Last month we took a fantastic trip to Egypt and Jordan. I finally got to visit the pyramids of Giza, which had been on my bucket list for years.
Previously, it was believed that slaves built the pyramids. Current theory is that skilled workers intent on honoring their pharaohs constructed them, using ramps and pullies to move the heavy granite and limestone slabs into place.
The Great Pyramid of Giza was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the only one that still exists. Standing 481 feet tall with a base of 756 feet, the pyramid took about 20 years to build and was completed around 2560 B.C. as a tomb for Pharoah Khufu. Two smaller pyramids at the site, built for Khufu’s son Khafre and his grandson Menkaure, were built around 2520 B.C. and 2490 B.C., respectively.
Passageways leading to the burial chambers were built inside the pyramids. Originally the chambers were filled with items it was believed would be needed by the pharaohs in the afterlife, including tools, spices, jewelry and gold. Over the years, looters broke into the tombs and stole these treasures.
What’s inside the pyramids now?
We went inside Khafre’s tomb, the second largest. You have to crouch low to go down a long, narrow tunnel of steep steps, which leads to an inner chamber tall enough to stand in. Then another long, low tunnel leads upward to the burial chamber, which is about 46’ by 16’.
What’s inside the burial chamber? Not much of anything except an empty sarcophagus with a broken lid. The tomb raiders cleaned it out long ago.
There aren’t even any decorative hieroglyphics on the walls, unlike the tombs in the nearby Valley of the Kings. There is some graffiti, left by Italian explorer Giovanni Belzoni in 1818, disappointed that he didn’t find any treasure.
The Great Sphinx is located at this same complex. It’s a limestone statue of a mythical creature with the head of a human (supposedly Pharoah Khafre) and the body of a lion.
The pyramids are a busy tourist attraction, with a number of transportation choices: horses, horse-drawn carriages, and of course, camels for a quick ride through the desert.
What are some of your favorite travel spots?I look forward to hearing about them on Facebook.