Valley of the Artisans (Deir el-Medina)

Valley of the Artisans (Deir el-Medina)

Valley of the Artisans (Deir el-Medina)
Historic Sites • Ancient Ruins
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576 reviews
Very good

Musicians Mum
279 contributions
Apr 2022
These tombs were created by the men who worked on the tombs of the kings during their free time.Why?Because they lived secluded in the village (the ruins are visible),unable to travel in case the locations of the kings tombs were inadvertantly discovered!
Unlike the kings tombs,these tombs show visions of the afterlife and also parts of daily life.They are much smaller but well worth visit.
These artisans were able to read and write heiraglyphs as well as design ,paint,excavate,carve and would pass on their skils through the generations.
Visited this as an add on to a small group tour from UK.
Did not have time to investigate the ruins of the actual village so not sure if you are allowed in there or just have to view from the pathway.
Written April 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Berlin, Germany31 contributions
Jan 2020
For a quieter experience to see ancient Egyptian tombs, you would do well to consider the Diet el Medina site in the west bank. The walls are beautifully decorated with scenes of daily life and the paint colors are still vivid. Well worth your time.
Written January 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Michael W
Redding, CT1,044 contributions
Jan 2022 • Friends
We weren’t expecting too much from this visit as it was just the last stop on our ‘in depth West Bank of the Nile’ tour. However, it turned out to be a highlight of the day. The ‘workers’ village’ covered a large area but the two tombs just above it were such a pleasant surprise. These are tombs of viziers etc but are amazingly decorated and in incredible condition, in view of them being over 3000 years old.
Written January 31, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cairo, Egypt408 contributions
Jan 2019 • Family
I recommend this site if you have 2 days you can spend in Luxor. The only problem we had with this site was finding the ticket window. We had to back track about 1 km to buy our tickets. If you only have one day you can spend in Luxor, go to Hatshepsut, Valley of the Kings, Temple of Madinat Habu, and the Sound and Light Show at Karnak Temple. The sound and light show at Karnak is the best ancient Egypt experience. If you're a student, bring your student ID because anyone over age 12 will be required to show a student ID
Written January 17, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Copenhagen2,186 contributions
When entering Deir el-Medina (the modern Arabic name for the ruins of the village of the artisans), you have probably already visited the large tombs of the kings over in Valley of the Kings. If you ever wondered what those artisans did when they were not building for the king, you can see it here. They built tombs for themselves.

At first sight there is not much to see in Deir el-Medina. From the small parking lot, you walk a few meters to the wall enclosing the rather dull looking remains of the artisans houses. Here lived an average of 60 families through most of what Egyptologists call New Kingdom (from circa 1500 - 1000 BC). The men were employed more or less directly by pharao to build his tomb in Valley of the Kings, and they spent much of their work week in a base camp half way between the village and the Valley of the Kings. Remains of the camp can still be seen if you want to venture across the mountains (do not do this during the midday heat, early mornings are best). During the work week the wives, the children and the elderly lived in the village, looking after household chores etc.

During the weekends the artisans went home and worked on their own tombs. The tombs are very tiny, often cut deeply into the soft rock, and decorated in the most delicate manner. The hillside is dotted with artisan's tombs, but only three of them are open to the public:

The Tomb of Pashedu (Tomb number TT 3), The Tomb of Sennedjem (Tomb number TT 1) and finally The Tomb of In herkhau (Tomb number TT 359).

In Pashedu's tomb you will see exquisite paintings of Anubis (a jackal associated with the god of embalming) resting, of various other gods, for instance Osiris, god of the netherworld, sitting on a throne. The most famous painting from this tomb is the one showing Pashedu kneeling underneath a palm-tree planted on the edge of a dam. The hieroglyphic texts behind this scene is from The Book of the Dead.

Sennedjem's tomb is cut deep into the hillside. You then enter a small principal chamber painted with a beautiful yellow background color. The paintings are of various gods and goddesses and of Sennedjem and his wife. Even though the tombs of Deir el-Medina er very small, it was not unusual for several members of one family to be buried in the same tomb. In Sennedjem's tomb there were found at least 20 mummies.

The last tomb available for visitors is Inherkhau's tomb. The wall paintings are somewhat ruined, but there are many wonderful details. Look at the patterns on the ceiling, made to look like carpets or mats. One of the famous scenes in this tomb is the one showing the cat of Heliopolis (associated with the sun) slaying the snake called Apohis, who was, actually, the arch enemy of the sun.

All the tombs are rather small, and it is not adviceable for people suffering from claustrophobia to try and enter these tombs. You have to climp deeply and steeply to reach the tomb chambers.

At the opposite end of the ruins of the village lies a much younger temple. It is from the Ptolemaic Period (circa 331 - 31 BC) and is dedicated the goddess Hathor.

A large pit near the village was found in the early 1900's containg thousands of ostraca, limestone flakes, with journals, letters, accounts etc from Deir el-Medina, giving the scientists a very good idea about what life was like in Ancient Egypt between 1500 - 1000 BC.

The bookshop sells excellent books on Deir el-Medina and Egyptology in general, postcards and refreshments. And there is plenty of shade next to the bookshop. Go to Deir el-Medina for a glimpse into the daily life of an Ancient Egyptian. Bring a trustworthy guidebook.
Written May 20, 2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Aldershot, UK155 contributions
Last week I visited the Valley of the Artisans near Luxor. It is close to the more famous Valley of the Kings.

