The Pyramids of Giza

The original tourist attraction, the Pyramids of Giza have been wowing people for over four thousand years. Despite the crowds of both visitors and people trying to extract money from you they remain an impressive sight, even as a shadow of their former glory when they were covered in polished limestone casing.

They lie on the edge of Cairo, surrounded by car parks and tour coaches. Entering by Great Pyramid of Giza (or Pyramid of Khufu) the crowds in the shoulder season were pretty full on, but thankfully thinned out as I walked around the pyramids.

The 137m pyramid feels giant, comprising of over two million blocks of stone, though the full height is difficult to appreciate from a foreshortened perspective without anything else for reference.

Neighbouring are three much smaller pyramids built for Khufu’s mother, wives and sisters.

There are some impressively large pits where five ‘solar boats’ where buried for use in the afterlife. One used to be housed in a museum here but has now been moved to the huge new Grand Egyptian Museum nearby, which was due to open in November 2023, six months after I visited.

The Pyramid of Khafre (son of Khufu) is slightly shorter than the Grand Pyramid but from a distance looks larger as it was built on higher ground. It has some of the original polished limestone casing at the top, giving an idea of what they looked like until looted for buildings in Cairo.

The Pyramid of Menkaure (son of Khafre) is by far the smallest, but at 62m is still higher than most pyramids in the world. I didn’t have time to get up close to it, but wish I had.

A nearby viewpoint provides a good panorama of the pyramids complex.

It is also a popular place for taking a short camel ride into the desert for more photos, though after riding a camel in Morocco I vowed not to repeat the experience so made do with photographing them from a safe distance instead.

Down from the Great Pyramid is Khafre’s Valley Temple, once home to 23 statues, now just 23 holes remain, though one statue was found and taken to the Egyptian Museum.

Just behind the temple is the Sphinx of Giza, which I found more impressive than I expected, though I’m unconvinced by the rather obvious restoration work around the base.

It’s a busy place!

I’d heard that there was a Pizza Hut by the Sphinx, which turned out to be true but further away than feared thankfully. The Vape Awards however we’re taking place soon immediately in front of the Sphinx…

Author: jontycrane

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