Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Valley of the Kings: Luxor photos that defied ban will amaze you

Traveller snaps rare photos inside Egypt’s famous Valley of the Kings

Czech journalist Jakub Kyncl talked his way into obtaining special permission to take photos inside Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. Picture:

PHOTOGRAPHY is strictly forbidden inside this ancient burial site, which makes Jakub Kyncl’s holiday snaps pretty incredible.

The travel journalist and photographer was planning to visit Egypt’s famed Valley of the Kings in Luxor — where boy king Tutankhamun was laid to rest, among other pharaohs — when he thought he’d try asking if he could take photo souvenirs of his visit.

It was a long shot. While the Valley of the Kings is one of Egypt’s top tourist drawcards, authorities take the ban on photography inside the historic tombs very seriously.

And that’s why Kyncl was as surprised as anyone to be granted special permission to do it.

The travel editor for Czech news website said it took five weeks and about 140 emails until he secured special access for himself, his camera, tripod, headlight and other photography equipment.

“It was not a sure thing at all when I asked for it. Egypt definitely doesn’t give away this type of permission on a regular basis,” Kyncl told

“I provided Egypt’s tourism authorities with everything necessary and waited for about five weeks until I got the ‘green light’ email. As you need to be accompanied by an official guide during an event like this, I asked for an Egyptologist and Luxor guide for VIP people Medhat Ramedan Hafez, who ... was extremely capable of dealing with all possible issues at the spot.

“And more than that, he can read hieroglyphs, and that is something that helps you to locate important scenes on the walls.”

This wasn’t Kyncl’s first time inside the Valley of the Kings — he had visited three times before — but was still struck by the size and incredible detail on the tombs and chambers in the World Heritage Site.