Historical Burial Grounds In Africa

Historical burial grounds are a place set aside for burying the dead and in many cases prominent people. In Egypt, Pharaohs would prepare their tombs in pyramids while they were still alive. The tombs were created to differentiate elite people from other people who were buried in the desert. The tombs were designed to look like the afterlife and due to this, pharaohs and their queens were buried with food, treasures and clothes.

  1. Great Sphinx of Giza

A sphinx is a fictitious creature known to have a human head, a lion’s body and falcon wings. The Sphinx of Giza is a large limestone statue found in Giza, Egypt. It is also known by the name Abu al- Hawl by the Arabs meaning the “Father of Terror”.

The sphinx shows the face of King Khafre and is one of the most known landmarks in Egypt and one of the largest sculptures in the world. It is 241 feet long, 20 feet wide and 66 feet high.The Great Sphinx dates back to the reign of King Khafre and it is said to be supposedly a portrait statue of the king. Ancient Egyptians built sphinx statues to guard important areas such as tombs and temples. In this case, the Great Sphinx guards the pyramid tombs of Giza.

It is said that a secret tunnel passes under the sphinx which supposedly leads to a tomb where the knowledge about the lost continent of Atlantis is hidden.

  1. Tomb of Tutankhamun

It is named after a pharaoh whose reign lasted for a short period of time called King Tutankhamun. His tomb is intact till date and is known as KV62. This tomb is found in the Valley of the Kings.

Inside his tomb, the mummy of the king is laid in a series of three coffins: the innermost made of solid gold, the other two are of gold hammered over wooden frames. The king’s head had a golden mask and a number of jewelry pieces and amulets over his wrapped body.The coffins were surrounded by four chambers of gold over wood covered in texts which covered the burial  chamber.

The other rooms were filled with musical instruments,furniture, statues, food,clothes, chariots and weapons among other objects. King Tutankhamun was also known for the “Treasures of Tutankhamun” which included gold, silver and precious stones. 

  1. Valley of The Kings

The valley of kings was once called the Great Necropolis of Millions of years of Pharaoh or the Place of Truth. The Egyptians know it as Wadi al-Muluk.

It contains 63 royal tombs that are individually unique which date from 1550- 1069 BC. The 11th dynasty rulers built their tombs near the valley in Taref. The 18th dynasty pharaohs chose the valley full of pyramid shaped mountain peaks of Al-Qurn (The Horn).The site was easy to guard and could be seen from the Theban plain where the sun sets and this was associated with the afterlife.

Each tomb in this valley has a number showing the order in which they were discovered. Each tomb has a number preceded by the initials KV meaning King’s Valley. KV1 belonged to Ramess VII from the 18th while KV62 is Tutankhamun’s tomb which was discovered in 1922 and the most famous in the Valley of Kings.

  1. Valley of The Queens

It is the second great royal burial site located in Luxor  and is also known as the Valley of the tombs of the Queens, in Arabic, it is called Wadi al-Harim. It is set out as a burial site for queens, royal children and other noble members for the 19th and 20th dynasties.

It is known to contain more than 90 tombs among them the tomb of Site, Nefertari and Titi. The tombs were built in a way to keep the mummies and their belongings safe for the afterlife.Most of the tombs in the valley were raided unlike those of the kings. Their tombs were also numbered like those of the kings with the initials QV meaning Queen’s Valley.

The first tomb in the valley of queens was the tomb of princess Ahmose and Queen Sitdjehuti. The most famous tomb here is the tomb of Nefertari- QV 66.

  1. Giza Plateau

It is one of the most famous historical sites in Egypt. It is famous for being the home to a very large funeral complex called the Giza Necropolis. The plateau is host to the three largest pyramids in Egypt, temples and the Great Sphinx. It is made of limestone where sculptures are sculptured and tombs made from. 

The necropolis contains funeral complexes of Khufu, Khafre and Mankaure, The Great Sphinx, the village of workers and other cemeteries. Each complex is composed of a pyramid, a perimeter wall, a high and a low temple,a road and additional pyramids.

  1. Pyramid Of Djoser

It is the oldest and the first ever built pyramid in Saqqara, Egypt, built about 4700 years ago. It was built as a mastaba tomb- a flat-roofed structure with sloping sides which with time grew to six layers with tunnels underneath it.

It was built during the reign of King Netjerikhet. He named the pyramid Djoser and ended up bearing the name himself. The treasures in this tomb were stolen including the mummy of Djoser. Although the mummy of the pharaoh is gone, parts of his sarcophagus were found in the tomb.

  1. Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut is known in history for being one of the most successful pharaohs of Egypt. She was the second female pharaoh in Egypt.During her reign, a lot of buildings were built in the Nile Valley including the mortuary temple of Dayr al-Bahr at Luxor. A mortuary temple is a place of worship for a dead king in ancient Egypt with a place for food for the dead kings. 

The temple was built as a dedication to Amon Ra and to serve as a mortuary temple for her family. Hatshepsut also intended to have her tomb in this temple but the rock could not be cut through. In 1075-656 BC, the area of Dayr al-Bahr was also used as a private burial ground.

  1. Bent Pyramid

It is called bent because the upper part of the pyramid was built at a lower angle than the bottom part of the pyramid. It was initially called ‘The Southern Shining One’ because it was built at the southern edge of Deshur.

It was built by Sneferu and was left after it collapsed, then he moved to build another pyramid in Meidum.

  1. Meidum Pyramid

It is known as “el-haram el-kaddabi” in Arabic meaning the ‘False Pyramid’. It is assumed to have been built by Sneferu. It is a converted step pyramid and the last one of its kind.

Its internal structure is made of two small chambers and a burial chamber. The burial chamber has no sarcophagus and its size indicates that there was no one buried in this pyramid.

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