My recent trip to Egypt came with a host of surprises. It’s long been on my bucket list to travel to the cradle of civilization, and the journey began at Giza (where you’ll find the only remaining of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World).
The Giza Complex includes the Giza Necropolis, Pyramids, Sphynx, and Valley Temple of Khafre. They were built on the west side of the Nile River because this is the side where the sun sets. This strange juxtaposition is quite fascinating when you view the ancient pyramids in the desert, where it feels so remote, and when you turn around, behind you is a modern city.
How old the pyramids are is a bit controversial. Some believe they were built 4500 years ago (already ancient at the time of Jesus) to honor Egyptian Pharoahs known as gods back then, but others believe they How old the pyramids are is a bit controversial. Some believe they were built 4500 years ago (already ancient at the time of Jesus) to honor Egyptian Pharaohs known as gods back then. Still, others believe they were built much earlier by a civilization of giant people who created the pyramids as a power plant. Whatever story you believe, one thing is for sure: The pyramids are an engineering marvel.
1. The southeast corners of all three pyramids line up on an exact diagonal. Questions remain: How did they get tons of granite transported to Giza from where it came from in Aswan (over 850 km away)? How did they cut each block so precisely with primitive tools? How did they stack these heavy blocks so accurately, and with what means? It’s mind-blowing!
2. The Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest building in the world for 3,800 years! The Lincoln Cathedral in Lincoln, England, took the honors when in 1311.
3. The Pyramids of Giza were built more than 1,200 years before the rule of King Tut
4. Math geeks will love this: Divide Great Pyramid’s perimeter by its height, and it comes out to 2π (at a time when Pi did not exist!) Hmmm...
Myth has it that the pyramids housed the remains of the Pharaohs for whom they were allegedly built. The Great Pyramid (construction for the oldest and largest of the three was started 2560 BC and took around 20 years to build) contained no remains of the Pharaoh Khufu. There was only one (6 cm tall) artifact of Khufu found, which can now be found in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The second-tallest pyramid was built in 2570 B.C. for King Khufu’s son, Khafre. It looks taller than the Great Pyramid, but it’s an illusion since it was built on higher ground. The Pyramid of Menkaure is the final resting place of king Khufu’s grandson and is also the smallest of the three pyramids.
Your guide might try to dissuade you from climbing into the pyramid, but I am so glad we did! You might want to reconsider going deep into the Great Pyramid if you are claustrophobic. The Great Gallery is super narrow. That said, if you’re comfortable in confined spaces, it’s totally worth it. A word of warning: our quads were incredibly sore for three days following the climb, so if you’re not in good physical shape, this might be a reason not to go in.
They'll make you leave your camera at the entry (but they did let us bring our cell phones). You will get a receipt, and be sure to hold onto it because it’s the only way to retrieve it. Better yet, leave your fancy camera at home (they will charge you extra to use it in lots of places).
Great Sphinx, the largest monolith statue in the world, is a massive statue with the body of a lion and human head. The Sphinx is located at the foot of the Pyramid of Khafre. The Sphinx was known to early Arabs as the “Father of Terror.” The Sphinx itself was carved out of a single piece of bedrock, with several blocks building up the paws and legs. Visitors often view it close-up and take funny pictures as if they are “kissing” the Sphinx. I even did one of my own!
When in Egypt, do what the Egyptians do, right? For the best view of the pyramids, and a vantage point to see all nine, and get your picture taken with an incredible backdrop, the best way to do that is on a camel.
You would be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t hire an Egyptologist as your private guide when you visit this historical area. We learned so much more about these amazing places and artifacts than if we had done it on our own. It was truly the most transformational trip I’ve ever done!
If a trip to Egypt is on your bucket list, I can help. Reach out soon HERE and let’s get started!
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