When you want to see spectacular architecture, you should join one of the Luxor tours that include visiting the Tomb of Nefertari. Located in the Valley of the Queens on the west bank of Luxor, its detailed paintings definitely carry the ‘wow’ factor from amongst all the tombs in Egypt.
The Great Queen
Nefertari was the first queen and most beloved wife of Ramesses the Great. In fact, her full name Nefertari Meritmut means ‘beautiful and beloved companion of Mut(goddess) While her background is not clear, she married Ramesses before he became king and bore him four sons and two or four daughters. She was not only beautiful but highly educated and able to read and write hieroglyphs, a rare skill. Though she didn’t rule on her own, she became very prominent in diplomatic work and corresponding with other royals.
Several paintings in tombs show Nefertari attending numerous religious and social functions with Ramesses highlighting her importance. Even her speech made when the king and queen visited to oversee the Erection of the Mast in a new temple has been recorded. She appears alongside the king in many statues in Luxor and Thebes.
The greatest honor bestowed on Nefertari was at Abu Simbel. The great temple bears two of her statues on either side of the entrance with Ramesses and the king’s son. Inside Nefertari is shown worshipping, playing an instrument, and accompanying her husband on different functions.
The small temple at Abu Simbel was dedicated to her and the goddess Hathor. This had never been done before in Egyptian history. Two huge statues of Nefertari equal in height to the king, stand in front of the small temple where she is shown wearing a long dress with a wig, cow horns, the solar disc, and tall feathers. The dedication text states that this temple is for Nefertari ‘for whose sake the sun does shine’.
Tomb of Nefertari and Graverobbers
The tomb of Nefertari is spread over 520 square meters making it one of the largest in the Valley of the Queens. Tragically the tomb was robbed of almost all of its treasures. The few remaining pieces were found when Ernesto Schiaparelli rediscovered the tomb in 1904. A pair of mummified legs believed to belong to Nefertari was all that remains today.
Restoration of History
But the real attraction for visitors is the tomb itself. Its artistic and architectural grandeur proved the great and endless love King Ramesses had for his wife. Showered with numerous titles, the wall paintings record her as an intelligent, beautiful, and fashionable queen. The level of detail and vibrancy of the colors of these paintings are amazing. In fact, none other match them for their beauty.
The tomb of Nefertari underwent restoration work and has been repeatedly opened and closed for the public. This is because the paintings are being damaged by salt, bacteria, and even humidity from human breath. That’s why the trip inside the tomb is restricted to ten minutes with no flash photography. But everything is worth visiting this stunning example of love preserved for all. No visit to the tombs can ever be complete without visiting the awesome tomb of Nefertari.