The Giza Pyramids are the Final Survivor of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. Let's go inside a pyramid. Have you ever wondered what it's like to see the over 4,000-year-old Pyramids of Giza? Can you imagine visiting one of the Seven Wonders of the World that was once home to royalty? It might appear as rubble now because of how old it is, but it's well preserved.
Many different aspects of the pyramids and their history make it an amazing place to visit. You'll discover the fascinating secrets of this wonder!
The Journey To The Giza Pyramids
Believe it or not, the Giza Pyramids are only about a 20-minute drive from Cairo. What's even more crazy to believe? You can travel there by taxi service, including Uber.
If you aren't up for figuring out everything on your own, another great and reliable option is to go on a guided tour. You get a more in-depth look at the pyramids. Your transportation is all arranged in advance for you, so you don't have to lift a finger.
When Is A Good Time to Visit?
Daily, the Giza pyramids schedule is to be open every day until 4 in the afternoon. They don't let people in after that time. The official website for the Pyramids of Giza says otherwise – but get there early. This holds true even in May when they claim they're supposed to be open later. This is why it's crucial not to plan your visit to the pyramids too late in the day. There's a chance your visit will not be as long as you hoped for.
Make sure you arrive extra early if you want to avoid crowds of people. Schools and tourists visit often and it gets hotter as the day progresses. You don't want to be stuck in a crowd of people at the hottest points of the day. Regardless of how hot it is with or without hordes of people, bring plenty of water. It is important to keep from getting dehydrated in the dry heat.
Fridays are an actually great day for you to go as many will be attending prayers on this day. Keep in mind Saturdays will be beyond busy because even the locals will come to visit the pyramids on the weekend.
Dress Right For The Occasion
Keep in mind you need to dress to suit the climate, but also make sure you're dressed for the culture and customs. You may not follow Muslim rules and customs but Egypt is a Muslim country. so it's best to reduce chances of refused entrance by following a dress code. This is a rule you should follow your entire time in Egypt.
Despite seeing locals in busy cities such as Cairo showing some skin, they still do so in a modest manner. If you don't want to stand out like a sore thumb, it's best you dress a bit more in line with the norm too. Both men and women are expected to cover up.
Tee shirts and pants are acceptable for men to wear, but it's best to avoid shorts and tank tops. The same goes for women. Women should cover their legs as well and it's also a good idea to cover your arms too. There are certain garments made for the heat, despite covering a majority of your body. You should look into that for your comfort during your stay.
When You're in Front Of
The Giza Pyramids
The Cost to Enter
Entering the pyramids will cost you around $7 USD. To actually explore inside the pyramids you'll have to pay for separate admission. Plan ahead if you want to do the exploring as you can only pay at the entrance for this and it's a hefty $17 USD. Don't forget to make sure you have your money converted to the currency used in Egypt. This is crucial when visiting the pyramids, especially if you want to tour them.
History Of The Pyramids
The pyramids are quite a sight the first time you see them. Even more with the contrast between the busy city of Giza and the barren desert surrounding them. You'll stare in awe once the smog clears and the pyramids' prominent size rises from the land.
They're constructed upon a fantastic plateau in Giza. And surrounded by beautiful palm trees on the banks of the Nile Valley. Their construction was a time of prosperity and peace. The focus was as a resting place for the mummified bodies of their royal leaders.
One of the most distinct and well-known Pyramids of Giza is the Great Pyramid. Standing close to 500 feet, it was the world's tallest man-made building for thousands of years. You can thank the 2nd Pharaoh of the 4th Dynasty, for having it built.
Another pyramid built by his son is a few meters away from the oldest pyramid of the group. As for the smallest pyramid, its construction was built by the above Pharaoh's grandson. Built during the grandson's rule, this was the last pyramid ever constructed at Giza.
The Great Giza Pyramids
The plateau on which this tremendous pyramid sits was created from the deposits of a sea. This from a time long before the civilization existed. The sea from which this came as a result of when Africa and Asia separated when Pangaea broke apart. You can still see what remains of the over 200 million-year-old sea as it's now known as the Mediterranean.
