Egypt 2010 #1 – The Colossi of Memnon
We hit the ground running on our first full day with a trip to the Valley of the Kings. With mid-day temperatures in the Luxor region reaching 45°C or thereabouts we were expected to make an extremely early start. The alarm went off at 5am, a quick breakfast on the ship then onto the coach.
It is a fairly short journey from the ship over the bridge to the west bank of the Nile and on to the Valley of the Kings. Very annoyingly you are not allowed to take photos there and we were instructed to leave our cameras on the coach. The tour guides want you to buy the official photos although I don’t think anyone on our trip bothered. No huge loss. The valley itself is just so much rock and sand with a hilly peak in the background and entrances to tombs dotted randomly around the place. The use of the area for burials of Pharaohs dates from the reign of Thutmose I who was the first bright spark to notice that all his predecessors with their showy pyramids were leaving thieves in no doubt where to go find some buried treasure. Building an impressive tomb underground in an unknown place was supposed to thwart the tomb robbers, but all Thutmose’s successors used the same area and the secret got out. From then it was back to business as usual for the thieves.
On the way to the Valley we stopped at the Colossi of Memnon, where you are allowed to take pictures. These two 60ft statues of a seated Amenhotep III originally ornamented the front facade of the latter’s mortuary temple. The statues are all that is left to look at now, although there are excavation works going on behind.
In the photo above you can just see a sheep coming out from behind the statue to the right. Here are the rest of them.
The carvings on the side of one of the statues:
The statues are literally just by the side of a road, with handy car park and cafe.