The Valley of the Artisans is an amazing place, for here the men lived who decorated the nearby royal tombs. They worked for nine days and on their day off they worked on their own tombs. The surviving tomb decorations are quite beautiful, showing scenes from the everyday lives of the occupants, as well as the usual collection of Egyptian gods.

The remains of the village itelf are fascinating, with 3000 year old pieces of ancient Egyptian pottery covering the ground. While you're there take a look at the mini-pyramids and the Ptolemaic temple.

Glenn Christodoulou
Written September 2, 2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Warren, MA9,403 contributions
My visit to Deir al-Medina was on a March mid-morning and already the sun was hot. Most of the village is excavated and visitors can clearly see rooms, stairways, small open courts, streets, and other details that bring daily life for these people within our grasp.

I visited two of the workmen's tombs in the necropolis above...the Tomb of Sennedjem and the Tomb of Inherkhau. Both were small and accessed by narrow and steep stairs down into the rock. Only fifteen visitors were allowed inside at one time and visitors are advised to watch their footing as steps are uneven.

The freshness of the painting in Sennedjem's tomb (No. 1) is remarkable. The yellow ochre walls depict Sennedjem and his wife worshipping the gods, picking fruit, and tilling the fields. There are farm animals, birds, lush countrysides, and domestic scenes in clear view. Plexi-glass screens protect the painting from those who might want to touch. This is probably the best preserved tomb I visited while in Egypt and I suggest that any visitor try to see it.

The Tomb of Inherkhau (No. 359) is not in the same pristine condition, but it's also good to see. In the upper chamber is a very fine ceiling painting of grapes ready for harvest and just beyond is the famous cat of Heliopolis in the burial chamber. This tomb belonged to the "foreman of the mayor of the Two Lands."

Once back out of the tomb, visit the open air bookshop shaded by a roof. The views of the village from here are quite good and the books, post cards, and other items on sale are fixed price. I bought a very nice guide of the Luxor sites by Kent Weeks who has been excavating KV5 for almost fifteen years now.

Don't miss this site.
Written April 7, 2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

St Minver, UK229 contributions
Sep 2018 • Couples
The visit to Deir el-Medina was very interesting and unexpectedly impressive.

After visiting the wonderful Valley of the Kings, this site provided wonderful background about the labourers, builders and craftsmen who worked at the various funereal valleys. The ruins of their village are amazingly still well preserved and the two tombs that we visited were beautiful. The colours of the walls were so vivid and beautiful.

There were hardly no other visitors during the hour that we spent here but we would not have missed it.
Written October 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Hubei, China22 contributions
Jul 2015 • Friends
No-one ever goes here anymore, so the guides there are very, very attentive - and will expect a large tip. Inside the tombs there are incredible paintings and the colours are outstanding - there is nothing like it in any other tomb or monument in Egypt. The little village is also interesting, made out of adobe bricks and still standing after 3000 or so years. Well worth the trip to west bank :)
Written July 8, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Valencia, Spain64 contributions
Jul 2013 • Couples
Most guides will only tell you about the tomb that's right next to the entrance. But there are actually four tombs that may be open (not necessarily all at the same time). Three tombs were open at the time of my visit (in July).

Two of the four tombs are side by side next to the entrance. Inerkhau (TT359) was closed, but that's OK because it's the least impressive of the four. The other tomb, the most famous one, is that of Sennedjem (TT1) (see my review).

Standing in front of these two tombs and facing them, you'll see immediately to your right a small closed gate and a path that leads up towards the back area of the tombs. This is where you'll find Pashedu (TT3). The guards at the entrance might pretend that the tomb is closed to avoid having to walk up to show you where it is. Just insist a little and they'll lead you there (for a small baksheesh of course). Don't miss this one. It's exquisite, with a pair of Anubis painted on either side of the tunnel walls guarding the back room.

The last tomb, Irynefer (TT290) is right next to the temple. The temple is something else that guides may fail to show you because it's at the far end of the site. The temple is small, but its deep reliefs on the inside are beautifully detailed. Well worth a visit. Photos are permitted.

The main ticket includes the temple and the tombs except that of Pashedu which requires a separate ticket. If you just wish to walk around the workers' village, it's free.

Walking to VK:
If you've read my review on the Valley of the Kings, and wish to walk all the way to VK via the back entrance, this is where the trail starts. This trail follows the same ancient path that the tomb builders and artisans used on their way to work 3,500 years ago. It is permitted to walk this route. In fact, there are a few modern huts dotted along the way with a guard in each. They're there to help you. The full trek only takes an hour.

Just to the West of Deir el-Medina, is the start of the trail, which is clearly visible. The start of the trail has been rebuilt into modern steps that lead to the first hut to the North. Continuing North you'll see some more steps and a second hut. Don't go up this second set of steps. Instead, take the path that branches off to the right (North-East) which follows the ridge of the mountain. The drop of the ridge will always be on your right as well as a view of the Nile. Keep going along the ridge for some time until you come across a series of large floodlights inside boxes. Just before the first box, take a sharp left up the mountain (there's a clear short trail) and you'll be treated to a magnificent view of the Valley of the Kings.

Once there, don't forget to spot the mountain that's shaped like a pyramid, which is said to be a potential reason for the chosen location of the pharaohs' secret tombs.
Written December 31, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Valley of the Artisans (Deir el-Medina), Luxor

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