You’ve seen a thousand of photos of the Pyramids of Giza until you finally get there, but nothing happens when you get up – almost personally with these ancient monuments. The most famous and feasible structures of Egypt, these ancient tombs of the kingdoms guarded by the serene Sphinx have amazed spectators for centuries. Today, they continue to work their magic on everyone who visits. No trip to Egypt is complete without the time spent here, at one of the most recognized tourist attractions in the world. Smoothly descending over the edge of Cairo’s suburban expansion, these powerful monuments are a tribute to the power and ambition of the rulers of the pharaohs of Egypt.
What will you see at the Pyramids of Giza?
Pyramids of Kufu
Giza’s Great Pyramid (also called the “Pyramid of Cheops”) is not only the most famous monument of this ancient site but one of the most famous monuments in the world. It was built by Pharaoh Khufu (commonly referred to by the Greek transcription of Cheops) and was known to the ancient Egyptians as Ekhet Khufu (“Horizon of Khufu”). According to Herodotus, 100,000 people worked on its construction for three months each year. The cubic content of this mammoth structure is amazing. Excluding the stone foundation and the inner chambers, the Great Pyramid is 2.3 million cubic meters. The measurement of the base is 227.5 meters, and the vertical height is 137.2 meters.
Inside the Kufu Pyramid
The non-claustrophobic one can venture into the bowels of the pyramid, although there is not much to see once inside the narrow and narrow corridors. The entrance is through a passage on the north side of the pyramid, which was cut by grave robbers about 15 meters below the original entrance. This narrow tunnel leads into the Great Gallery, a long passage that is a wonder of skillful masonry. Beyond this is the Tomb Chamber containing the empty granite sarcophagus, which once contained Khufu’s mummy.
The solar boat
Excavations in the south and east of the Pyramid of Cheops in 1954 brought to light five long cavities for boats, with a Solar Barque broken into more than a thousand pieces as a votive offering. Restoration work once took the boat and the 4,500-year-old cedar boat is now on display in this small one-room museum, right next to the Great Pyramid.
The eastern cemetery
To the east of the Pyramid of Cheops are three smaller pyramids made as tombs for queens and a daughter of Pharaoh and a large cemetery for other relatives. On the south side is a row of large mastabas belonging to high dignitaries.
The Western Cemetery
To the west of the Pyramid of Cheops is the royal cemetery for members of the Royal House and senior state officials, established during the fourth dynasty and used until the sixth. Here you will find the entrance in the small column of the Tomb of Senegemib-Inti, which contains some interesting wall sculptures.
Chephren’s Pyramid (Khafre’s Pyramid)
The Pyramid of Chephren (Pyramid of Khafre) is located 160 meters southwest of the Great Pyramid . Built by Khufu’s son, Khafre, at first it seems to be larger than his father’s previous pyramid, as it is on a larger piece of land. A considerable section of the original limestone casing has managed to be preserved at the top of the pyramid, and the appearance of the mortuary temple on the east side can be clearly distinguished. The pyramid has a height of 135.5 meters and a measuring base of 210.5 meters.
Pyramid of Mycerinus
The smallest of the three main pyramids in Giza is the Pyramid of Mycerinus (Pyramid of Menkaure), made of unusually large blocks of limestone. It has a vertical height of 62 meters and a measuring base of 108 meters. In the southern part of the pyramid are three smaller pyramids, left unfinished, for Pharaoh’s relatives.
Perhaps the most famous monument in Egypt after the Great Pyramid itself, the enigmatic Sphinx is a simple but finely built granite structure, resembling a lion standing just northwest of the Pyramid of Cheops . Sewed from natural rock, it has the head of a pharaoh (most commonly thought to be Chephren) and wears a red cloth and a cobra. The atmosphere and deliberate mutilation have caused much damage over the centuries, but despite this, the Sphinx still conveys a strong impression of greatness and artistic achievement. The total length of the figure is 73.5 meters, and its height is 20 meters.
History of the Pyramids of Giza: The only surprising wonder of the ancient world
The Pyramid of Chephren and the Sphinx
Built by the rulers of the fourth dynasty in Egypt (2600-2500), the Pyramids of Giza are among the oldest surviving structures in the world. In Greek and Roman times, they were wonderful as the first of the Seven Wonders of the World, and they still exert a strong fascination, both as an extraordinary technical achievement and as a demonstration of the power of the pharaohs, which could mark dozens of thousands of subjects to build these colossal monuments.