One of the primary reasons why this is one of the major Wonders of the World is because of its construction methods. Well over 2 million blocks of limestone are what was used to create this monument. All built by hand.
The limestone excavation took place where the smaller pyramids stand today. That excavation gave the larger blocks used in the three great pyramids. These deposits of limestone were easy for the workers to break off and shape. These were the blocks used to create the larger Pyramids.
The Construction Time
It took several different generations to build the three Giza pyramids. These monuments were crucial to the afterlife beliefs of the royal pharaohs.
If you look at the large blocks on the great pyramids you will see fossils from sea creatures. These fossils are from over 50 million years ago.
Inside the Giza Pyramids
Once you bypass the limestone and enter the pyramid, you'll find yourself in a whole new world. Your guide will take you down a narrow, dark ramp leading down into the pyramid. Once inside, you'll enter a grand room with the highest ceilings you've ever seen. The whole area surrounding you is built from smooth limestone.
Down another ramp and you into an area with an empty sarcophagus. This once held the mummified body of the great pharaoh. This is one of the most popular attractions when visiting the pyramids.
You'll find a solar barque believed to carry the deceased royals to their Sun God. This is now in its own museum close to the pharaoh's burial chamber. The restoration was used to resemble its original look. However, it is still over 90% made up of the original materials.
There's also a 600 million-year-old story to the syenite blocks used in this area. They brought these over 500 miles from Aswan. There used to be a river flowing between the pyramids. This was used by the Egyptians used to transport all their materials. In the end, you'll find yourself emerging from the dark, narrow ramp and back into the sunlight.
The Sphinx And Its Secrets
This great structure is as old as the Great Pyramid and has a beauty all on its own. Rising groundwater and evaporation has been taking its toll on the Sphinx' foundation.
What's the biggest difference between the pyramids and the Sphinx?
The Sphinx is not built of blocks like the Giza Pyramids. The Sphinx was carved out of one solid limestone deposit. The belief is that the Sphinx watches over the resting place as a guardian. Examine it carefully and you will see the sea sediment layers and fossils.
The foundation/ base is the oldest and the most fragile part of the structure. The midsection of the Sphinx contains both hard and soft materials found in the deposit. The head and neck are from harder limestone and is the strongest point of the structure.
Due to vandalism, rising water, and weaker materials the base is disintegrating. Scientists and historians work around the clock to keep it from falling.
The Sphinx may still hold secrets we have yet to discover, even after all these years. Even the form of the structure has theories based around it. The lion-like body represents the pharaoh who constructed the center pyramid. The head resembles a few different pharaohs as well. It's next to impossible to determine the true inspiration of where the Sphinx comes from. There have been new discoveries for hundreds of years, so who knows what is yet to come.
The Other Burial Grounds
The pyramids are the most well known of Egyptian burial ground but not the largest. They are, after all, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. There are other sacred and older burial grounds as well. You will find these in Sakkara, Dashur, and the Citadel.
Earlier burial grounds are constructed underground with flat roofs over them. They are known by the name Mastabas. Later pharaohs had step pyramids created in the style of the formal burial grounds. They built one after another upon each other.
The one credited as the first of many is in Sakkara. There are thousands of burial tombs inside. This pyramid from the dynastic period jump-started the pyramid trend.
Seeing the burial grounds in Sakkara and the pyramid in Dahshur can be done in a single day trip. This one is one of the first pyramids with smooth sides. It's also different than other pyramids due to the red color of the stone. It has a unique bend to it as the slopes during construction began to give way. This meant the workers had to reduce the sloping. This happened halfway through, so there was no way of starting from square one. Workers had to compromise and this turned into one of the most prominent features in the pyramid.
Like the other, pyramids, the red pyramid was encased in different limestone to make it last longer and look more appealing. Finally, visiting the Citadel, you'll be able to see the beginning of modern Egyptian burials.
After the Giza Pyramids, where to next?
Check out Cairo, Egypt: What to See and What to Do