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Valley of the Kings - Egypt

The Valley of the Kings, or Wadi al Muluk in Arabic, is a long, narrow steep-sided gorge just west of the River Nile in Upper Egypt, near to Luxor. Designated a World Heritage site as part of the ancient Thebes, it was the burial site of almost all the pharaohs of the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties (1539 to 1075 BC). Concealed in a lonely valley, pharaohs were interred in 62 known tombs sunk deep into the heart of the mountain. The plan and decoration of these tombs varies considerably but consists essentially of a descending corridor interrupted by deep shafts to baffle robbers and by pillared chambers or vestibules. At the far end of the corridor is a burial chamber with a stone sarcophagus in which the royal mummy was laid and store chambers around which furniture and equipment were stacked for the king's use in the next world. Walls were covered with sculptured and painted scenes depicting the dead king and astronomical figures often decorated the ceilings. Virtually all the tombs in the valley were robbed except the tomb of Tutankhamen (1333-23BC), whose treasures are now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The largest and most complex tomb contains the burial chambers of the 52 sons of Ramses II (1279-13).