If there is one thing from Egypt that fascinates the most, then it is Pyramids of Giza. These larger than life structures have stood the test of time, and have been around for thousands of years. Their popularity among travelers is so high that majority if people coming down to Cairo, do it to visit the Pyramids of Giza. These Pyramids have given a global recognition to Cairo and Egypt, over the years. If you call yourself an avid traveler then you got pay a visit to these megalithic structures.
In this blog we have listed all important information that you need to know before visiting Pyramids of Giza. This guide is meant for you to make the most out of your trip to the Pyramids.
Brief History of Pyramids of Giza
Of all the Seven Wonders of the World, Pyramids of Giza are the oldest, and they date back to whopping 2560 BC. The Pyramids of Giza are actually tombs of the three different Egyptian pharaohs, who go by the name of Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure. The Great Pyramid of Khufu is the largest and the oldest of them all. As per the earlier historians it was believed that Great Pyramids was built by an army of slaves, but recent excavations and archeological remains prove otherwise. It is now believed that Great Pyramids were built by local Egyptians, consisting of 10,000 paid and skilled labors working in three months shift for 30 years building each pyramid.
It is believed that many important people of the Egyptian Dynasty were involved in the making of the Pyramids, which included Priests, who determined the exact location of the Pyramid, and architects that supervised the construction. It is believed that copper tools were used to sculpt the rocks, and they were hauled using large ramps. Some of the names of the workers are also inscribed on the rocks of Pyramids, which shows that they actually took pride in their work.
It is estimated that around 2 Million stone blocks were used to build the pyramids, while each stone block weighs average 50 tons. In present times Great Pyramids of Giza are listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, and the Government of Egypt is also planning to revamp the structures.
What to see in the premises of Pyramids of Giza
Great Pyramid of Khufu
The Great Pyramid of Khufu was the first Pyramid that was built on the Giza Plateau. It was built as a tomb for Egyptian pharaoh Khufu. It was tallest man made structure for over 3800 years. It is 138 meters tall. It was built using 2 Million blocks of stone, 5 Million tons of limestone, and 8000 tons of granite. Initially at the time of construction, the Pyramid of Khufu was covered with a layer of limestone, and it shone the sun rays to shine, but now the layer has vanished over time.
The opening times for Pyramid of Khufu are between 7 AM to 6 PM, which varies over different seasons. While visiting here you can indulge in quad bike safari and Camel Safari. It is to be noted that the pyramid of Khufu is the northern most Pyramid of the complex.
Pyramid of Khafre
The Pyramid of Khafre is the second oldest pyramid of the complex and is located at the South West Direction of the Pyramid of Khufu. This pyramid is known to have retained the outer covering of Limestone at its top which still exists. It was built by the son of Khufu, who went by the name of Khafre. The pyramid is 136 meters in height. The pyramid was slightly damaged in the earthquake of 14th century. It has two entrances including one at the height of 12 meters, and the other at the base.
The best time to visit the pyramids is in between the months of October to March. During the first ever recorded excavation and entrance to the Pyramid, the burial chamber was found to be empty while there were few animal bones inside it.
Pyramid of Menkaure
The Pyramid of Menkaure is the smallest of the pyramids, and sits at a height of around 62 meters. It is located to the south western point of the other two pyramids. It was built in the 26th century BC. It is the only pyramid that doesn’t has any remains of the limestone polishing layer. It was built as the tomb of the Egyptian Pharaoh Menkaurem who was the son of Khafre. Many parts of the pyramids are rough, which makes historians believe that its construction was rushed primarily because of the early death of the Pharaoh Menkaurem.
Great Sphinx of Giza
The limestone statue of Sphinx is known as the oldest monumental sculpture in Egypt. The monument of Sphinx has a face of the Pharaoh Khafre and body of a lion, which stands as a guardian of the Pyramids of Giza. The name sphinx was given to it by the ancient Greeks, as it resembled to a Greek Mythical winged Monster. It is 73 meters long in length and is 20 meters high. It has a broken nose, and a missing beard, along with a myth that its nose was damaged by army of Napoleon Bonaparte. The face and the headdress of the Sphinx was painted in red, yellow and blue in the ancient times.
