Tell Al Amarna

Northern Nile Valley

You will see the ruins of Akhetaten – temples and private or administrative buildings – scattered across the plain of Tell Al Amarna, but the main sights to head for are the tombs. There are 26 in total, divided into two groups, some 8km apart. Tombs one to six are in the north; seven to 25 are in the south. No 26 is the royal tomb. Not all are open and only five (3 to 6 and the royal tomb) currently have light.

The lit tombs contain some of the best reliefs with coloured, though defaced, wall paintings of life during the Aten revolution. Even if you have transport, the guards may be reluctant to open the unlighted tombs and will certainly want a tip (at least LE20 per person). Many visitors find the southern tombs disappointing after the hassle of getting there. Be sure to bring water and refreshments as there are currently none available at the site. Buy tickets at the ticket office.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Northern Nile Valley attractions

1. Tomb of Ay (No 25)

0.43 MILES

This tomb, in the southern group, is the finest at Tell Al Amarna, with the images reflecting the importance of Ay and Tiyi. Scenes include the couple…

2. Tomb of Mahu (No 9)

0.46 MILES

This is one of the best preserved southern tombs. The paintings show interesting details of Mahu’s duties as Akhenaten’s chief of police, including taking…

3. Central City

2.54 MILES

The centre of Akhetaten contained the temple complex, the Great Palace and the King's House. The temple complex contained two main buildings, a sanctuary…

4. Tomb of Panehsy (No 6)

3.06 MILES

The tomb of Panehsy, chief servant of the Aten in Akhetaten, retains the decorated facade most others have lost. Inside, scenes of the royal family,…

5. Tomb of Penthu (No 5)

3.07 MILES

Penthu, the royal physician and 'First under the King', was buried in a simple tomb. The left-hand wall of the corridor is decorated with images of the…

6. Tomb of Meryre II (No 2)

3.07 MILES

Meryre II was scribe, steward and 'Overseer of the Royal Harem of Nefertiti'. To the left of the entrance, you will find a scene that shows Nefertiti…

7. Tomb of Meryre I (No 4)

3.08 MILES

High priest of the Aten, Meryre is shown, on the left wall of the columned chamber, being carried by his friends to receive rewards from the royal couple…

8. Tomb of Ahmose (No 3)

3.08 MILES

Ahmose, whose title was ‘True Scribe of the King, Fan-Bearer on the King’s Right Hand’, was buried in the northern cemetery. Much of his tomb decoration…