Deir el-Medina (Valley of Artisans)

Consists of graves of builders, engineers, engravers and other workers who were required to carve the dozens of tombs out of sheer rock over the centuries

Luxor, Egypt

Coordinates: 25.728089, 32.601425

Deir el-Medina is an ancient Egyptian village which was home to the artisans who worked on the tombs in the Valley of the Kings during the 18th to 20th Dynasties of the New Kingdom of Egypt.

The village is well laid out and on the other side of the mountain. The tombs here are much better preserved as they had no treasure so they were left alone.

The site is located on the west bank of the Nile, across the river from modern-day Luxor. The village is laid out in a small natural amphitheatre, within easy walking distance of the Valley of the Kings to the north, funerary temples to the east and south-east, with the Valley of the Queens to the west

Based on analysis of income and prices, the workmen of the village would, in modern terms, be considered middle class. As salaried state employees they were paid in rations at up to three times the rate of a field hand, but unofficial second jobs were also widely practiced.

Although these are ‘just the Artisans’, the paintings in these graves are much more colourfull and beautiful than the ones in the valley of the Kings or the valley of the Queens. And this place isn’t that touristic and crowded.

Know This

If you are only in Luxor for a day, you need to take the whole day tour of Valley of Kings, Karnak, Luxor temples and Temple of Queen Hatshupsut. If you have extra time, then consider Valley of Queens, Valley of Artisans and the Temple of Madinet Habu.