Gizeh Pyramids, Cairo
Pyramid of Khufu is the oldest and the largest of the three pyramides in the Giza Plateau. It is also know as the Great Pyramid or Cheops Pyramid, which is Greek name for Khufu. Greek have considered pyramids one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, and pyramids are the only one to remain almost intact.
The Great Pyramid was built as a tomb for pharaoh Khufu. As it was habbit in ancient Egypt, the construction works started during pharaoh life and lasted over 20 years. It was finished around 2560 BC. Khufu's Pyramid has 146,5 metres and was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3800 years.
According to leading and most accepted hypothesses, the pyramids were built by moving huge stones from a quarry and dragging and lifting them into the place.
Pyramid of Khufu is the only pyramid in Egypt known to contain both ascending and descending passages. It was originally covered by casing stones that formed a smooth outer surface. This pyramid consist of an estimated 2,3 million limestone blocks. The largest granite stones in the pyramid, found in the King's Chamber, weigh 25 to 80 tonnes and were transported from Aswan which is more then 800 kilometres away. At completion the Great Pyramid was surfaced by white casing stones blocks of highly polished white limestone.
Pyramid is amazing construction, work of more then 100.000 very skillful workers but we all probably ask ourselves when standing in front of it, how was it possible?
Sphinx is mythical creature with a lion's body and a human head, however, it does not appear in any known inscription of the Old Kingdom and its original purpose is unknown. It is believed that The Great Sphinx, as it is called, was built during the reign of the pharaoh Khafre (2558-2532 BC).
Pliny The Elder mentioned that according to Egyptian legend King Hamais was burried in Great Sphinx.
It is the largest monolith statue in the world, 74 metres long 6 metres wide and 20 metres high. Can you believe it, 2,5 thousand years BC this statue was carved almost entirely from one piece of limestone!
In Arabic language the sphinx is called Abu al Hul, "The father of terror".
We have just returned from our honeymoon in Egypt and we only spent two days in Cairo, and believe me, it was more than long enough! The moment I saw a poor dog lying dead at the side of the road which must have been there some time, I realised we were in for an interesting time, but just how interesting it would get we had no idea! Although our hotel (The Mercure Le Sphinx) was directly opposite the Giza Plateau, we decided it would be best to book an excursion via the hotel using an approved taxi service, what a mistake! We don't like to use guides, we prefer to do our own thing, at our own pace, and we made it clear to the driver this was what we wanted to do! As soon as we arrived at the site, we were ripped off by the ticket office! If the ticket office people suspect you don't know the price, they just seem to think of a number! Although we purchased 2 sets of tickets for the main compound (60 LE) and the Great Pyramid (100 LE) we were charged 380 LE and not 320 LE as it should have been! No explanation as to where the extra 60 LE went, and our protests fell on deaf ears. Our driver then insisted that we had a guide, even though we agreed beforehand that we didn't want one, and were constantly followed by a young guy who claimed he was an official government guide who simply wouldn't take no for an answer! In the end we just simply ignored him and he seemed to go away after a while. We went inside The Great Pyramid which is simply a long shaft running near to the top of the pyramid to a small dark chamber at the top, and you can't even take your camera anyway! Inside the chamber is a single stone sarcophagus, and that's it! Outside we were constantly hassled by beggars, hawkers who don't even ask you if you want to buy stuff and just thrust it into your hands! But the best was yet to come. Our driver informed us that the site would close soon, and that we should follow him to some tombs that were included in our ticket price. We were then introduced to another guy who asked to see our tickets and then confirmed that the tombs were included. On TWO occasions, I asked him if we had to pay any extra and both timed he said NO. After a brief tour around the tombs (not really up to much) we were then told we were going to see the 'panoramic view' and offered a choice of either horse or camel. Again, I asked if this would cost extra and told no. As soon as my wife got on her camel, she was led away from me by a young boy and as soon as she left the man asked for 150 LE! Worried I may not see my wife again, I reluctantly handed over the money but as soon as I caught up with her we agreed we would get off and demand our money back. They guy had disappeared but once we threatened to report them to the tourist police, the young boy ran off and returned a few minutes later with our money. We no longer felt safe and demanded that our driver took us back to the hotel. He drove us to the panarama so we could take pictures but we felt uncomfortable and only stayed for a few moments. On the way back down from the pyramids we witnessed a young boy being beaten within an inch of his life by a guy with a large wooden pole and when we briefly stopped at The Sphinx to take pictures two separate guys tried to open our car door!
