When I visited the Pyramids in Giza some years ago, while working the whole winter in Egypt, one of my dreams came true. It is majestic, phenomenal, colossal in every sense. Standing there I expected to feel the thousands-year-old history and to see and understand the ancient civilisations and culture. That didn’t happen because the constant nagging, wanting to sell a postcard or some 5ç souvenir for 10$ rather destroyed the atmosphere. If it doesn’t disturb you (who wouldn’t be disturbed by such an annoyance) or you can switch off your mind, you won’t have a bitter feeling after this. I honestly had at that time, but now looking back by looking at my pictures I don’t feel it. I just feel lucky I could see it too.
From Hurghada it started very early, if I remember good at midnight and then by bus about 450 km, which means 5-6 hours to get there. The journey meant sleeping on the bus, maybe we saw the sunrise from the bus.
The Egyptian Museum in Cairo is one of the best Museums in the World in my opinion! Thousands of artefacts, mummies displayed in glass boxes (was my favourite part), the famous gold mask of Tutanhamon etc… Pity it wasn’t allowed to take the camera inside.
And then we visited the Pyramids and the Sphinx. You can walk there, you can be taken to certain points by bus/jeep, you can ride a camel/donkey there. Since the visiting of the sight doesn’t require to be described in detail I rather found some interesting information about Pyramids and the Sphinx 🙂
The Pyramids of Giza consist of the Great Pyramid of Giza (Pyramid of Cheops or Khufu) and the smaller Pyramid of Khafre and the Pyramid of Menkaure.
The Pyramids of Giza are the oldest and only remaining of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This list also once included the Lighthouse of Alexandria, Colossus of Rhodes and Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis in Turkey.
- The three pyramids of Giza are the most famous in Egypt, but more than 130 other pyramids have been discovered in the area of Ancient Egypt.
- All pyramids in Egypt are situated on the west bank of the River Nile because that is where the sun sets every evening, symbolizing the kingdom of the dead.
- Over 100,000 people were involved in the construction of the Pyramids of Giza and they may not have been slaves as once thought but rather paid workers.
- The Great Pyramid was built in around 2560 BC, so it is more than 4500 years old.
- It is generally believed to be constructed as a tomb for Khufu, who was the second Pharaoh from the Fourth Dynasty.
- It is thought to be constructed in 20 years of over 2 million stone blocks weighing 2-50 tons, though it remains a mystery how they were transported. The stones are believed to be transported to the site from Aswan, which is 800 km away.
- Based on how big the pyramid is, how many stones it was built of and how long it took to build it, building it would mean installing ca. 800 tonnes of stone every day. More than 12 of the blocks into place each hour, day and night.
- It was the largest building of the world for 3,800 years, it is more than 140 meters.
- It was once covered in a white casing, which was so polished that it would reflect the sun’s rays. The Ancient Egyptians called it the ‘Glorious Light’.
- It is a true masterpiece, it was built with such precision that our current technology cannot replicate it.
Pyramids have been built by civilisations in many parts of the world. Some interesting facts I have found about Pyramids on ‘World Pyramids’ website. Nobody knows how many Pyramids can be in the World, many are still undiscovered. What the scientists know:
- The world famous pyramid location is Egypt with around 120 pyramids
- The main land of pyramids is Latin America: There are about 230-250 pyramids in the Yucatan. In Guatemala the El Mirador ancient Mayan city has more than 30 pyramids and the tallest is the La Danta pyramid, 172 meters, it is with 26 meters taller than the Great pyramid in Egypt! The total number of the pyramids in Guatemala is around 300-400. Together with Mexico, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador there are around 1000 pyramids there!
- There are pyramidal mounds in North America e.g. the Monks Mound in St. Luis, Illinois
- In South America there are pyramids in Peru
- In Europe there are pyramids in Greece, Spain, France, Sicily, Tenerife, England and Russia.
- In Asia there are more than 200 pyramids in China.
- In Southeast Asia close to 20 pyramids in Cambodia and Indonesia were discovered so far.
- There are Pyramids in the oceans too: The researchers found 3 underwater pyramids and some destroyed pyramids close to the Cuban seashore.
The Statue of the Sphinx can be found in front of the three Pyramids, it is the oldest known sculpture of the World. Archaeologists think that the Sphinx was plastered and then painted in a deep red colour. It is believed that the statue was a place of pilgrimage.
The Legend of the Sphinx
There is a legend according to the Greek literature: A monster called the Sphinx (a creature with ahuman head and a lion body) was killing travellers on the road to Thebes, Greece who could not answer her riddle: “What creature walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three in the evening?” Finally Oedipus could solved the riddle: “Man.” who crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and then uses a walking stick in old age.
There was a second riddle of the Sphinx, it is not that known, I didn’t know it myself either: “There are two sisters: one gives birth to the other and she, in turn, gives birth to the first. Who are the two sisters?” The answer is “day and night”.
After Oedipus solved the riddle, the Sphinx was so upset that it jumped from a wall. However it didn’t work out so well for Oedipus, they made him king in honor of killing the monster, he ended up sleeping with his mother the Queen (he’d killed his father unknowingly earlier)…
So that is what I found out about these monuments in Giza, interesting, or?
Anyway at the end of the tour of course we were taken back to Hurghada, tired like hell. I do have good memories about this excursion now…