Al Kab Tombs

Southern Nile Valley

Cut into the ridge across the road from the village of Al Kab is a row of tombs. The most interesting is No 2, from the New Kingdom (1550–1069 BC), which belonged to Ahmose, ‘Captain-General of Sailors’ under Pharaoh Ahmose I (1550–1525 BC). Another Ahmose, son of Ebana, left a detailed account of his bravery in the battle against the Hyksos. All have well-preserved images.

To the north of these New Kingdom tombs, but not open to visitors, are a series of tombs from the Old Kingdom. The oldest, including one on the top of the ridge, date to around 2700 BC.

Further east into the desert from Al Kab, if you have transport, you'll see several temples dedicated to Nubian gods. You'll find a Ptolemaic temple with a staircase leading up to two columned vestibules before a chapel carved into the rock. Further south is a small chapel, locally known as Al Hammam (The Bathhouse), built by Setau, Viceroy of Nubia under Ramses II. At the centre of the wadi is a large vulture-shaped crag covered in inscriptions from predynastic times to the Old Kingdom. Some 3.5km further east into the desert is the small chapel of Nekhbet, built by Amenhotep III (1390–1352 BC) as a way station for the vulture goddess’s cult statue when she passed through ‘The Valley’. Her protective influence was no doubt appreciated, as this was one of the supply routes to the goldmines that gave Egypt much of its wealth.

The best way of seeing Al Kab is to take a private taxi from Esna or Edfu, or to stop on the way between Luxor and Aswan. Dahabiyyas and some feluccas travelling from Aswan to Esna stop here too, but bigger cruise boats are not able to dock.

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