Nortina’s Egyptian Travel Diaries (#AtoZChallenge): “S” is for Seti I

Seti I of the 19th Dynasty was the father of Ramesses II. His tomb in the Valley of the Kings is one of the most decorated tombs in the necropolis, with nearly all surfaces, including the ceiling, intricately painted. It’s also cut deep into the mountain and so is one of the largest and deepest tombs.

Entry into Seti’s tomb required an extra ticket. We were also there very early in the morning, around 7 or 8 AM, to beat the crowds. So when Mom, Brother, Sister-in-Law, and I entered the tomb, we were virtually alone, apart from two other people, who left shortly after we arrived, and an employee who finessed Brother and Sister-in-Law into paying him a dollar after he (unsolicited) opened a gated-off section of the tomb to let them explore.

Up until that point, Brother had prided himself in not falling for the scheming and flattery of the scammers.

Welp, he got scammed that time! But it was only for a dollar, so I guess no harm done.

The tomb has several descending corridors, and the deeper we went, the hotter and stuffier the air became. It was starting to remind me of our struggles inside the Great Pyramid. Of course, going down is much easier than climbing up, especially when you’re not surrounded by a cluster of people. Still, the heat eventually got to Mom because when we moved to the next tomb, one of the Ramesses, she decided to turn back to conserve her energy for Nefertari’s tomb, which we would be visiting later that morning in the Valley of the Queens.

The decorations on the walls of the corridors were a bit more deteriorated than those on the walls and pillars of the chambers at the deeper levels. It looked like large sections of some of the murals were cut out, likely by the explorer who initially excavated the tomb, which enraged my inner Erik Killmonger.

[Side Note: These European explorers, man. They come to a land that is not their own, discover a history that does not belong to them, and then steal a piece of it to display like a trophy in their homes or in their museums like they own it. For example, I didn’t talk about this in my “Museums and Mummies” post because it was already quite long, but do you know about the Rosetta Stone, the artifact that includes Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic script, and Greek script, which allows archeologists to translate the Egyptian hieroglyphs? The version in the Egyptian Museum is a copy. The real one is in the British Museum, and according to our tour guide, they refused to give it back. The fucking nerve!]

Anywho, back to Seti…

When you take into account that his tomb is 3000 years old, you really can’t complain that a few parts aren’t entirely intact. Simply being inside the tomb was an incredible experience. It was as if we had gone into a time machine and traveled back to ancient times. There was so much art and detail, like the fine lines of a person’s braided hair or the astronomical scenes on the vaulted ceiling of the burial chamber. There was so much history on the walls, such as ancient funerary texts, including the Book of the Dead and the Book of Gates, which operate as a guide for the deceased pharaoh for safe passage into the sacred afterlife. As I gazed upon the artwork, all I could say, with childlike wide-eyed stupor, was “WOW!”

Of course, there was no body or sarcophagus inside the tomb, but we expected that at this point. Despite my awe, it still felt weird being there. All of this was built for the dead, and yet it is the living who now roam these halls.

Click images for captions


“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
“R” is for Ramesses

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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