Be A Guest In The Homes Of The Ancient Egyptian Artisans Who Built The Dazzling Royal Tombs Then, What Will You Witness In Deir el-Medina!
ON the west bank of the Nile, specifically in the southern area of Theban Necropolis Luxor, the real builders of the majestic royal tombs in the New Kingdom ) (1541-1520 BE) settled down, where you can walk through the homes of these artisans and craftsmen of Thebes who creatively excavated, constructed, and decorated the valley of the Kings and the valley of the queens and their hands carry out bright unique inscriptions, and with subtly they were sculpting statues, furniture, and utensils to prepare the tomb of each Pharaoh according to his desire before death. It is Deir el-Medina, which is the Workmen’s Village that still maintains its luster with its pharaonic houses that are now open to the public.
Daily Life of Ancient Egyptians
So, while you wander through the dazzling treasure of the Valley of the Kings and the valley of the queens and their vibrant, colorful decorations that are still alive now and preserved in their condition as if they had just been engraved, Deir el-Medina get you the chance to witness the daily life of the ancient Egyptian men with their families in their REAL houses, who built and decorated these magnificent royal tombs. You will be surrounded by an integrated actual social life of these ancient Egyptian workers by crossing through 70 houses.
Within your tour inside these houses in Deir el-Medina, seeing their used tools of utensils and others, as well as their
furniture, you will meet a dry well with letters written by the inhabitants of this village in which they had shown how they lived in those houses, how cooked their food and raised their children, their habits, what were the daily problems and their issues and how they overcame them, in addition to their love stories.
You will be a witness of their life from the organization of work, passing through disputes, problems, and crimes, to funeral rites in cemeteries, that is how Deir el-Medina traces tell a different history for the ancient Egyptians than that left by the kings of the Pharaohs in their tombs.
Set-Ma’at (“The Place of Truth)
How will you feel while you walk through these streets of a real-entire Pharaonic village, Deir el-Medina, with its houses and cemeteries, and witness the details of life in it, to live a time of your life as if you were a real Pharaoh! What makes the matter greater is that you will share this time with the builders of the ancient Egyptian civilization.
Deir el-Medina was the village where the ancient Egyptians were inspired by the gods in creating the kings and their families tombs, and where they creatively designed these cemeteries and their treasure to be a “palace” that Pharaoh can return to on occasions after his death and where he would live in his afterlife, that is why this village was called by the ancient Egyptian Set-Ma’at, which means the place of the truth. About its known name now, which is Deir el-Medina, it is the recent name for the village.
How Will Be Your Attractive Tour inside The Houses of Deir el-Medina
You will go along with that historical wall that was built by those builders of the ancient Egyptian civilization, it is surrounding the village, as it is about 131 meters from north to south, 50 meters from east to west, divided into two equal parts and separated by a street that extends from north to south, to meet these historical adjacent houses.
You will realize that the pharaohs who inhabited this area were not left Spaces between each house and another. Often the two adjacent houses share one wall, and there are some houses built outside the village fence on the northern side, amounting to about 50 houses.
The houses have the same design that was most similar to the rest of the pharaonic houses. They overlook alleys, these houses have been covered to protect people from the sun’s rays, and their walls were painted white, while their doors were painted red and the name of the house’s owner was written over the door, and the houses were built with blank stone to a height of 150 cm above ground level, then they supplemented with mud bricks. The roofs are made of reinforced mud-brick with wooden supports.
From the street, you will enter the first room, where the altar is located inside what looks like flint and has an umbrella above it, and its walls are decorated with scenes of Gods. It contains the offerings tables, saddles, and utensils. Then we move to the second room, which is the largest and most beautiful room in the house.
Its ceiling is higher than the rest of the house’s ceilings. The lighting is provided to the room by a window with stone openings. The roof is usually raised over a column.
The main furniture in the room is the sofa, to receive guests, and a staircase goes down from the room leading to an underground warehouse to store all the precious possessions of the family, and the pantries are located at the back of the house.
Then you will go to the women room and then to the kitchen at the back of the house, and from it, you will reach the basement of the pots and jars, and from the kitchen, you can also reach the roof of the house, which was used as a place where the people relaxed and made conversations, and the kitchen includes baking and cooking tools, which are the millstones, in addition to water jars, and ovens. It is covered on one side by a window of tree branches to protect from the sun’s rays.
After your fabulous tour inside those real pharaonic houses that were built by the ancient Egyptians hands and their furniture carry the pharaonic prints while they practiced their daily life, which will captivate your soul, to wander in a remarkable historical period where you will be at the heart of Pharaonic life, you will find other ancient Egyptians buildings that express other parts of their daily life.
How will you meet In the Deir el-Medina Streets!
Attend the ancient Egyptian disputes, and cross through the ancient Egyptian court, which all its members from the people of the village, to settle the conflicts of the people and here you will live with them in their cases.
It had the right to impose the penalty and punishment on the accused and to pardon the oppressed, but the death penalty required taking the opinion of the minister, who also had the right to pardon. All these details you will see in the ruins of this court.
On your way in the Deir el-Medina village, that population approached one thousand and two hundred people; you will find a dry well with 5,000 pieces of pottery with various letters, inscriptions and drawings for families, and texts describing their daily lives.
A Temple with a Unique Layout
The same as you will live the daily life of the pharaohs in their houses and go around their streets, Deir el-Medina temple is where you witness the moments of the worship of the ancient Egyptians.
