Tell-el Amarna: Guns, Stonings, and Akenaten's Palace
Tell el-Amarna Travel Blog› entry 22 of 30 › view all entries
November 14th, 2003 – by: genkeeper
November 14, 2003, at the crack of down we pile into a Soliman travel van and begin our quest for Akhenaten's captial and necropolis. It took 7 hours and 15 different military escorts to get us to Tell el-Amarna. As we entered each different governorate a new military escort "protected" us. We constantly had to stop at the different check points and wait about a 1/2 hour for the escort to arrive. When we finally arrived at the modern day village of Tell el-Amarna we had to take a ferry across a river to the site.
Stop number one was the Northern Tombs. Now to top off this bizarre story - it was also Ramadan. This is a time when people fast during the day and eat when the sun goes down, i.e. work stops, people sleep during the day and party all night. But, all ancient stuff is SUPPOSED to be open. Catch is we're in Egypt and nothing goes as it is supposed to. After much arguing with the guards at the Northern Tombs in our smattering of Arabic and their smattering of English, and a lot of "the guard with the key is at home sleeping because it is Ramadan" and us countering with "we don't give a f*ck, the tombs are supposed to be open, so go find the guy", we prevailed and us, our driver, our military escort, and our new found guard friends piled into cars and drove off to hunt down the guy with the key.
* All pictures taken inside the Northern and Southern tombs were done through bribery. Photos are technically not allowed. It's amazing what a little baksheesh will get you. And remember - NO FLASH!! It fades the wall reliefs! *
1) Ahmose (No. 3) - 'Fan bearer on the King's Right Hand'. We were able to see some initial ink outlines and grids.
2) Meryre I (No.
3) Panehesy (No. 6) - He was the Chief Servant of the Aten. Nefertiti is depicted driving her own chariot.
Finally satisified that we had soaked up everything we could from the Northern Tombs, it was on to the Southern Tombs.
1) Ay (No. 25) - His titles were 'God's Father' and 'Fan-bearer on the King's Right Hand'. This is the SAME Ay who advised Tutankhamun and ruled after Tut died. Ay was buried in the Valley of the Monkeys in Luxor. Yep, you heard that right - he used to be an Amarnanite. There was also a pillared hall and beautifully preserved reliefs in the tomb.
Akhenaten's tomb (or atleast his Amarna tomb) is located at the far end of one of the Wadi's (long canyons). To reach his tomb, which is in theory open, you need to rent 4 wheel jeeps in Minya, grab a couple of topo maps and archaeological maps so you know where the tomb is, and head out. A few friends and I were going to try this at the end of November, sadly, we got stuck in Luxor for an extra day since there wasn't a plane or train or car with a vacancy and thus had to scrap our quest to find Akhenaten's tomb. Now it's on my list for next time, along with Siwa and Beni Hassan.
Our last stop at Amarna was Akhenaten's palace. After his death, Amarna was labeled as tabooed and no one built over the palace. This has continued through Arab times, making Amarna the only palace that was never rebuilt on.
7 hours and 15 military escorts later we were back in Cairo and off to the airport to fly down to Luxor.
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