Sphinx is also important to the Egyptian culture because they have been known to worship the sun, and have many sun gods.
Inside the Pyramids of Giza
In earlier times the entry inside the Pyramids of Giza was banned, but now you can enter it to see the graves of the ancient Egyptian kings. However the treasures inside the pyramid was looted over the period of time, but a walk inside is a walk in to the past.
To tour inside the Pyramids of Giza you will need a ticket which starts at a price of EGP 200 per person for adults and EGP 100 meant for children.
Inside the Pyramid of Khufu you will find three burial chambers, which can accessed through the Robbers Tunnel. When you will walk through the Grand Gallery, which is a slope way, you will find, Queens Chamber, Kings Chamber, and Subterranean Chamber. These chambers are built using great blocks of red granite, with blocks weighing as large as 400 tons. Inside the kings chamber you will find sarcophagus which is now empty.
Inside the Pyramid of Khafre you will find chambers that are built using gigantic blocks of granite. Inside the burial chamber you will find the ornate sarcophagus which was past sunk into the floor.
Inside the Pyramid of Menkaure you will find chambers on three distinct levels. These chambers are decorated with panels. Inside them there were two wooden coffins, of whom one is in the British Museum while the other was lost.
Camel Rides at the Pyramids of Giza
Animal cruelty is a real issue at the major tourist destinations, but if still you are keen on taking a camel ride, then you will find plenty of options over here. Before taking the camel be sure to ask for the price beforehand, and do negotiations if it feels required.
If you are travelling with kids, then they are going to sure enjoy it. Also be wary of the scams that you might fall prey to while just hoarding a camel.
The Sound and Light Show at the Pyramids of Giza
The Sound and Light show happens every night at the Pyramids of Giza. It is a one hour show, where Sphinx and the pyramids are shadowed with different colors. It is mostly informational and tells you about the history of the monuments. This show has been running since 1960’s and its format hasn’t changed much which can seem a little outdated to the tourists. However kids will like it.
If you are keen on enjoying the Light and Sound show, then it is highly advisable that you book the tickets well before in advance.
What to Wear while travelling to the Pyramids?
Top on this list should be comfortable footwear. It is to be taken note of that the complex of Pyramids of Giza is quite big, and you will have to do a lot of walking, so keep the comfort of your foot a priority.
Men can wear a trouser and a tee shirt, which will come in handy in the sunny terrain of the site. Women should wear modest dresses and should prefer clothing that covers their legs. Egypt being a Muslim country you need to be wary of their customs.
It is also advisable to carry UV sunglasses, a cap if you wear one, and a sunscreen lotion.
Make it a note of carrying a water bottle with you, as it can get really hot during the day times, and you will save some bucks which will rather go by buying over priced water bottles at the site.
How to get to the Pyramids of Giza
The most convenient and comfortable way of getting to the Pyramids is by hailing a Taxi. But you got to take note of what Taxi you are hiring. There are black taxis, which are that do not have meters nor the air conditioning. There are Yellow Taxis that come with all the comfort but can be pricier, and they are run by professional setups. Lastly there are white taxis that have meters and air conditioning.
You can also take a bus from downtown Cairo which will drop you till the Egyptian Museum.
Cairo Metro is also one option that will drop you till Giza Metro Station, but from there you need to take a Taxi to get to the actual site of the Pyramids of Giza.
How long does it takes to tour the Pyramids of Giza
The answer to this is totally subjective. If you are travelling to Cairo totally to tour the pyramids, then least devote a day’s time for its tour. The more you will stay, the more you will get to learn about the history of these magnificent structures. In case you a regular tourist on a long itinerary, then it would take merely a couple of hours to tour the site. To be precise, let us say 2 or 3 hours.
You have to take a note that apart from its humongous size there is not much that is there to explore inside the Pyramids of Giza. The majority of the time while touring this site will be from the outside.
Pyramids of Giza, See ya!