Sunday 2 September 2018
It was with a lot of excitement that our hardy bunch set out for the Great Pyramids of Giza today. First – the Great Pyramid of Khufu – built in the 4th Dynasty over 4500 years ago – this was the tallest structure on earth until the building of Lincoln Cathedral! It stands 146.5m tall and each side is 230.5m. The angle of incline is 51.5 degrees – giving the perfect dimensions for a stone pyramid structure to support its own weight. The latest estimate is that 1.7 million stones were used. It was originally encased in a smooth limestone outer layer, which would have been a sight to see. Even though this layer was missing it was awe-inspiring to be able to stand on one of the original wonders of the world. Khufu’s son built the second Pyramid and while this is smaller in scale to his father’s tomb – his builders were able to give the impression it was bigger because they built on a higher level. After exploring the Great Pyramid, we were surprised to be informed we all were going to have a camel ride. Going a five-minute drive to the start of the Sahara Desert and with the three Pyramids to our left we all had the ride of our lives – scary to get on and disembark from but fine (if a bit hard on the thighs) once you got going! It was surreal to think where we were. But things only got better. We had the privilege of entering the third Pyramid – that of Khufu’s grandson. A scary thirty metre descent down a steep set of stairs in an ever-smaller tunnel which levelled out into a larger room from which we descended another 10 metres into the funeral camber. It was surprisingly cool and an eerie space. To touch the smooth stone walls which fitted perfectly together and realise this was built without the aid of modern technology was mind-blowing. Yet I personally was glad to ascend and feel the scorching heat of the sun once more. We then had the high-light of seeing the Sphinx which guards the entry way to the second Pyramid. While one could have stayed forever in front of such a wonder – it was too hot – no – it was bloody hot to put it mildly!
After a beautiful Egyptian lunch in an outdoor restaurant (The Blueberry) we drove to Sakkara. It was here that we saw and explored the oldest Pyramid on earth – the Step Pyramid built by Imhotep for his Pharaoh Zoser in the 3rd Dynasty. The Palace you enter to get to the square upon which the Pyramid stands at the end was magnificent with 20 pairs of beautiful carved stone pillars.
We drove back to our hotel – had a lovely shower and change and headed off to the railway station for our overnight train journey to Aswan. But that is for another entry!
Janet on the Great Pyramid