There are two options - either to drive 12 miles (20 kilometers) across the nearest bridge or to take a walk along the Nile. We chose the second option.
In my understanding, the Nile was something like a holy river and I had a reverential attitude to it. In fact, it turned out to be quite an ordinary river, which is incredibly dirty. Why did the Egyptians make their only historical source of water dirty - that's not clear to me. You see garbage, oil spots from boats just everywhere.
Although the views are beautiful, almost like in school history textbooks.
A lot of boats stand along the banks.
And a lot of river cruise ships. Previously, the Nile cruises were very popular, but the number of tourists in
really decreased after the Egyptian revolution (and before that, after several acts of terrorism). That's why many of these ships have found their eternal moorage here...
Next on the route, we went to the Valley of the Kings. Again - in my mind, it was something sacred and monumental. In general, the whole trip was accompanied by a certain feeling of disappointment. Everything was not like I expected it to be, but not less interesting.
The Valley of the Kings itself is a valley where the tombs for the burial of the pharaohs were built. This place is quite remote and hidden, so the threat of the tombs' pillage was diminished. Since the late 18th-century active archeological research began here, and it continues up to this day.
One of the most famous tombs here is the tomb of Tutankhamun, which was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922. The tomb was practically untouched, and actually, its discovery has changed the history.
For some reason, we weren't allowed to take pictures not only inside the tombs but also outside. So, unfortunately, there are no colorful photos, but I think, you'll understand the general picture.
The valley is surrounded by rocks and by the desert. A new tomb can be under each of the hills or deeper under a layer of sand.
Entrance to the tomb was not decorated but rather walled up to not be found by robbers.
Essentially, the tombs are similar inside. Everywhere you'll see a fairly steep narrow corridor decorated from all sides with hieroglyphs and one or several cameras with sarcophagi at the back of it.
Also, what I didn't like was the incredible heat. It was almost impossible to find any shade. And I'm not talking about covered tracks with fans and water sprayers, such as in the Walt Disney World.
After the Valley of the Kings, we arrived at the Temple of Hatshepsut (one of the few female pharaohs), which was built in the 15th century BC.
Lonely cafe with awning caught our attention and we stopped there to drink Karkade tea and to rest.
In the rocks around it, you can see devastated tombs... I think no one knows how many of them are there...
Based from what I understood, the complex was restored the same way as the Karnak Temple.
To be honest, we were too lazy to go inside as it was too hot and one local resident explained to us that there was nothing special to look at.
And here is another picture of the only one cafe from the other angle. You can see a lot of tombs above the cafe.
Here you can see the dessert and tombs again.
And here are architectural structures.
On the way back we came across the 21-meter high singing Colossi of Memnon. They are called singing, because, during an earthquake in the year 27 BC, the northern Colossus cracked and began to give a groan every morning at dawn (whether because of the wind or because of the evaporation of moisture inside the stone). The sounds stopped in 199 AD when the emperor Septimius Severus ordered to gather the cracked parts. The tone emitted by the statue was considered a benchmark for tuning musical instruments all over the ancient world (Wikipedia).
Colossi "guard" the entrance to the memorial temple of Amenhotep.
The remains of the temple are visible in the center of the photo. It was huge (350 000 square meters), that is more than the size of the Karnak Temple, but only fragments have survived till our days.
By the way, 2 sphinxes from the temple were bought from the Egyptians and settled in 1834 on Universitetskaya Embankment in St. Petersburg.