It is a Ptolemaic temple that was built and decorated in the 3rd century BC by Ptolemy IV and dedicated to the goddess Hathor, but this temple differs completely and partially from the rest of the Ptolemaic temples; it is surrounded by a high wall built with mud bricks, then the temple gate that leads us to a courtyard that still contains some traces of the Christian monastery, as the Copts of Egypt used it in ancient times as a church, then you will go to a colonnade hall and then another hall that in turn leads to the Holy of the Holiest.
On your way in Deir el-Medina, you will also find remnants of other smaller temples, including one built by Seti I and another from the reign of Amenhotep I. A small temple of the god Amun is also located to the east of the Temple of Hator, and it is believed that it was built during the reign of Ramses II.
How the Hands that Built the Dazzling tombs of kings excelled in Building Their Own Tombs inside Deir el-Medina
Tomb of Sennedjem
Sennedjem was a servant in the right place, and his tomb dates back to the nineteenth family. This tomb was discovered in 1886, and it contained a group of magnificent funeral furniture. Descending stairs in the outer courtyard of the cemetery will reach you to the burial chamber, which is a small room with a vaulted ceiling whose walls and ceiling, which are covered with beautiful scenes of bright colors.
A double view of the god Anubis in the image of a black jackal, and below this view, there is Sennedjem and behind
him his wife, while he worshiped a group of Deities of the other world, they had been depicted in two rows, all sitting on the symbol of Maat.
Going Deeper inside the Tomb
Then we move to the wall facing the inside and see a scene representing the god Anubis as it takes care of the mummy of the deceased lying on a bed that took the shape of a lion in addition to some texts from the Book of the Dead. Another scene representing the deceased sitting on the ground in front of the god of the dead, Osiris, standing in his white robe inside his cabin and in the center of the sacrificial table And a third scene represents the god Anubis leading Sennedjem.
On the other narrow wall, two monkeys worshiped the sun god inside his sacred boat, and below that, there are agricultural scenes from daily life and part of the yarrow fields that the deceased would like to go to in the afterlife.
We now move to the part to the right of the interior of the entrance wall, and we see the deceased and his wife worshiping ten different gods, and below this view is a traditional picture of relatives and followers holding the stems of papyrus.
The Tomb Ceiling
On the ceiling of the vaulted burial chamber, we see scenes divided into two rows; the outer row towards the entrance includes the following scenes in order, the god Ra Hor, followed by the god Atum sitting on a small calf and behind two trees, then Sennedjem while he worships the gods.
As for the scenes in the inner row, they represent the deceased and his wife worshiping the sacred tree, then while they are worshiping the gods of the sky.
Above the entrance wall of Peshedu’s tomb to the burial room, we can see a scene representing the god Ptah Sukkar in the image of a winged falcon inside a boat and in front of it, the son of Peshedu worshipes, and behind the boat there is another son prays to a group of deities depicted on the other wall. Below this view is on the right of the interior the image of the deceased, kneeling under a fruitful palm tree, to drink water from the lake.
Interior of the Tomb
On the left of the interior, on the same now to the southern wall as the entrance, there are three rows of relatives of the deceased, then you will find a wall, which is to the right of the interior. There is a scene that represents the deceased and his daughter while standing worshiping the gods Ra, Hur Akhti, Atum, Khubri, Ptah, and then we see on the two walls a view of the journey Holy to Abydos, where we see the deceased and his wife, with a child, and in front of them an offering table in a boat.
On the other narrow wall facing the inside, there is a scene representing the god Osiris sitting on his throne in front of a mountain, and behind Osiris, at the end of the burial room, we see the remains of the coffin, and it includes texts from the Book of the Dead and a scene representing Anubis as he took care of the mummy of the deceased lying on a bed.
On the southern half of the ceiling, we see images of the gods and goddesses Osiris, Nut, Shu, Nephthys, Geb, Anubis, and Ra, and on the northern half we see the other group of gods and goddesses consisting of Osiris, Jhoti, Hathor, Ra, Hor, and Anubis.
About Deir el-Medina History
Amenhotep I was the first planner for the site of Deir el-Medina. By the time of the New Kingdom (c.1570-c.1069 BC), tomb-robbing had spread more despite the false doors and labyrinths, which had been a part of tomb building since the Old Kingdom, but that was not enough trick in front of thieves to stop them from reaching the burial chamber and stole the vast treasures left there.
Kings Valley and Deir El Madina
So, the Valley of the Kings was selected to be the new secret necropolis for royalty that was why Amenhotep I thought in establishing Set-Ma’at, Deir el-Medina, to be the village of the workers and the engineers who were designing the afterlife for the pharaohs, they were called “Servants in place of Truth.” The aim of the planning for Deir el-Medina was the easy access om the worker’s home to the royal tombs. Deir el-Medina is a half-hour’s walk from the Valley of the Kings.
Deir el-Medina had still its role as a comfort houses for the Servants in place of Truth till Thutmose I, but with the collapse of the New Kingdom in 1069 BC, the city began to desert until it was completely empty, as the valley of the kings was abandoned as royal tombs, so the citizens of Deir el-Medina left for Thebes, specifically at the temple of Medinet Habu in 1069 BC.
But after a time, Deir el-Medina was resettled again by monks in the early Christian era in the 4th century CE.
The monks took over the Temple of Hathor for use as a cloister. The temple was referred to as Deir el-Medina (“Monastery of the Town”), and this name finally came to be applied to the entire site.
That is how Deir el-Medina will be a remarkable experience you will experience living an important period in the ancient Egyptian civilization, seeing building the history by your own eyes.