This episode completely put us off as we wanted to return in the evening to watch the sound and light show, but we decided to just stay at our hotel instead. My wife was very upset by the whole experience. I'd wanted to visit the pyramids since I was a young boy but reality did not live up to my expectations. Only visit if you really want to! We wish we hadn't bothered
The Giza Necropolis is what is popularly known to us as the Great Pyramids. Located about 25 kms from central Cairo and 9 kms from the old town of Giza. The whole archeological necropolis or the Giza pyramid complex is on a plateau (Giza plateau).
After visiting the Egyptian Museum on my arrival day, tired, I slept and the following day when I woke up I was a bit confused what to see first - Islamic Cairo or the Pyramids - and decided intantly to go to the pyramid complex...and on my own. I suddenly felt like it would be a great accomplishment if I would be able to reach the place and come back on my own and do a report, so I did.
I went out and few meters from the hotel there are couple of drivers who are offering their private tours but I declined, I said I'm working in the suburb out of Cairo (I speak a little arabic - a plus!) so I know my way (a bluff). They're really persistent, and I heard the famous line again that I always hear - from Aswan to Luxor - "You know how much?" They would always say that to entice you to talk. You'll surely hear that several times from people offering their service on the street from felucca captains to taxi drivers to private cars. My reply is -- "Yeah, I know how much".
So, I headed to the Sadat Metro station which is a 2-minute walk from my hotel in Tahrir Square, bought the EGP1 one way ticket to Giza station. from the subway and figured out the line (internet research). Line 2 (Shubra to El-Mounib line), btw, there's a carriage for women only in the middle of the whole trains and marked as red which I only found out upon leaving Cairo. I didn't noticed that as I was following people. (See my transport tips).
So from Sadat , the 6th station is Giza and I got off from there and find a taxi to the Pyramids (Al-Ahramat in arabic). Took me awhile as I'm figuring out which taxi are not going to overcharge me. I took one with an old driver, he dropped me right in front of the entrance near the Sphinx (there's another gate which I've seen later and where I exited near the big pyramid) paid less than EGP20 for the taxi, and found out that I was so early and the gate will open at 8:00am, while there are people waiting at the gate, I suddenly realized they were all locals, and found out from this persistent guy who wants to sell his camel/horse rides that all of those people are working inside - working means selling souvenir stuff, etc.
So I waited there, chatting with the two guys one selling souvenirs and the camel/horse guy, they speak english and really persistent but I learned the way to avoid, they were friendly though and once they got the idea that yI wasn't really a good prospect, they just chat with me, and I told them I'm working in that place and company near Cairo which is actually existing.
The gate opened and I was the first visitor, bought the ticket (EGP60) and entered (see my tips on warnings), and really I was the only visitor on the first half of the complex but of course I was not the only person, there are reconstruction workers and the souvenir vendors and the camel/horses/donkey riders. The Sphinx was the first sight that greeted me, there's a temple right below the Sphinx and you could enter just present your ticket, so you could get near the Sphinx. The pyramids are on a near distance and the road to there is a bit inclined.
It was nice to see the pyramids when there aren't many people around in the early morn. Although the camel/horse riders are seriously annoying keep on floowing you and offering the expensive ride (see my tips on warnings), nonetheless, I've learned how to say an acceptable NO! or at least... You will be approached by almost every camel or horse or donkey owners.
I wander around the complex for maybe 4 hours and found most of the people who entered on the other gate near the largest Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops). They came in big buses, package tours. Then I decided to go back to the hotel, exited on the gate near the Pyramids of Khufu instead of walking back (long walk again) to the Sphinx side gate. Got out, walked until I reached the main road and took a taxi to the Giza metro station, taxi fare is a little less at EGP15, took the metro train and got off at Sadat near my hotel.
