The Valley of the Queens, also known as Biban el-Harim, Biban el-Sultanat, and Wadi el-Melikat, is a place in Egypt where wives of Pharaohs were buried in ancient times. In ancient times, it was known as Ta-Set-Neferu, meaning - 'the place of the Children of the Pharaoh', because along with the Queens of the 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties (15501070 BCE) many princes and princesses were also buried with various members of the nobility. The tombs of these individuals were maintained by mortuary priests whom performed daily rituals and provided offerings and prayers for the deceased nobility.
The valley is located near the better known Valley of the Kings on the west bank of the Nile across from Thebes (modern Luxor) . This barren area in the western hills was chosen due to its relative isolation and proximity to the capital.
The kings of the 18th dynasty, instead of the traditional building of pyramids as burial chambers (perhaps because of their vulnerability to tomb robbers), now chose to be buried in rock-cut tombs.
This necropolis is said to hold more than seventy tombs, many of which are stylish and lavishly decorated. An example of this is the resting place carved out of the rock for Queen Nefertari (1290-1224 BCE) of the 19th Dynasty. The polychrome reliefs in her tomb are still in tact.
The ancient Egyptians gave it the name Set Neferu, meaning "seat of beauty". From 1903-1906 an Italian expedition discovered about eighty tombs, some of which belonged to children of royalty. Many were severely damaged having been burned and or reduced to being used as stables for donkeys and camels. One of the most well-known tombs is that of Nefertari, the best-loved of Ramesses II's numerous wives. In her honor he built a beautiful temple at Abu Simbel.
The Valley of the Queens is the site of over 90 tombs of royal wives, sons, and daughters from the 18th, 19th, and 20th Dynasties. (Royal women of the 18th Dynasty appear not to have had one exclusive cemetery but were buried in many, often remote locations, as well as occasionally in the Valley of the Kings) Early tombs lie at the northern 'mouth' of the valley, later tombs nearer its southern end.