Valley of the Kings - History and Facts | History Hit

Valley of the Kings

Al Qurna, Luxor Governate, Egypt

The Valley of the Kings is a major royal Ancient Egyptian burial site in Luxor and part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt, was once part of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes. From the Eighteenth Dynasty to the Twentieth, the pharaohs of Egypt were buried in the Valley of the Kings, which is also known as the Valley of the Gates of the Kings.

History of Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings was the burial site of almost all of the pharaohs of the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties (1539-1075 BCE), from Thutmose I to Ramses X. Located in the hills behind Dayr al-Baḥrī, there are 62 known tombs which are both geographically and ornamentally varied.

Eighteenth Dynasty tombs include those of Amenhotep III (in the west valley), Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, and Thutmose IV. Some of the most famous figures of Ancient Egypt are buried at the Valley of the Kings, including the boy king Tutankhamun, Ramses the Great, Ramesses IV, and Tuthmosis III.

Over time, most of the tombs at the site have been pillaged or, in the 21st century, systematically denuded of their contents as a means of protection. The only tomb which escaped this is the little tomb of Tutankhamun, which was protected by a pile of rock chippings thrown down from a later tomb.

The treasures which were exhumed from Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 vividly indicate how rich the burial of a great pharaoh of the empire must have been in its heyday.

The Valley of the Kings has almost 30 tombs in all and, together with Luxor, the Valley of the Queens, and Karnak, forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. This site also features as one of our Top ten tourist attractions in Egypt.

Valley of the Kings Today

Today, visitors flock to see the myriad of ancient tombs cut into the limestone of the Valley of the Kings, which are mostly contained in its eastern valley.

It is worth hiring a guide from Egypt to take you around the site. For an even more in-depth experience, start in Cairo and take a cruise down the Nile, stopping off at sites such as a Nubian village and the pyramids along the way.

Getting to Valley of the Kings

From the centre of Luxor, the Valley of the Kings is reachable in around 45 minutes by car via the Aswan – Giza/Aswan Western Agricultural Rd/Luxor – Aswan roads.

History Hit’s ancient history expert, Tristan Hughes, digs deep into one of Ancient Egypt's greatest treasures, a site that ranks among the world’s most impressive religious sanctuaries in both its size, splendour and importance.
Watch Now

Featured In

Egyptian Sites

From the world famous pyramids of Giza to the mask of Tutankhamen at Cairo's Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, follow in the footsteps of the pharaohs in our guide to the best Ancient Egyptian attractions to see.

Egypt Historic Sites

Immerse yourself in the ancient land of pharaohs, exploring the greatest pyramids in the world at Giza to the sites of reflection at El Alamein, within this travel guide to the best Egyptian historic landmarks.