I enjoyed the Pyramid tour on my own, that I decided to come back. This time I went on a private car tour availed from the hotel because I want to go to Memphis and also the Step Pyramid (the very first Pyramid), but it's not possible to skip Giza, it's the same price anyway whether I skip Giza or take it in, so I came back to the Pyramids again. The whole day private tour costs me EGP180. More of this on the next tips....
Nothing could prepare you for your first sight of these wonderful wonders......there is no other words than pure AWESOME !!!!!! Take time to walk around, we paid 50 LE per person and were never asked about a ticket for your camera !!!! Don't know where these people who claim that you must have a camera ticket come from ????? And yes there is people trying to sell you things, but we never thought they we overwhelming, or bothersome....we just walk right past them and we were left alone !!!!! Still one of the Wonders of the World !!!!!
I'm Egyptian and every time i go there i keep starring and just say the same typical sentence "oh god, thats so huge, how did the huk they did this?" i never get bored of saying this.
dear freinds, you really must see it your self, its amazingly hugeeeee. to go inside it costs some money. tickets are limited you have to go in the early morrning to take a turn.
bargin, if you are going by your own.
dont miss the sun boat musuem in the back yard.
I felt compelled to write this review as my wife and I were so impressed by Easy travel Egypt organization and attention We organized two days tours with them , We had our own Egyptology for each day - both of whom were very knowledgeable, and also so accommodating to our wishes. They also helped so much with "local knowledge" on what to do - and what not to. The company's representatives were always on hand and so helpful.
I would defiantly recommend Easy travel Egypt for every one traveling to Egypt
The 3 most famous Pyramids,namely the Great Pyramid of Khufu(Cheops),the largest among the 3.It stands 137m and it was the tallest man made structure in the world until the Eiffel Tower was built in Paris in 1889.There's a small chamber inside the pyramid which can be visited from 8am til 4pm.Then the Pyramid of Khafre(Chephren) is smaller than Khufu 'tho its location on slightly higher ground makes it appear taller.Finally the Pyramid of Menkaure(Mycerinus) the smallest pyramid and thought to be for the family of Menkaure.These pyramids are located right at the edge of the city,so expect traffic while heading to the pyramids.Unfortunately,I couldn't get clear photos because of the thick smog due to heavy pollution in Cairo.
The Great Sphinx or "Abu Hol as he is sometimes called. is one of the most recognizable monuments in the world. He and the three pyramids he guards are considered to be one of the "Seven Wonders of the World". Abu Hol acts as a protector of The Pyramids. The Sphinx is made of natural stone, the Sphinx is the largest monolithic statue in the world. Abu Hol is 260 ft long, 20 ft wide, and 66 ft tall, he stands taller than a 6-story building. His paws alone are 50 ft long, his head, 30 ft long and 14 ft wide.
He was discovered by Tuthmosis IV he unearthed the Sphinx after being buried in sand. The last time he was cleared of sand was in 1925. The Sphinx has had many restore him throughout the years. His breast and paws were restored by the Ptolemys and the Caesars. the latest restoration was of his tail which wraps around his right side.
Other facts about the Sphinx:
He is oriented due east to face the rising sun.
There is a chapel located between his paws which was discovered in 1816.
There is a small temple located behind the Sphinx made up of large blocks of Red Granite from Aswan.
The body of the Sphinx has suffered water damage, which is a mystery since he and the location of the pyramids borders on the Sahara Desert.
Price: 60.00 L.E. (10.39 USD)
Visiting Pyramids and not enjoying Camel ride? Yes, it also an experience though a bit expensive at 100 Egyptian Pounds ( USD$20) per person, but thoroughly enjoyable the half an hour ride.There are about 100 or 200 cames, horse carts waiting for the tourists. We had no time for bargaining but one can always bargain asbargaining is way of life in Egypt.
Built around 4500 years ago, the Sphinx is still going strong but with some damage on the face!
