The Great Pyramid of Giza or the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops is the largest among the pyramids in Giza. The local camel riders say there are about 9 pyramids in the Giza plateau, some of them on the further desert which is accessible by camel, horse or donkey -- of course that's their selling line, but it's true.
The great pyramid is believed to be built as a tomb for the 4th dynasty pharaoh - Khufu or Cheops. Built in approx. 20 years, the pyrmaid is the only surviving ancient 7 wonder of the world and the tallest man made structure for nearly 3800 years.
It is also the pyramid that you could access inside with an additional entry fee of EGP100.
See Wikipedia for complete details and story.
The pyramid of Khafre or Chefren is the one above the Sphinx. I thought all the while that this was the biggest one, looks like really, but in fact it is standing on a higher platform than the biggest pyramid of Khufu which is on it's right.
This pyramid is a tomb for the 4th dynasty pharaoh Khafre, the son of Khufu. There is also a temple ruin infront of this pyramid where some police guards are hanging around who sometimes will coach you on how to take the best shot of the pyramids --- is that really necessary?
If you enter the gate entrance near the colossal sphinx then this temples are definitely your first sight of the day. There are 2 temples, one just infront of the sphinx and the other on it's side.
This means that the sphinx is not just a colossal statue on its own, but a part of a temple complex.
Keep your entry ticket as you will be using that to enter this temple complex and see the Sphinx up close. Go up the stairs and onto a long ramp to get near to the sphinx and - what else - take a picture of you.
Normally, guards prevent people from climbing the pyramids now. They are afterall little mountains with eroded trails that lead toward the top. But, when we visited in 1997, Ramadan reduced the number of guards hanging around, and when a local Coptic student waved me to join him in the climb, I couldn't resist. The stones of the Chephren are easily as tall as a man, so normally if it weren't for the eroded trails leading to the top, the challenge of climbing them would be a major rock climbers effort. Scattered all around the pyramids are huge boulder like fragments that have presummably tumbled down during past centuries. Belinda choose to sit on a smaller boulder while I climbed to the top of Chephren. I had worried that maybe Chephren would lose too many of these boulders, but on my way up, I stopped to look down to where Belinda was sitting. The boulders now looked like little more than dandruff off of one's head and I couldn't see Belinda. But, I did see the tiny ant like procession of a donkey and camel (see image). Following the Coptic college student, we proceeded to a place where we could go no further---the capstone. Chephren's distinctive capstone provides a huge overhang around which special climbing equipment would be needed. In addition, the steep slope of the capstone surface was such that I feared for my safety in trying to climb barehanded. Later, a man from Korea joined us as we appreciated the great view of Cairo. And, I had this picture taken of myself for the acheivement. Unfortunately, the VT colors make my sunburn look worse than it really was.
Smallest of the three great Pyramids, Mycerinus was built and named for Chephren's son. In 1215, the Turks wanted to destroy the pyramids and began with Mycerinus. After making a huge hole above the entrance chamber however, they gave up. See the link below for more details about this pyramid. Meanwhile, enjoy the images...one was taken from atop Chephren. Another, taken at dusk, shows the relative height of Mycerinus and Chephren. But, Mycerinus is still huge.
A "MUST" if you ask me.
You can go inside a number of the Pyramids. But there is a difference in what you will see while inside. I suggest to go inside the Great Pyramid (Pyramid of Cheops) as it has a very unique structure, which no other Pyramid has.
It has a hallway leading up to the burial chamber. The chamber itself is not that special as an architectural experience, it is basically an empty box with a "coffer". But the feeling that you are at the place where a pharao once laid and all the treasures were placed around him makes it very special.
The whole experience of walking/climbing/BEING inside the Pyramid is unforgettable. And while in case of the others you can only be "underneath", in this one you can really be inside, close to the middle of the whole structure.
You can access the gallery through an artificial hallway, which is not the original entrance. The original was higher on the side of the Pyramid and can still be seen, but is not used anymore.
STRICTLY NO PHOTOGRAPHY is allowed, you must leave your camera outside. I did so just by the guys who are the "doormen" and they took care of it, so don't worry, it won't be stolen. (due to this all pictures of this tip are taken from elsewhere)
Costs EGP 100
(other Pyramid is only EGP 20 if I remember correctly), for ticketing information, please see my "Warnings and dangers" tip.
In the evening is the Sound and Light show at the sphinx. Laser beams and music playing over loud-speakers are used to explain the contents of the pyramids and hieroglyphs. The story is a dramatised tale of Egypt as seen through the eyes of the Sphinx over the ages, illustrating what was learned from hieroglyphs - even their love letters. The desert temperature can drop quite dramatically at night so a light jacket or cardigan is recommended in summer months and a coat is recommended during the winter.
October to April: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
May to September: 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm
The Sphinx is located a few hundred metres east of the Pyramids. Our coach drove past giving us a side view of this monument, which is very long.
We walked back to view the head which is very worn, battered by the elements, wind and sand for several thousand years. Late afternoon it was difficult to take a good photo facing directly into the sun. I wondered how much longer the head will last.
This is the oldest and largest pyramid of Giza, in fact the largest pyramid in Egypt. It is what we came to see on our 12 hour day tour.
The only remaining structure of the 7 Wonders of The Ancient World it still looks magnificent, although it only retains a small portion of the marble which covered the complete pyramid.
Completed around 2570 BC it is over 4,000 years old.
We arrived around 4pm and had trouble obtaining a good photo due to the setting sun.However this did not dim our enjoyment and enthusiasm, one of the special moments of our many travels.
The pyramid originally was 146 metres high and it is estimated 2.3 million limestone blocks were used in its construction. Each block is estimated to weigh 2.5tonnes.
Whilst on the drive from Port Said to Giza we were treated to some amazing sights, one of which was the Pidgeon Houses still used by some farmers to farm pidgeons.
Traditionally pidgeons were considered a delicacy.