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Nefertari (Valley Of The Queens - QV66)

The Valley of the Queens is located on the west bank of the river Nile in Egypt. It is also known as Biban el-Sultanat, Biban el- Harim and Wadi el-Malikat.

The necropolis has more than seventy tombs, most of which are very lavishly and beautifully decorated. The tomb of Queen Nefertari (1290-1224 B.C.), is a true example of distinct beauty from the 19th dynasty.



Who Was Nefertari?


Nefertari Merytmut, meaning "Beautiful Companion or Beloved of Mut," lived during the 19th dynasty and was the royal wife of Ramesses I. She is the best known of Egyptian queens, just after Cleopatra. The queen was adorned and honored with many titles during her life, including |Sweet of Love, Great of Praises," "Great King’s wife," "Lady of the Two Lands" and many others. Nefertari and Ramesses are said to have at least six children: four sons, and two daughters.


The Tomb of Nefertari


Referred to as QV66, Nefertari’s tomb is among the most spectacular, lavishly and beautifully decorated tombs in the Valley of the Queens. The tomb was first discovered in 1904 by Ernesto Schiaparelli. It has a long staircase beginning from the entrance and ends in a hall that is 17x17.5 feet big. The hall contains a rock cut bench and cavetto cornice to keep funerary items.


QV 66 resembles a house and has an intimacy which is rarely found in ancient Egyptian tombs. There are pictures from the queen’s life and her journey through the hereafter. Also, the walls of the burial chamber have poetry which was written by Ramesses II for his beloved wife. Since Nefertari was not a Pharaoh, her tomb QV 66 does not contain any images from her daily life. Also, the text found on the walls was restricted to some verses from the Book of the Dead.


Unfortunately the tomb was robbed of all its treasures in the ancient past. The mummy and sarcophagus of Nefertari were stolen as well. Some pieces of the mummy which were found at the tomb are on display at Turin in the Egyptian Museum. The tomb of Nefertari was opened to the public in the year 1995 but was again closed in 2003 due to preservation work. People on specialized tours, however, are still allowed with special permits. Even the limited numbers of tourists have an impact on the surface of the tomb's paintings. Their moist, bacteria-laden breath causes mold to grow on the surface. The tomb is, after all, a closed environment. Thus, to preserve its airtight status no visitors are allowed into the tomb itself.


Temple of Nefertari in Abu Simbel


The Temple of Nefertari is the smaller of two temples built by Ramesses II in Abu Simbel. Built in the honor of Nefertari and Goddess Hathor. This temple is the second of its kind in Egyptian history which was dedicated to a queen.The temple has a number of statues, images, inscriptions and hieroglyphics showing Ramesses II’s heroic acts and Nefertari paying homage to the gods.

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