The problem of the connection between the size of a pyramid and the ruler for which it was built is still troubled. However, it seems that the size depends on the inclination, strength and economic resources of the pharaoh. It has not been possible to prove an alternative theory that the size of a pyramid could be increased in stages over a long domain.
Common Features about The Pyramids of Giza
Common features for all the pyramids are their location on the edge of the desert west of the Nile and their structure, built of huge blocks of local limestone and enclosed in a housing, initially polished, of granular white limestone or granite. Hidden in the vast majority of the pyramid (later) or in the basement below its base (earlier), it was a relatively small tomb, a room for the worship of the dead pharaoh, and other rooms for graves. Also common to all the pyramids were the entrance on the north side and the mortuary temple on the east side, with a path (initially open, later frequently covered), leading to it from a valley temple on the edge of the Depression. NILE.
Where to stay in Cairo?
We recommend these convenient hotels with magnificent views of the Pyramids of Giza and easy access to the site:
Four Seasons Cairo Hotel at First Residence: luxury on the west bank of the Nile, elegant décor, large rooms, outdoor pool, holistic spa, five restaurants and lounges.
Marriott Mena House Hotel: five-star hotel, accessible, hosts royalties and celebrities, 40-acre gardens, antique and handcrafted furniture, heated outdoor pool, top-notch spa.
Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa (currently closed due to construction of Metro line): prices in the middle of the distance, less than a kilometer from the Sphinx, comfortable rooms, sparkling outdoor pools, elegant spa.
Pyramids View Inn: cheap hotel, panoramic roof terrace, warm Egyptian hospitality, free breakfast.
Tips and excursions: How to make the most of your visit to the pyramids of Giza
Organized tours: Many tourists find the easiest way to visit the Pyramids of Giza by organizing an organized tour. A good travel guide can help you understand the confusing history presented here and help you deal with the many camel rides and souvenirs. Taking a tour also solves the difficulty of getting around the big site because you will have an air-conditioned vehicle at your disposal, which can do everything to enjoy your visit in the deserted heat.
Day Tour : History lovers will appreciate the Pyramids of Giza, Sphinx, Memphis and Saqqara Private Tour, which includes a full day exploring all the ancient sites of Giza, and beyond the ancient Saqqara and Memphis, with an Egyptologist’s guide. If you want to pack all your Pharaonic sights in Cairo in one day, this is a great choice with the transportation provided by the hotel door.
Pyramids Half-day tour: If you want to visit the sights at a faster pace, the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx Private Tour are a half-day trip to the attractions of the Giza Plateau with an Egyptologist’s guide. This includes pickup and drop-off from the hotel.
Pyramids of Giza Sound and light show: For an alternative look at the Pyramids of Giza, the show Pyramids Sound and Light allows you to see these ancient monuments lit under the night sky, with the historical narrative offered by the enigmatic Sphinx. Transportation is included.
Best time to visit the Pyramids?
Timing: To get rid of the crowds and the worst heat of the desert, the sooner you can get here, the better. If you want to get inside the Great Pyramid, be aware that a limited number of tickets to enter the Great Pyramid are sold based on a meeting received twice a day, at 8:00 and again at 1 p.m. : 00.
Tickets: If you miss the Great Pyramid indoor tickets, don’t worry. Tickets for the inside of the Chephren Pyramid are sold throughout the day, with no number limits.
Views: The best panoramic views of the pyramid are found on a rocky staircase four kilometers south of the Pyramid of Mycerinus.
Getting around the site: Anyone with a decent level of fitness can easily walk between the pyramids and the Sphinx (as long as it’s not too hot), but if you want to go as far as the panoramic view, you’ll need transport inside the site. The easiest way to do this is to organize an organized tour of the area. Also, if you have hired a taxi to take you to Giza, drivers are allowed on-site and can transfer you around. For more adventure, horses and camels can be hired at the site.
Nazlet Al Smman Stables: If you want to ride the pyramids, it is worth going to the stables in the village (near the Sphinx park), where guides are recommended and the horses are kept in good condition. The best time to go for a horse ride in the pyramid area is at sunset when you can head to the surrounding desert to see the monuments as the sunsets.
Camel Rides: Although it’s a kind of cliché, a camel ride in front of the pyramids is one of those Egyptian things you have to do. If you’re coming for a camel once on your trip, it should be here. Get ready to negotiate.
Peckish sentiment: If you want to be treated, you can have a meal or a drink at the Mena House Hotel, near the main entrance of the Pyramid. For a more local (and cheaper) meal, there are a number of cheap and cheerful restaurants right in front of the Sphinx entrance.