I knew nothing about Ancient Egypt before I visited the country — and when I did I was one of countless tourists who are shown the most impressive temples, and told about the most important pharaohs. Understandably, because during a 12 days tour that is all there is time for – not allowing to go off the beaten path. But on another trip to Egypt I got lucky — because I was not with a tour?
“Today I will take you somewhere most tourists don’t go,” Ahmed said when we met on a sunny morning in October. He wouldn’t elaborate and answered my questions by saying, “Just come, you will see.”
We headed into the Valley of the Kings and when we got there we did not park our car as one usually does, but instead we turned right. The road was rough, sandy, and covered with stones. The rising rocks on either side of the road made it look like outer space. The path narrowed and the rocks became mountains.
“We are going to visit the tomb of the PHARAOH AY.” Ahmed said after we had driven for a while, emphasizing again that not many tourists come here – and seeing our SUV bumping and skipping along, I could imagine that this would be a challenge for a big tourist bus with 40-50 people.
When we stopped at a small hut a man called Sayed joined us. “He is in charge of opening and closing the tomb, he has the key to the iron gate,” Ahmed said
I started down a very steep, wooden staircase, still wondering who PHARAOH AY was. At the end of the stairs I stepped into a small, intimate room with amazing wall paintings, and a marble sarcophagi in the middle.
“This tomb has only one chamber because it was never finished. AY died before it was completed.” Ahmed explained. The scenes on the walls, and Ahmed’s history lesson helped me to find out who PHARAOH AY was.
He only reigned for four years (1327 – 1323 BC). But before becoming pharaoh he held the very important and influential position as Vizier of PHARAOH AKHENATEN (father of Tutankhamun), the highest official to the serve a king. When TUTANKHAMUN became pharaoh he was a close advisor to him and was said to be the power behind the throne.
After TUTANKHAMUN’S mysterious death at the age of 19, AY married his widow ANKHENSENAMUN which allowed him to claim the throne. Since a commoner could not become a pharaoh unless he married a member of the royal family, it is believed that it was not ANKHESENAMUN’S will to marry AY — and nothing is known about her after this event.
More from Egypt soon