Results 1-10of 20 Reviews
by Elena V
Closter, New Jersey
February 14, 2006
From journal Walk Like an Egyptian
Carshalton, United Kingdom
July 22, 2004
From journal Cairo - Ancient and Modern
Charlotte, North Carolina
July 6, 2004
The three pyramids are all impressive. The largest one (built for Cheopes) is 137 meters high. The most recognizable one (built for Chepren) has the distinctive limestone top. And the smallest one (built for Mekrinus) is the only one you can go inside.
I wish it were possible to go in the bigger pyramids, but it was still neat to go into the small one. The corridor is very small and you have to lean down to avoid bumping your head. The walk down is about 100 yards, until you come to an opening where you find the burial chamber. It isn’t overly impressive except for the fact that you are under tons and tons of rocks that don’t collapse on top of you. It is surprisingly cool, temperature-wise, and a guide will tell you all about the specifics of the pyramids.
Outside the pyramids, you can go on camel and horse rides. And I think the camel ride was one of my favorite activities during my trip to Egypt. Some very aggressive camel guys will approach you. Under the guise of getting your picture taken on a camel, you end up being up-sold to a ride. It cost about $60, but I had a great time. When the camel stands up, it is actually a little scary, given how high I was. And galloping was very jerky and makes you feel a bit like a little kid.
Once you’ve gotten your fill of the pyramids, head down to the Sphinx. You get the classic photo of the Sphinx with the pyramids in the distance. The Sphinx is 66 feet high and 240 feet long – a lot smaller than I expected. It was swamped with tourists, and you can take it all in with about a 30-minute walk around. Once again, a guide was very helpful.
As for the surprises, I didn’t realize that the pyramids and Sphinx were so close to Cairo. They are literally on the outskirts. In fact, you can take the subway to Giza and avoid the expense of a cab or car if you like. Also, I didn’t like all of the trash swirling around. This is a common complaint for much of Cairo, but I didn’t expect it at one of the world’s great attractions. Finally, I was shocked at the sheer number of tourists. There were people everywhere. But none of this made the pyramids any less of a thrill.
From journal A Hectic Week in Cairo
Oak Hill, Virginia
May 25, 2004
From journal Egypt: The Jewel of the Nile
LONDON, United Kingdom
May 21, 2004
Even before we could see the pyramids, we were hustled all over the place. Touts tried to sell us camel, donkey or horse rides. It was quite annoying. Maybe because it was early morning and it was a bit foggy, the pyramids were hard to see. But fortunately, after a while, it cleared and we could admire those miraculous monuments. One tout offered us to take picture on his camel and small ride. He repeatedly assured us that he would take the agreed price of 1 USD per person and won’t try to ask for more. But of course, he did… My husband was still sitting high on a camel when I heard: 50 dollars to come down. Knowing my husband very well, I did realize that the tout just made a big mistake. My husband is not the sort of the person who quietly will pay for nothing. So, after long and strong arguments, my darling said that he would call the tourist police if needed. Those were the magical words in all of Egypt. After hearing the tout pleading "please, no police", my husband threw two one-dollar bills on the ground and walked away. So if anyone has any problem, we advise simply to say these magical words.
After wondering around the Great Pyramid for about an hour, we admired the hard work of ancient people.
It is forbidden to climb any of the pyramids. So naturally my darling tried to do just that. Near the smallest pyramid we met a security guard who was responsible for not letting anybody to climb. We were shocked when he asked (of course, for bakshish) if we maybe would like to climb one of the small pyramids near the pyramid of Menkaure. We said "no, thank you". And when he left, my husband went for the Menkaure pyramid. Naturally, after about 10 minutes, other security guards saw what he was doing and politely asked to come down. Well, it was worth a try. After we saw the pyramid of Khafre and as much as we were impressed by all the pyramids and the Sphinx, we couldn’t stop wondering how ancient Egyptians worshipped the magnitude of their dead pharaoh. In polished white limestone and with gold-covered pyramidions (pyramid-shaped capstones) which caught the first rays of the sun, even we probably would believe that it is a work of God and a pharaoh is God…
From journal Crazy Cairo
March 2, 2004
When you get there, they all fight for business and the best deals -- don't pay more than LE10, which will give you about 20 minutes of horseback riding. We went with one of the small boys and his horses were well looked after. He took us to the top of a sand dune and from there you felt like Lawrence of Arabia – it was just you, the horse, and the winds of time, viewing one of the most amazing sights to behold anywhere.
From journal Land of the Pharoahs
October 25, 2002
There are two entrances to the Pyramids and to get to the stables do not go to the main entrance off Pyramids Road, but to the second entrance where you buy the Sound and Light Show tickets. You will know you are at the right entrance if you see a two story KFC right across the street. To get to the Stables do not go in this entrance, but turn left and continue down this road. You will soon see a number of Stables and no doubt have plenty of men asking you if you want a camel or horse ride. Just keep walking.
