbers (WV = Western Valley), mirroring the KV system in the main Valley of the Kings.