The Great Pyramids of Egypt, the Step Pyramids, and the Sphynx are amazing wonders of the world that are easily accessible from Cairo, Egypt. While many of the spectacular ancient artifacts of Egypt are far from the capital, and require an additional flight, these beauties are right there in the Suburbs. So, on a recent work trip to Cairo, we took an afternoon off to re-visit the sites of Giza.
The 3 Great Pyramids and the Sphynx are all on the same complex. The area is definitely a “tourist trap”, so be prepared to be assailed and assaulted during the entire visit with offers of camel rides, horse rides, carriage rides, post cards, fake papyrus, and plastic miniatures of pyramids and the Sphynx. Also, for some reason, the Egyptian tourists want to have their picture taken with Western tourists. This is an opportunity to feel, in small part, what it is like to be a celebrity, hounded by fans demanding selfies. Oddly enough, however, if you want to take a photograph of an Egyptian, they demand you pay them for the privilege. I tried turning that back around on them, and jokingly asked for money to have my photo taken with them, a suggestion they found hilarious.
Most photos we see of the 3 Great Pyramids (including my photo at the top) are taken from afar, to get all three in. Accordingly, they don’t seem all that big. It is only when you get up close that you realize how incredibly huge they are. It is truly amazing to ponder on the fact that these pyramids were built long before any type of modern machinery, such as cranes, bulldozers, etc., and have survived, relatively intact, for thousands of years! Of course, we have to somberly acknowledge that thousands of slaves labored under what were, undoubtedly, cruel conditions, to build a monument to a ruler’s ego. And, so, when we are marveling, we should also remember those poor souls. These monuments might last even longer if folks would obey the posted rules and refrain from climbing all over the relics.
Because of the crowd and constant harassment, we didn’t linger close to the Big Pyramid for long, and had our driver take us around to the other side of the complex where the Sphynx is. Some people say the Sphynx lost its nose when Napoleon’s troops shot at it for target practice after they invaded Egypt. That theory has mostly been debunked. I think it was because too many tourists punched the Sphynx in the nose for photos. I admit to contributing to this nonsense, but at least I kissed it and made it better. 🙂
Look for my next blog about the Step Pyramids, just a few minutes down the road from the Great Pyramids.
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