A sphinx is a mythological creature that is depicted as a recumbent feline with a human head. It has its origins in sculpted figures of lionesses with female human heads (unless the pharaoh was depicted as the son of the deity[clarification needed]) of Old Kingdom Egypt in association with their solar deities, Bast or Sekhmet. The sphinx is also used to represent some gods with the use of heads other than human (Karnak with a ram's head and Horus with a falcon's head).The ancient Greeks adapted this image and applied their own name for a male monster, the "strangler", an archaic figure of Greek mythology. Similar creatures of either gender appear throughout South and South-East Asia. In European decorative art, the sphinx enjoyed a major revival during the Renaissance. Later, the sphinx image, something very similar to the original Ancient Egyptian concept, was exported into many other cultures, albeit often interpreted quite differently due to translations of descriptions of the originals and the evolution of the concept in relation to other cultural traditions.
Generally the role of sphinxes is associated with architectural structures such as royal tombs or religious temples. The oldest known sphinx was found in Gobekli Tepe, Turkey and was dated to 9,500 B.C. Perhaps the first sphinx in Egypt was one depicting Queen Hetepheres II, of the fourth dynasty that lasted from 2723 to 2563 BC. She was one of the longest-lived members of the royal family of that dynasty.
The largest and most famous is the Great Sphinx of Giza, Arabic: أبو الهول, sited at the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile River and facing due east (29°58′31″N 31°08′15″E / 29.97528°N 31.1375°E / 29.97528; 31.1375). It is also from the same dynasty. Although the date of its construction is uncertain, the head of the Great Sphinx now is believed to be that of the pharaoh Khafra.
What names their builders gave to these statues is not known. At the Great Sphinx site, the inscription on a stele erected a thousand years later, by Thutmose IV in 1400 BCE, lists the names of three aspects of the local sun deity of that period, Khepera - Rê - Atum. The inclusion of these figures in tomb and temple complexes quickly became traditional and many pharaohs had their heads carved atop the guardian statues for their tombs to show their close relationship with the powerful solar deity, Sekhmet, a lioness. Other famous Egyptian sphinxes include one bearing the head of the pharaoh Hatshepsut, with her likeness carved in granite, which is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the alabaster sphinx of Memphis, currently located within the open-air museum at that site. The theme was expanded to form great avenues of guardian sphinxes lining the approaches to tombs and temples as well as serving as details atop the posts of flights of stairs to very grand complexes. Nine hundred with ram heads, representing Amon, were built in Thebes, where his cult was strongest.( History courtsey: Wikipidia)
The Great Pyramid of Giza (also called the Pyramid of Khufu and the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now El Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. It is believed the pyramid was built as a tomb for fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops in Greek) and constructed over a 20-year period concluding around 2560 BC. Initially at 146.5 metres (480.6 ft), the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years, the longest period of time ever held for such a record. Originally, the Great Pyramid was covered by casing stones that formed a smooth outer surface; what is seen today is the underlying core structure. Some of the casing stones that once covered the structure can still be seen around the base. There have been varying scientific and alternative theories about the Great Pyramid's construction techniques. Most accepted construction hypotheses are based on the idea that it was built by moving huge stones from a quarry and dragging and lifting them into place.
There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid. The lowest chamber is cut into the bedrock upon which the pyramid was built and was unfinished. The so-called Queen's Chamber and King's Chamber are higher up within the pyramid structure. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only pyramid in Egypt known to contain both ascending and descending passages. The main part of the Giza complex is a setting of buildings that included two mortuary temples in honor of Khufu (one close to the pyramid and one near the Nile), three smaller pyramids for Khufu's wives, an even smaller "satellite" pyramid, a raised causeway connecting the two temples, and small mastaba tombs surrounding the pyramid for nobles.
