Today we awake with the sun, all of us eager to get as much site-seeing in as possible on this, our last day in Luxor. The hazy dawn casts hues of purple, pink and orange on the sky now dotted with hot air balloons rising through the morning air, their passengers hoping to get a glimpse of the verdant Nile Valley and Luxor’s magnificent pharaonic temples. While crowds of tourists are beginning their jaunt to magnificent Luxor Temple, Karnark Temple and the Valley of the Kings, our destination today is more remote and happily more exclusive…. the illustrious tomb of Nefertari, favorite wife of Ramses the Great.
Our approach to the Valley of the Queens takes us past the impressive Colossi of Memnon, the last standing vestiges of Amenhotep III’s great mortuary temple, all but destroyed by the floodplain over time. We stop for
our customary photo op and imagine the grandeur of what once stood here. At the Valley of the Queens, the path splinters up a small hill and we are waived past the surprisingly simple chained gate up to a thatched seating area where we await the okay to enter. Other tourists group watch and wonder why we have been able to pass and a small part of me relishes their looks of envy. Given the tomb’s fragility, only ten of us can enter at a time and
we are only allowed to stay for a few precious minutes. But, oh, what glory we witnessed in those few minutes, what indescribable beauty. The white walls in this “house of eternity” are covered with the most exquisite paintings and graphics this three-time traveler to Egypt has ever seen. The colors – green, yellow, blue, red and black – leap out at you, so fresh and vibrant that they seem to have been painted only yesterday. As we walk through the chambers we see the height of artistic expression depicting Nefertari’s journey after death to the afterlife, guided by various guardian-spirits and deities, including Isis, Hathor, and Osiris.
In ancient Egyptian, the name Nefertari means “the most beautiful,” so I guess it’s no wonder that this tomb far exceeds any other in both beauty and elegance. Now it’s on to Aswan….
Travel with Far Horizons to Egypt in 2013!