Valley of the Queens

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Burial place on the west bank of the Nile opposite Thebes, roughly a kilometre to the northwest of Medinet Habu. A number of the earliest tombs were constructed here in the late 17th and early 18th Dynasties, most of them for officials; among them, however, is the tomb of a daughter of King Seqenenre (17th Dynasty). In the 19th and 20th Dynasties this was the most important burial area for the wives, sons and daughters of the kings. There are about 80 tombs in all, most of which are not inscribed. Usually, the tombs of the queens consists of two large, square chambers, linked by a corridor, sometimes with smaller side rooms. The most famous tomb in the Valley of the Queens is that of Nefertari, the most important wife of Ramesses II. The tomb contains many wonderful wall paintings showing the queen in the company of various gods, as well as scenes from the Book of the Dead. In the mid 1990s, this tomb was reopened to the public on a limited scale after more than 20 years of restoration. In one of the valleys behind the Valley of the Queens is a tomb of Hatshepsut from the period before she became queen, and the tomb of her daughter Neferure; there are also some tombs of female relatives of Tuthmosis III here.