Egypt wouldn't be the same place without its great royal tombs. A significant part of the country's income is a result of the ancient monuments and the greatest of them all are the places where the rulers were buried. The most famous of them all are the Great Pyramids of the Giza necropolis. However, there are many more of them scattered all over the Nile valley.
The minds of the ancient Egyptians were preoccupied with thoughts of the afterlife, compared not only to the modern men, but also to their ancient neighbouring states and tribes. The life after death was something real to all Egyptians and they were preparing for this journey since their birth. While the common men were buried into simple ditches in the sand, the nobles, the educated elite and even some prosperous people from the middle class took care of their tombs, let alone the pharaoh himself. The first burial sites were simple rectangular structures made of bricks. These brick mastabas were something common for the people with enough wealth to afford them and the royal mastabas were just bigger.
The abundance of bricks in the country let the pharaohs order more lavish tombs, made of limestone blocks – the pyramids. The limestone was carried by labourers from distant quarries across the Nile. The first pyramid was built in Saqqara by the great architect Imhotep. The main concept behind the so-called step pyramid for the Imhotep's pharaoh was that the final step would be the place from where the ruler's soul will travel to the afterlife. Later the concept developed and a fine limestone covered the pyramids who in turn were bigger and massive. The most glorious achievement is the Giza complex with the 3 great pyramids, the giant Sphinx, the small pyramids of the princesses and the labourers' camp.
The pyramids of the later dynasties were smaller and after most of them were robbed by bandits, the rulers of the so-called New Kingdom sought to preserve their burial goods and mummies in hidden burial layouts. Such a place is the valley of Kings, where most of the later tombs are found, including the tomb of Tuthankamen, the boy-king whose relatively small tomb was left intact until its discovery in the 1922. The tomb is rich with burial goods and luxury wares, along with the sarcophagus of the young king, a masterpiece of the royal embalmers.
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