Cairo's Pyramids Photo Gallery
Southwest of the city, Giza is famous for its ancient monuments, with the Pyramids and the Sphinx being the star attractions. The Pyramids are the sole Ancient Seven Wonders to survive to today. Built as royal tombs some 5000 years ago, there are 3 on this site today, with the largest built by Khufu that i8s believed to contain over 2 million blocks of stone.
Gazing at these structures in the middle of the desert, it raises the question how were the ancient Egyptians able to achieve such greatness and how lucky we are to be able to see them today.
Camel rides are available to roam the vast emptiness around these great monuments.
Visitors once climbed the Great Pyramid with the assistance of local Bedouins, and they would scribble their graffiti onto the stone to mark the occasion. The practice of ascending this monument was banned in the 1980s.
The Sphinx stands guard to the Pyramid of Khafre. Believed to be built around 2500BC, this monument was believed to once have a beard, which was a symbol of royalty.
At night, these seats are filled with tourists catching the Sound and Light Show, an entirely different feeling than observing these great structures under the intense desert sun.
Egypt's largest archaeological site was once a cemetery for the royal capital of Memphis. Old Kingdom pharaohs and their subjects were buried here, although much of it was buried underneath sand and rediscovered in modern times. The Step Pyramid is the world's oldest, conceived by Pharaoh Zoser's chief architect, Imhotep, in the 27th century BC. 60m high with 6 steps, the pyramid is encased in white limestone and represents a shift in burial style from underground rooms covered by mud-brick mastabas.
Construction materials were transported to this site by canal, about 25km south of Cairo.
The 6 steps are made of five rectangles, each smaller than the previous, to create a pyramid-like effect. It seemed eeringly tall in the desert landscape, although nowadays it is hardly lonely with so many hawkers, tourists, camels, and horses.
Meanwhile, there were also plenty of other smaller buildings in various states of ruin.
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