It's hard to explain the feeling you get when you first see these astounding pyramids at Giza. As you approach they loom high against the endless desert. In front, guarding them is the magnificent Sphinx and even he is much huger than you would expect.
Pyramid of Cheops
I couldn't believe the immensity of these structures and had to question how mere men (mainly slaves) ever built them. And how, these millennium later, they still stand as proud monuments to an ancient culture.
Giza is located to the west of Central Cairo not far from the ancient cities of Memphis and Saqqara. The pyramids include the great pyramid built for the pharaoh Cheops in the 4th dynasty and the slightly smaller Pyramid of Chephren date from around 2500 BC. There are also the Pyramid of Mykerinos and some smaller pyramids built for the kings' families, The Great Pyramid of Cheops immortalizes the son of Snerferu and Hetpheres. This pyramid is the largest of the three, comprised of 2.3 million stone blocks each weighing an average of 2.5 tons. How on earth did they move these stones to build a monument so high as this? This is definitely one of the 'wonders' of the world! In fact, the pyramids of Giza are the last remaining Seven Wonders of the World.
The Great Sphinx
The Sphinx is located nearby. Down below the base of the sphinx some workers were doing repairs and they looked small as toys against the great height of this monument. The Great Sphinx has stood guard over the pyramids for more than 4500 years. It is carved from an outcrop of rock and remains the ultimate symbol of Ancient Egypt with its lion's body and human head.
Site guides waiting for customers
My mascot Abdul rubs noses with one of his brothers.A few lonely camels and their drivers loitered at the site begging for customers to take a ride. We didn't have time, but stopped to chat. I felt sorry for the camel drivers are there were so few tourists around and this is how they make a living.
Nearby the Giza site is the Museum of the Egyptian Solar Boat where we stopped briefly to take a look at the full size boat which was discovered in 1954 when excavating archaeologists lowered into a pit noticed a smell of cedar wood and there discovered sight of a large oar of a full-sized dismantled boat. The pit had been airtight and the boat was in a remarkable state of preservation complete with ropes for rigging and pieces of matting.
Friendly local boys
This visit to Giza is certainly one that has remained clearly in my memory. You can't imagine the thrill it was to stand below these spectacular monuments, even to stand a few feet up on a ledge of the Cheops pyramid. It still boggles my mind how they were ever constructed! I question how many men did it take? How many died trying to build it? What did it look like when it was new?
I count myself fortunate that I got the opportunity to go there as it is certainly something I will never forget from all my travels.
Standing on Cheop's Pyramid
The souvenier seller who wanted me to pose.
Look! I'm touching the top!
NEXT: We're Going to MEMPHIS