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Deir el-Medina

Deir El-Medina

Deir El-Medina is a small village located about 1 km off the main route to the Valley of the Queens, along a short, steep paved road. It was named after a temple that was formerly inhabited by early Christian monks. The Workmen’s Village, a destroyed town next to the temple, is worth a visit.

Many of the labourers and artists who contributed to the construction of the royal tombs lived and died in this area. Some of the little tombs here contain wonderful reliefs, making it well worth your time to come and explore them.

The modest Ptolemaic-era temple of Deir al- Medina, located just north of the Workmen’s Village and accessible only by a stony route, is well worth a visit. It was erected between 221 and 116 BC, and it was the latest of a succession of older temples that had been built on the same site. It was just 10m x 15m.

There were two goddesses honoured in this ceremony: Hathor (the goddess of pleasure and love), as well as Maat (the goddess of truth and manifestation of cosmic order).

Deir el-Medina
Dayr al-Madīnah, also spelled Deir el-Medina, ancient site on the west bank of the Nile River

Workmen’s Village is a community of people who work together to make a living.

Archaeologists have found more than 70 dwellings in this town, as well as several tombs, the most magnificent of which are currently exposed to the public as part of the community’s ongoing restoration project. The wonderfully decorated Tomb of Inherka belonged to a 19th-dynasty servant who worked in the Valley of the Kings, which is known as the Place of Truth.

One of the most renowned scenes shown in the tomb is a cat (representing the sun god Ra) slaying a snake (representing the wicked serpent Apophis) beneath a holy tree, which can be seen on the left wall of the one-room tomb.

Aside from that, there are also lovely household moments of Inherka with his wife and children. The Tomb of Sennedjem, located just next to it, is a magnificently painted 19th-dynasty tomb that comprises two tiny rooms and several similarly beautiful murals.

Sennedjem was an artist who lived during the reigns of Seti I and Ramses II, and it seems that he took great care to ensure that his tomb was as beautifully painted as the tombs of his predecessors.

Deir el-Medina
Deir el-Medina is the modern Arabic name for the worker’s village

Due to the popularity and tiny size of both of these tombs, only ten people are permitted to enter at a time; you will almost certainly find yourself in a line. Alternatively, you might visit the 19thdynasty Tomb of Peshedu, which is located close up the hill from the other two tombs.

Peshedu was another servant in the Place of Truth, and he may be seen in the burial chamber praying beneath a palm tree next to a lake, which is surrounded by a wall of stone. The Tomb of Ipy, a sculptor who worked during the time of Ramses II, is located nearby.

Rather from the typical focus on ceremony, images of ordinary life such as farming and hunting, as well as a representation of Ipy’s home in its flower- and fruit-filled garden, take the place of the normal emphasis on ritual.

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About the author

Magdy Fattouh (Migo) is a creative content marketer and expert in search engines for over 5 years. He manifests his passion in his role as a Creative Content Writer especially in travel where he strives to evoke a strong sense of place in his write-ups.