I find going towards the end of the day is better. The Pyramids are wonderful at sunset. I always go to Omar Stables, a good ten minute walk down the road. You will see the sign on your left. Omar has some of the best horses around. Many stables take very poor care of their animals, and riding around the Pyramids on a lame horse is not fun, trust me. Omar has a large selection of horses and camels for you depending on your ability. He has horses for people who have never ridden and beautiful stallions for experts. Just walk up to the stable and tell Omar what you want. For the standard hour and a half run around the Pyramids it should cost you twenty pounds. If you like though, Omar can run longer trips, such as day long ones to Sakkara. For these though, you must talk to Omar in advance. I also arranged a Bedouin feast and horse dancing show at Omar's stables for a fair price, which was wonderful. They barbequed chicken, had shisha, and a live band. If you want any of this though, you must set it up ahead of time.
A little note about the Pyramids. Do not expect too much. The Pyramids, while still amazing structures themselves, have lost some of their charm due to the influence of modern Cairo. The area around the Pyramids is dirty, and poor, with some of the land around it used as a landfill. It is hard to appreciate the wonder of the Pyramids when you are incessantly being swamped by people trying to sell you things. That is why horse riding around the Pyramids is great. It allows you to escape it to the small bit of desert around the Pyramids, take a breather from the hectic pace of Cairo, and just admire these amazing structures from a distance. Galloping through the desert at full speed on an Arabian stallion is just too wonderful to pass up.
From journal A Year In Cairo
Diamond Bar, California
September 28, 2002
That said, the actual trip can be a bit much if you're not prepared. The site swarms with hawkers peddling camel rides, drinks and cheap Pharaonic trinkits. Get there early or late (they usually open around 8am and close at 5 or 6 depending on the time of year) and you will avoid the worst of the hawkers and the masses of tourists. If you want to ride a camel, check the official rate on the board at the entrance, and don't pay more than that. If you don't want what they're offering, say "La shokran" (no thank you) and then ignore them.
Admission to the site is LE20 (about USD4) and LE10 for camera use. Not bad for the last remaining wonder of the world. However, bringing a video camera costs a fortune--decide how badly you want the video. It is another LE20 for entrance to the Solar Barque Museum (which is worth it), and if you want to go inside the Great Pyramid, you have to get into a separate line and pay another fee. The pyramid itself usually opens only at about noon.
If you go prepared for the hassles and avoid the peak hours, it will be a great experience.
From journal Cairo--More than the Pyramids
June 29, 2002
There's no question that the only one of the Seven Ancient Wonders to have survived the ravages of time, is still a marvel. Pictures don't do justice to the magnitude of the pyramids.
If you have time, visit the Solar Boat Museum, said to be one of the most amazing Pharaonic discoveries.
Of course, you've got to stop @ the Sphinx. When we arrived, it was "closed" early due to no tourists. We were fortunate enough to have it opened, just for the two of us.
From journal Deserted Egypt
May 19, 2002
Tourists equal bakshees. I’m quite willing to give a tip, but not for a photo of a camel and a pyramid. Invariably you will be shown "hidden" hieroglyphs, which you would have found anyway and you will be told what place is best to take photos. I hate this. I’m quite willing to tip, but only when someone has helped me in a special way. I know wages in Egypt are low and a tip is an essential extra, but it should not be an obligation.
The pyramids are huge, yet I was slightly disappointed as I had seen so many books and photos all showing these pyramids. The pyramids are on the boundary of the city on the edge of the desert. They are built of limestone blocks. Inside and also underground, there are burial chambers: one for the dead pharaoh and another one for the funeral goods.
You can visit the interior of pyramid of Cheops, the largest of the three. Actually there is not much to see besides other tourists and a vast empty chamber. You will have to pay another 20 Egyptian pounds (4 euros) on top of the general entrance fee, which is also 20 pounds. A photo permit is 10 pounds.
The Great Pyramid took 30 years to build. In about 2,550 B.C., King Khufu, the second pharaoh of the fourth dynasty, commissioned the building. Over two million blocks of stone each weighing 2.5 tons were used. It is still not quite clear how the old Egyptians moved these massive stone blocks. It is generally believed that gradually sloping ramps, built of mud, stone, and wood were used as transportation causeways. These blocks were hauled up by using ropes of papyrus twine.
Khufu’s son, Khafre, commissioned the building of his own pyramid complex which includes the sphinx. Menkaure, Khafre''s son, built the third and smallest of the three pyramids. So it’s a family tomb.
The outer casing stones have disappeared from all three pyramids except the very top of Khafre, which can clearly be seen. This was due to natural erosion, but men helped a bit. The precious white limestone was good building material and was used in the construction of buildings in Cairo.
The Sphinx has the body of a lion and the head of a pharaoh, which is believed to be the head of Khafre. It is carved from the natural limestone of Giza. Recently, the sphinx has been renovated because over the years, entire pieces had dropped off. It is 57 metres long and 6 metres wide, so huge!. It’s best to come in the morning if you want to take photos because then the sun shines on its head.
From journal Cairo: Love It or Hate It