Last Chance for a Glance
at the World’s Most Famous Mummy

Visiting the Valley of the Kings to experience history’s most famous discoveries usually lies somewhere between one and ten on most travel bucket lists. However, a recent announcement by Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities may make an Egypt holiday more of a priority for 2013.

The Story Then
In 1922, after an exhausting five year search, British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the steps to Tutankhamen’s tomb, disproving Theodore Davis’ earlier speculation that the Valley of the Kings had yielded all her secrets. Hurriedly sending a message to his financier, Lord Carnarvon, the two entered the tomb on the 4th of November 1922.

They were greeted with a bare chamber that Carter was convinced was merely a decoy. He soon discovered a secret entrance behind a wall leading to a room which was stuffed with artefacts, treasures and statues. Shortly afterwards, he located the inner chamber containing Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus which had lain undisturbed for over 3000 years.

The Story Now
85 years later, the remains of Egypt’s most iconic figure went on display in Luxor, in the very tomb he was found in. Thousands have poured in since to see him in the flesh. Carefully protected by a nitrogen-rich glass case which shields him from humidity, bacteria and mould, the Boy King appeared safe in his new hi-tech sarcophagus. After all, similar technology is used to preserve the U.S Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln’s family bible and one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta. However, the temperature shifts caused by his visitors still causes deterioration so it’s been decided 2013 will be his last year on display before he’s replaced by a replica in 2014.

Perhaps it’s time for the King to have some peace. When Carter discovered him, he cut the remains into 18 pieces in order to remove Tut’s amulet and iconic death mask – made from solid gold and rare stones; it weighs a staggering 11kg! The exhibitions showcasing the treasures still enjoy worldwide popularity and will do for the foreseeable future, but it seems the King is about to leave the building.

Gone But Not Forgotten
For those wanting to see more of ancient Egypt’s historical artefacts, Luxor still has a great deal to offer. The Temple of Karnak, a massive complex of temples covering around 200 acres, is as impressive today as it must have been thousands of years ago. The Hypostyle Hall is a must-see, with its 134 columns and 54,000 square feet of space, it’s the largest room of any religious building in the world and a remarkable feat of ancient Egyptian architecture.

If you find yourself enamoured with Howard Carter’s exciting adventures in Luxor, it’s well worth stopping in at his house on the way to the Valley of the Kings. It’s kept largely as it was in the 1920s – his work, suitcases and gramophone lie in state and a holographic version of the man himself talks to you about his exploits. This fantastic exhibit has wowed its hundreds of visitors and sets the scene for some exploring of your own.

For many however, Tutankhamen is the embodiment of Egyptian history and archaeology. He’s a direct link to the past, someone who wasn’t only there 3000 years ago but ruled 3000 years ago. Interestingly though, if it wasn’t for Carter’s discovery, he may not be remembered at all. Shortly after Tutankhamen’s death, his royal lineage ended, the country was ravaged by war and the name Tutankhamen largely vanished from memory.

The entrance to his tomb was filled in with stone chips from other excavations, whilst huts built for workman near the entrance helped to completely obscure the King’s final resting place. His location and name were ultimately forgotten as time went on, but the very fact he was forgotten probably helped him be remembered today. If not, his tomb may have been further looted, re-appropriated or damaged to the point there wouldn’t be anything left for us to admire today.

For a once in a lifetime chance to see the King before his retirement, travel to Luxor with easyJet Holidays.