The pyramids of Giza, the most celebrated monuments in the world, have attracted travelers & scholars since ancient times.
In the 5th century BC, the Greek historian, Herodotus, was the 1st to write about these colossal buildings, by far the largest in the ancient world.
Herodotus was told that they were tombs but by the Middle Ages, their very purpose had become a matter for speculation.
In the 9th century, the Arabs tunneled into the Great Pyramid in search of gold. Five hundred years later, Sir John Mandeville called them "Joseph's Barns" thinking them granaries.
The techniques which achieved such mathematical precision with the tools available & the motivation for building them are still in question. Recent excavations at Giza, however, have shown that there are many more discoveries to be made here which may yet provide the answers.
No longer isolated on the desert plateau, the pyramids are now approached from the dense urban congestion of one of the world's largest cities. They are the only surviving example of the Seven Wonders of the ancient World.
The journey from central Cairo takes about 45 minutes by taxi or a little longer by bus from Tahrir Square. The main road to the pyramids is called Sharia al-Haram (Pyramids Road) leads from Giza Square past tourist bazaars & clubs to Mena House
Hotel. Just beyond the hotel the road rises leading to the foot of the Great Pyramid of Khufu.
Tour of the Plateau :
* The Pyramid of Khufu:
At the top of the road leading on to the plateau, the great Pyramid towers up, looking complete despite centuries of stone-robbing.
Its colossal proportions mask the fact that it has lost nearly all of its outer casing of fine white limestone & several layers of core blocks as well as the top 10m (33 ft.)
* The funerary Temple & causeway ….
* The funerary boat of Khufu ….
* The pyramid of Khafra ….
* The pyramid of Menkaura ….
* The valley temple of Khafra: A step road leads down from the Great Pyramid to the foot of the escarpment where the Sphinx & the valley temple of Khafra stand against the magnificent back-drop of all 3 pyramids. Behind is the Sound & Light theatre.
The valley temple was preserved from stone robbers by the chance of being engulfed in a sand dune at the end of the old Kingdom.
The Great Sphinx: On the north side of the colonnaded court, a narrow passage leads up to the causeway & to a viewing platform next to the great Sphinx.
Unlike the Greek Sphinx, the Egyptian version was considered a guardian & protector of sacred places. By the New Kingdom the Great Sphinx had become identified with God Harmarchis ( Horus on the Horizon).