The Valley of the Kings
The tombs of the early Egyptian pharaohs took the form of the pyramid, but their high visibility made them a magnet for robbers seeking to remove the precious objects buried to accompany the deceased pharaoh into the afterlife. The Valley of the Kings, hidden away in the Theban Hills, was chosen as the site of secret royal tombs built underground which would safeguard such treasures for eternity, and more than 60 pharaohs were eventually buried in this secluded necropolis on the West Bank of the Nile. With the spectacular exception of Tutankhamun's tomb, however, these hidden burial chambers failed to escape the attention of the robbers.
From the Visitors' Centre you approach the tombs either on foot or aboard an open-sided 'train' (on the road rather than on rails). Your entrance ticket allows you to visit three tombs (your guide will choose these for you, and the selection of tombs open for visiting varies from time to time). For an additional fee, payable on the spot, you may visit the recently-completed replica of the most famous tomb of all – that of the boy-king Tutankhamun, sensationally discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter.The original tomb is now off-limits.
Guides are no longer permitted to enter the tombs so they will give you information before you go inside each one. For the protection of the tomb painting, photography is not allowed in the tombs, nor in the valley itself (cameras should be left with your driver).