It is believed the pyramid was built as a tomb for fourth dynasty Egyptian pharaoh Khufu and constructed over a 14- to 20-year period. Khufu's vizier, Hemon, or Hemiunu, is believed by some to be the architect of the Great Pyramid. It is thought that, at construction, the Great Pyramid was originally 280 Egyptian cubits tall, 146.5 metres (480.6 ft) but with erosion and absence of its pyramidion, its present height is 138.8 metres (455.4 ft). Each base side was 440 royal cubits, 230.4 metres (755.9 ft) long. A royal cubit measures 0.524 metres. The mass of the pyramid is estimated at 5.9 million tonnes. The volume, including an internal hillock, is roughly 2,500,000 cubic metres. Based on these estimates, building this in 20 years would involve installing approximately 800 tonnes of stone every day. Similarly, since it consists of an estimated 2.3 million blocks, completing the building in 20 years would involve moving an average of more than 12 of the blocks into place each hour, day and night. The first precision measurements of the pyramid were done by Egyptologist Sir Flinders Petrie in 1880–82 and published as The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh. Almost all reports are based on his measurements. Many of the casing stones and inner chamber blocks of the Great Pyramid were fit together with extremely high precision. Based on measurements taken on the north eastern casing stones, the mean opening of the joints is only 0.5 millimetres wide (1/50th of an inch).
Great Pyramid of Giza from a 19th century stereopticon card photoThe pyramid remained the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years, unsurpassed until the 160-metre-tall spire of Lincoln Cathedral was completed c. 1300. The accuracy of the pyramid's workmanship is such that the four sides of the base have an average error of only 58 millimetres in length. The base is horizontal and flat to within 21 mm. The sides of the square base are closely aligned to the four cardinal compass points (within 4 minutes of arc) based on true north, not magnetic north, and the finished base was squared to a mean corner error of only 12 seconds of arc. The completed design dimensions, as suggested by Petrie's survey and subsequent studies, are estimated to have originally been 280 cubits high by 440 cubits long at each of the four sides of its base. The ratio of the perimeter to height of 1760/280 cubits equates to 2ð to an accuracy of better than 0.05% (corresponding to the well-known approximation of ð as 22/7). Some Egyptologists consider this to have been the result of deliberate design proportion. Verner wrote, "We can conclude that although the ancient Egyptians could not precisely define the value of ð, in practice they used it". Petrie, author of Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh concluded: "but these relations of areas and of circular ratio are so systematic that we should grant that they were in the builders design". Others have argued that the Ancient Egyptians had no concept of pi and would not have thought to encode it in their monuments. The creation of the pyramid may instead be based on simple ratios of the sides of right angled triangles ( History source: Wikipidia)
We also went to see the inside of a Pyramid. We bought ticket for Pyramid no II for 30 Egyptian Pounds ( USD$6 each). It was a bit scary as the slope was tough to negotiate and air circulation was not cool. It was stuffy and hot but many people were going inside.
After walking for about 50 meters we found the place where the Mummy used to be buried . Since, they don't allow cameras inside I took the picture no 3 and others with my cell phone as no body was watching.
There are three shows in the evening from 6.30, 7.30 & 8.30 PM at Giza Pyramids. The entrance fee is L.E.75 ( USD $15). This is one of the greatest shows we have ever seen to start your tour of Egypt. They tell you the history in detail, the life of Pharaos, how the Pyramids were built and by whom and the technology used.
It is a must for every one visiting Egypt.
It took a while to sink in that I was actually standing in front of these ancient monuments. My vantage point was quiet and I was alone with my thoughts. All this changed once we arrived at the foot of the pyramids - tourists, merchants and police everywhere.
If you are not prepared for this it can be a bit ovewhelming but it all adds to the fun. Just beware of friendly people who are willing to take your photo or to have one taken with them even dress you up in a headress - it will cost you. Make sure you have small denomination Egyptian pounds and join in the fun - remember they have to make a living too. For purchases learn to bargain. If you don't want to, just make sure you are firm before anything starts.
What is a visit to the pyramids and sphinx without the camel ride?!
The pyramids were built in the 4th Dynasty of the Old Kingdom. The pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) is the largest, followed by Khafra (Chephren) then Menkaura with its three satellite pyramids. Khufu and Khafra were constructed from limestone while Menkaura was made from granite. all were covered with casing stanes of polished limestone or pink granite some of which remains on the apex of Khafra.
They are the last remaining members of the 'Seven Wonders of the Ancient World'.
Sphinxes are creatures that have a body of a lion and the head of a human or other animal. The great sphinx is thought to have the head of pharaoh Khafra but the evidence for this may be circumstantial because of its location in the funerary complex surrounding that pyramid.