The Pyramids of Giza in Egypt
Why should you have seen the pyramids of Giza in Egypt?
With an age of about 4,500 years, they are among the oldest still preserved man-made structures – the pyramids of Giza. They are the only structure of the seven wonders of the ancient world, which is still preserved today and count as a World Heritage Site. The pyramids, around which even today many unexplained mysteries entwine, are thus worth a visit to dive into the long-gone time of the pharaohs of Egypt.
Best time to visit:
the whole year
How much time should you allow for the Pyramids of Giza?
Recommended duration: 2-3 days
Minimum duration: 1 day
Name: Pyramids of Giza
Area: 16. 359 ha
Location: Giza near Cairo
Long before the construction of the first pyramids, mastabas, that is, ancient Egyptian burial structures, were built, making the pyramid field in Giza has always been an important cemetery. It is impossible to determine today how many of the ancient tombs were destroyed by the construction.
The construction began around 2620 BC and lasted a good 120 years. It took place during the 4th dynasty of Egyptian rulers. Alone the construction of the road, on which the raw materials for the pyramids were transported to Giza, lasted according to a legend already 10 years. The pyramids were built on a 1000m x 2000m limestone plateau, but in addition, secondary pyramids, temples, cemeteries and more were built on site.
After the 4th Dynasty it became quieter around the pyramid complex, from the Middle Kingdom are hardly remains, only during the New Kingdom (about 1550 – 1070 BC), for the first time again restoration work on the structures took place.
Scientific exploration of the pyramids in modern times began around 1798/ 1799, and since then there have been repeated excavations and finds that have been scientifically studied. Despite all this, neither the area nor the pyramids have been fully explored to this day.
Kingdom of the Pharaohs
What is there to discover at Pyramids of Giza?
The highest and probably best known of the pyramids is the Cheops Pyramids in honor of the Pharaoh Cheops. It was originally 146 m high, today it is only 138 m high due to subsidence. The pyramid consists of about 3 million stone blocks, each of which weighs about 2.5 tons. It is a monumental structure, especially when you consider that the Egyptians did not use wheeled carts to build it, but probably hauled the loads across the inclined planes. Inside are royal burial chambers, queen’s chambers, various underground burial chambers, galleries and more.
The middle of the pyramids was built in honor of Pharaoh Khafre, hence its name, Pyramid of Khafre. Although nowadays it is 2 meters smaller than the Pyramid of Cheops, it seems higher, as it stands about 10 meters higher. Many laymen therefore often confuse the two pyramids with each other.
The smallest pyramid is the Mykerinos Pyramid, for the pharaoh of the same name. It was originally only 65 meters high, so not half as high as the other two.
All three pyramids used to be covered with limestone slabs and thus had a smooth surface, not as we know them today, as stepped pyramids.
What many visitors do not know is that there is also a so-called “fourth pyramid of Giza”, this is located southeast of the Pyramid of Khafre. Originally, this was thought to be an unfinished pyramid, but it is a two-tiered step pyramid. It is 17 meters high, and the tomb construction included a settlement for priests as well as a ship’s tomb – attributes that make the pyramid a full ruler’s tomb.
Many mysteries surrounding the pyramids
Although the pyramids actually contain burial chambers, not a single body has been found in them to date. Even the sarcophagus, which was found and opened in the king’s chamber of the Cheops pyramid was empty, the mystery around the whereabouts of the bones of the Pharaoh is still unsolved today. In addition, not all chambers inside the pyramids have been found and opened up. What is hidden in the depths of the building will probably remain a mystery for a long time. But also the scanty finds and hieroglyphics in the buildings still give a lot of unsolved riddles.
But as was clear from surviving writings from 450 BC, there were also then already countless myths and legends around the buildings, which also include the well-known Sphynx.
The four sides of the pyramids are each aligned exactly according to the 4 cardinal directions and there are further indications that the pyramids were erected according to an astronomical scheme.
It seems reasonably clear that the pyramids are meant to represent some sort of connection between heaven and earth, primarily to help the pharaohs, or their souls, ascend to heaven after their deaths.
Research, excavation and work around the monuments is still in full swing, and a great deal of time will pass before the last mystery is finally solved – if ever all mysteries can be solved.
Tourists as far as the eye can see
Overrun by tourism
The pyramids are famous, ancient, special and carry a unique history – thus the main source of income for the region is tourism. Accordingly, many tourists make pilgrimages to Egypt to see this fabled site at least once. Many find the souvenir sellers, camel drivers and the like very disturbing and find it difficult to engage with the wonder of the world, when at the same time trying to sell something to the travelers.
Giza is only 23 km away from Cairo International Airport, so the city, and therefore the pyramids, are relatively quick and easy to reach from anywhere in the world. Weekly, more than 2,000 flights arrive and depart from Cairo.
From there, there are a variety of ways to get to Giza, either by cab, bus or rental car, with prices varying depending on the type of travel and individual personal preference.
In general, however, it is worth booking in advance, simply because of the large crowds of tourists.
Who wants to visit the pyramids can stay overnight in Giza as well as in Cairo, from both cities the buildings can be reached quickly. Here too, as in many tourist cities, the offer is huge, and so everyone should find the place they want. But again, it’s worth booking in advance.
What does such a tour cost?
Who wants to visit the pyramids must also pay admission. To the pyramids this costs 50 EGP, thus approx. 5€. For the entrance to the individual pyramids, museums and light shows that are offered there, a fee must be paid in addition, students are here in the advantage, they pay everywhere only half.
The pyramids are open all year round from 7-19 clock, only at Ramadan close these already at 17 clock.
The pyramids of Giza on a world tour?
The enormous tourist rush to the pyramids of Giza could well deter one or the other – at the same time, the many visitors also show that the buildings are special and worth seeing. With their ancient 4,500 year old, very impressive history, the pyramids are something special and they tell their story to anyone who tunes out the tourists around them for a moment. To see in the region are not only the famous pyramids, but also the Sphinx and various museums, which makes even a slightly longer stay in any case not boring.