With their overwhelming size and beautiful perfection, the Pyramids of Giza are iconic, ancient wonders to visit.
Visit the Pyramids of Giza
Thousands of years ago the Pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure (father, son, and grandson) built their massive tombs to last for eternity. They were constructed during a time when Egypt was one of the richest and most powerful civilizations in the world. These feats of engineering and innovation stand in the dune-covered wilderness of Egypt. That’s why the Pyramids of Giza rightly remain a top bucket list destination. It is a place that is shrouded in myth, beauty and wonder.
The Three Pyramids
Giza has three principal pyramids. The most famous is the Great Pyramid, also called Khufu or Cheops, which originally stood 481 feet high. The next tallest is Khafre which towers at 471 feet high. Menkaure, at 213 feet high is the third pyramid. Seeing them, modern man can only ask how and why they were built. Much research over time has uncovered some answers.
Each one was part of a royal mortuary complex, massive tombs built to precision by orders of the ruling pharaohs. They were specifically designed to protect a pharaoh’s body and precious belongings buried with him from robbers. The top point of the pyramid was a symbolic “departure point” for the pharaoh’s soul to reach heaven.
How the Pyramids of Giza Were Built
It took massive teams to build such massive structures. tens of thousands of people were necessary to build them. These workers used wooden sleds, papyrus ropes, ramps and levers to fit these stones into place. They managed to fit the blocks together without mortar. The size of each pyramid likely had much to do with the wealth and power.
Pyramidologists say the stones are so precisely placed – to the millimeter – that they argue they must’ve been built by aliens. While it may seem ludicrous, many a visitor examining the pyramids tend end up believing that perhaps these awesome creations could have had unearthly origins or at least some divine inspiration.
What to See: The Pyramids of Giza
Giza is a few kilometers south Cairo and is spread across a sandy desert plateau. Here’s what you should plan on seeing:
The Three Main Pyramids
The three pyramids in Giza rank as one of the top tourist destinations in the world. There’s something to see at each one.
Great Pyramid of Khufu
This is the largest pyramid which was built with 1.3 million blocks of limestone that each weigh from two tons to 15 tons. It was once the tallest structure on Earth. That record ended with the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889.
Originally, the Great Pyramid gleamed with a spectacular casing of shining white limestone. This outer layer no longer exists, taken long ago as building material.
Pyramid of Khafre
At first sight this pyramid seems taller than Khufu’s. However, it simply stands on a higher elevation. It also has different interior than Khufu.
Pyramid of Menkaure
Khafre’s son Menkaure ordered the building of the smallest of the three pyramids of Giza.
Other Smaller Pyramids and Tombs
Several smaller pyramids belonging to queens can be seen in Giza. It was believed that being buried near the pharaoh was a great honor.
Archaeological excavations near the pyramids lead to finding of a Solar Boat, which was one way a pharaoh’s body could be transported to the site. You can view this 4,500-year-old boat in a one-room museum next to the Great Pyramid.
Another eternal icon of Egypt is the Sphinx. This famous granite structure was created in shape of a lion but has the head of a pharaoh wearing a royal head piece. There has been erosion on the Sphinx throughout time yet it remains an impressive sight to see.
Tips for Visiting the Pyramids of Egypt
Find the Perfect Tour: A good tour guide is the best way to understand the deep history of the area. Having access to an air-conditioned vehicle is also a plus in the scorching desert heat. There are an array of half-day and whole-day tours that pick up and drop off at Cairo’s hotels.
Pyramids at Night: Tourists also can plan for an alternative look at the Giza Pyramids by attending a night time sound and light show.
When to Go: Like any major tourist sight in the world you can avoid crowds and heat by getting there early in the morning. Thousands of people will be crawling Giza by the middle of the day. Also know that the big pyramid has a daily limit on ticket admissions.
How to Dress: Out of local respect for locals, aim to cover your body (no crop tops or minis). This will also be practical to prevent sunburn. Comfortable shorts or pants are ideal to explore the inside of the pyramid which will have low and narrow passageways and some ladders to climb.
For a View: For a beautiful view of all the pyramids, head four kilometers south of the Pyramid of Mycerinus.
Camel and Horse Rides: It’s touristy, but camel rides are a fun thing to consider while visiting the Pyramids of Giza. There are also horse rides.
The Pyramids of Giza are a wonder of the world, a fascinating destination to plan for an unforgettable vacation. Would you like to visit the Pyramids of Giza?