Cheops Chephren Mycerinos in Giza
And now to what everybody has been waiting for. The most famous part of Egypt and the main reason most of us want to go there. The pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza. I’m going to have to do a lot of explaining in this part, because we have to talk about 3 pyramids and the sphinx.
The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. Egyptologists believe that the pyramid was built as a tomb over a 10 to 20-year period concluding around 2560 BC. Initially at 146.5 metres, the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years. Originally, the Great Pyramid was covered by casing stones that formed a smooth outer surface; what is seen today is the underlying core structure.
The Pyramid of Chephren is the second-tallest and second-largest of the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids of Giza and the tomb of the Fourth-Dynasty pharaoh Chephren, who ruled from c. 2558 to 2532 BC. The pyramid has a base length of 215.5 m and rises up to a height of 136.4 meters. It is made of limestone blocks weighing more than 2 tons each. It sits on bedrock 10 m higher than Khufu’s pyramid, which makes it appear to be taller.
The Pyramid of Mycerinos is the smallest of the three main Pyramids. It is thought to have been built to serve as the tomb of the fourth-dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Menkaure or Mycerinos.
The Sphinx of Giza is a limestone statue of a reclining sphinx, a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human. Facing directly from West to East, it stands on the Giza Plateau. The face of the Sphinx is generally believed to represent the Pharaoh Chephren. It measures 73 meters long from paw to tail, 20.21 m high from the base to the top of the head. It is the oldest known monumental sculpture in Egypt.
(Wikipedia from the pyramids of Cheops, Chephren, Mycerinos and the Sphinx)
As you would expect, this site was very touristic. There were a lot of tourists and merchants looking for a buck to make. This was very unfortunate, because this made the experience of viewing the pyramids quite disappointing. The pyramids themselves were of course magnificent, but the obtrusiveness of the Egyptians put us in quite a bad spirit. Nonetheless, we got some gorgeous pictures out of it.
That’s it for our first day in Egypt. Already off to a great start! Our next day, we visited the city of Cairo.