Nortina’s Egyptian Travel Diaries (#AtoZChallenge): “R” is for Ramesses

Ramesses, the name of not one, not two, not even three, but eleven pharaohs of Ancient Egypt.

But of course, the most famous Ramesses was 19th Dynasty Pharaoh Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great. He was one of the greatest, most powerful, and most celebrated pharaohs in Ancient Egyptian history. He had many successful military campaigns, reestablishing Egypt’s borders and reconquering lands lost to the Nubians and the Hittites. He even achieved one of the earliest peace treaties in world history with the Hittites and married at least two daughters of the Hittite king.

He is also believed to be the pharaoh of the Exodus, which would make sense! He’s said to have commissioned the construction of more and greater cities, temples, and monuments than any other king of Egypt, such as his administrative capital at Pi-Ramesses in the Nile Delta, the Abu Simbel temple in Nubia, and the Ptah Temple in Memphis. More statues of Ramesses II survive than of any other pharaoh. Somebody had to build them, right?

Ramesses’ reign lasted about 67 years, and in that time, he had around 200 wives and concubines and over 100 children, which is unfathomable to me! How did he navigate the logistics of having that many wives and kids? Did each wife get one day out of the year with him? Was that one day the day she got pregnant? Did Nefertari, his favorite wife and for whom he built the most beautiful and lavishly decorated tomb in the Valley of the Queens, get more days? Was there favoritism among his children? I’m dying to know what those family reunions were like!

Ramesses built a communal tomb in the Valley of the Kings, the largest tomb in the necropolis, for many, if not all, of his children. Ramesses himself was buried in a tomb nearby. Though we were unable to see either of these tombs during our visit, we did get to see the tombs of other pharaohs named Ramesses.

Tomb of Ramesses I, grandfather of Ramesses II (19th Dynasty)

Tomb of Ramesses IX (20th Dynasty)

Both of these tombs were part of the general Valley of the Kings ticket, so it was hot and crowded inside, and photo bombers were inevitable. I had to take the third from the last picture in Ramesses IX’s tomb five times before I finally got a shot without a random head or arm blocking the scene. Eventually, I just gave up.

However, there was one tomb in the Valley of the Kings that cost an extra EGP 1000 ($33 USD) to see. Extra money means lesser crowds, or in our case, no crowd at all. We had this tomb all to ourselves to get the best pictures of the art on the walls, free of random strangers, and we’ve been told that this is the best and most well-preserved of all the tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

But that will be tomorrow’s post…

Closing Remarks

Although we didn’t get to see the tomb of Ramesses the Great, as I said before, he was a prolific builder, and his face is all over Egypt, including in this colossal limestone statue of him housed in Memphis, which, if still standing, would be 10 meters high (~33 feet).

Does anyone else think he was overcompensating for something? 🤔


“A” is for Arrival
“B” is for Buyer’s Remorse
“C” is for Cruisin’ the River Nile
“D” is for Delays, Delays, Delays
“E” is for Empty Tombs
“F” is for Fragrance
“G” is for Great Pyramid of Giza
“H” is for Hatshepsut
“I” is for Island Temple of Philae
“J” is for Just Engaged!
“K” is for Kom Ombo
“L” is for Luxor
“M” is for Museums and Mummies
“N” is for Nefertari
“O” is for Osiris, Set, and Horus: Gods of Egypt
“P” is for Pizza Hut Fail
“Q” is for Queen Cleopadrat

This April for the A to Z Challenge, I’m sharing my experience of traveling to Egypt last month. These posts likely won’t be in chronological order, depending on what memory each letter strikes up, but if you’d like to follow me on this journey, subscribe below.

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