Valley of The Queen, also known as Biban el-Harim, Biban el-Sultanat, and Wadi el-Melikat,
is a place in Egypt where wives of Pharaohs were buried in ancient times.
In ancient times,
it was known as Ta-Set-Neferu, meaning – ‘the place of the Children of the Pharaoh’, because along with the Queens of the 18th
many princes and princesses were also buried with various members of the nobility.
The tombs of these individuals were maintained by mortuary priests whom performed daily rituals
and provided offerings and prayers for the deceased nobility.
Valley of The Queen
The valley is located near the better known
Valley of the Kings on the west bank of the Nile across from Thebes (modern Luxor) .
This barren area in the western hills was chosen due to its relative isolation and proximity to the capital.
The kings of the 18th dynasty, instead of the traditional building of pyramids as burial chambers ,
now chose to be buried in rock-cut tombs.
This necropolis is said to hold more than seventy tombs, many of which are stylish and lavishly decorated.
An example of this is the resting place carved out of the rock for Queen Nefertari (1290-1224 BCE) of the 19th Dynasty.
The polychrome reliefs in her tomb are still in tact.
Tomb of Nefertari
Nefertari also known as Nefertari Merytmut
was one of the Great Royal Wives (or principal wives) of Ramesses the Great.
Nefertari means ‘Beautiful Companion’ and Meritmut means ‘Beloved of the Goddess Mut’.
She is one of the best known Egyptian queens, next to Cleopatra, Nefertiti and Hatshepsut.
Her lavishly decorated tomb, QV66, is the largest and most spectacular in the Valley of the Queens.
Ramesses also constructed a temple for her at Abu Simbel next to his colossal monument here.
Although Nefertari’s origins are unknown,
the discovery from her tomb of a knob inscribed with the cartouche of Pharaoh Ay has led people to speculate she was related to him.
The time between the reign of Ay and Ramesses II means that Nefertari could not be a daughter of Ay and if any relation exists at all,
she would be a great-granddaughter.
Nefertari had at least four sons and two daughters. Amun-her-khepeshef,
the eldest was Crown Prince and Commander of the Troops, and Pareherwenemef would later serve in Ramesses II’s army.
Prince Meryatum was elevated to the position of High Priest of Re in Heliopolis. Inscriptions mention he was a son of Nefertari.
Prince Meryre is a fourth son mentioned on the facade of the small temple at Abu Simbel and is thought to be another son of Nefertari.
Meritamen and Henuttawy are two royal daughters depicted on the facade of the small temple at Abu Simbel and are thought to be daughters of Nefertari.
the tomb of Nefertari, the Great Wife of Ramesses II,
in Egypt’s Valley of the Queens. It was discovered by Ernesto Schiaparelli (the director of the Egyptian Museum in Turin) in 1904.
It is called the Sistine Chapel of Ancient Egypt.
The most important and famous of Ramesses’s consorts was discovered by Ernesto Schiaparelli in 1904.
Although it had been looted in ancient times, the tomb of Nefertari is extremely important,
because its magnificent wall painting decoration is regarded as one of the greatest achievements of ancient Egyptian art.
A flight of steps cut out of the rock gives access to the antechamber,
which is decorated with paintings based on chapter 17 of the Book of the Dead.