Giza: Touring the Ancient Pyramids & Great Sphinx
Located a short distance from modern-day Cairo, Giza is where an estimated 20,000 workers built the pyramids over a period of 80 years. Of the three pyramids located at Giza, the oldest and largest, simply known as the Great Pyramid, is the only surviving structure of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The same site is home to the Great Sphinx, a statute featuring a human’s head on a lion’s body, a form that was used a royal portrait statue in ancient times. The one built at Giza is believed to be the earliest example of the sphinx form.
Arranging a tour of the pyramids is a fairly simple process as most hotels or cab drivers will arrange for you to meet with pyramid guides who will help you plan your visit. The planning stage involves deciding whether you would like to see all three pyramids and the sphinx or whether your prefer an abbreviated version of that trip. If you are dealing directly with the guides, you will likely be shown a “map,” like the one pictured, to help you with your decision. Once the route is planned, you are left to choose whether you would like to ride a camel or mini horse through the desert or whether you prefer to be pulled in a carriage along the roadside. The guides will lead you (and your animals) through the desert and up to each of the pyramids and the sphinx. Although you can’t enter the pyramids, a good guide will make stops to point out hieroglyphics and surrounding tombs during the tour. For additional tips, some guides (usually the ones you are introduced to by a cab driver or come upon on your own) will also allow you to climb the pyramids, despite it being strictly prohibited. Aside from being forbidden, it is also a lot of work since the stones are huge, which does not make for an easy climb up or down.