The Great Sphinx at Giza
The Pyramids of Giza
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Giza is home to one of the most awe enspiring landmarks in the world, the 'Great Pyramid'. The last remaining of the seven wonders of the world, the great pyramid and other pyramids of Giza are a must see for tourists in Egypt. Aside from the pyramids, Giza also is home to the 'Great Sphinx', whilst looking it's age at 6000 years old, it is still another of Giza's fantastic tourist attractions and is only a short walk away from the pyramids.
Contrary to the common belief, only the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops), not all three Great Pyramids , is on top of the list of Wonders. The monument was built by the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu of the Fourth Dynasty around the year 2560 BC to serve as a tomb when he dies.
The tradition of pyramid building started in Ancient Egypt as a sophistication of the idea of a mastaba or "platform" covering the royal tomb. Later, several stacked mastabas were used. Early pyramids, such as the Step Pyramid of King Zoser (Djoser) at Saqqara by the famous Egyptian architect, Imhotep, illustrate this connection.
The great pyramid is believed to have been built over a 20 year period. The site was first prepared, and blocks of stone were transported and placed. An outer casing (which disappeared over the years) was then used to smooth the surface. Although it is not known how the blocks were put in place, several theories have been proposed.
One theory involves the construction of a straight or spiral ramp that was raised as the construction proceeded. This ramp, coated with mud and water, eased the displacement of the blocks which were pushed (or pulled) into place. A second theory suggests that the blocks were placed using long levers with a short angled foot.
Those visiting the pyramids have an option for an extra fee of being taken inside the pyramids. Photography and camcorders are strictly forbidden but the memory snap shots that will be gained from this experience will last you forever. However, it is important to note that those who suffer from chlostrophobic environments and heat exhaustion need to think twice as each pyramid takes you deep into the ground where a stuffy atmosphere and small chambers will be upon you.
Camel ride touts, nik-nak souvenirs, and beggars are in abundance in this area and unfortunately the downside to the Giza experience is a distinct lack of law that controls the number of salesmen in the area and lack of respect that these entrepreneurs show when trying to sell their gifts to tourists. Try and put these out of your mind and Giza will leave you with a fantastic day trip experience.