Sights of Giza
Cheops Pyramid Sahara Desert Pyramid Chephren Pyramid Mikerina Pink Pyramid White Desert Giza Plateau
This site compiles the sights of Giza – photos, descriptions, and travel tips. The list is based on popular travel guides and presented by type, name and rating. Here you can find answers to questions: what to see in Giza, where to go, and where are the popular and interesting places of Giza.
Pyramid of Cheops
The Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) is the largest pyramid and the only surviving wonder of the Seven Wonders of the World. Inside the pyramid are three burial chambers, placed one above the other.
It is believed that construction of Khufu lasted 20 years and was completed by 2540 BC.
Officially in Egypt, the date of the beginning of erection of the greatest pyramid – August 23, 2470 B.C. is established and celebrated. Literally the pyramid has the name “Ahet-Hufu” (translated as “Horizon of Khufu”) and consists of limestone blocks, granite and basalt.
The pyramid was built on a natural elevation and was originally lined with white limestone, harder than the main blocks. However in 1168 B.C. Arabs plundered and burned the city, and inhabitants of Cairo had to take off the facing, shining in the sun, from the pyramid in order to erect new dwellings.
The entrance to the great pyramid is placed more than 15 meters high and forms large slabs shaped like an arch.
The Sahara Desert
The Sahara is one of the hottest places on Earth. Although temperatures can rise to 60 degrees Celsius, it is arid rather than hot, making it a desolate and lifeless place.
As the world’s largest desert, the Sahara receives less than 7 centimeters of rainfall per year. Even in its most sedimentary parts, it can rain twice a week and then not return for years.
After studying satellite photos, some scientists have come to believe that the Sahara is regularly shrinking in some areas and growing in others. In the early 1980s, on the southern edge of the desert, the dry strip separating it from the savannah increased several times. But by the mid-1980s the area was green and livable again.
For centuries, caravans had walked through the Sahara Desert. Even if there are oases here, the distance between them is so great that it takes days to walk to reach a salvageable islet.
The oases provided an opportunity for trade between the ports of North Africa and the southern countries. Without these life-saving stops for people and animals, crossing the desert would have been almost impossible.
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The Pyramid of Khafra (Chephren) is the 2nd largest ancient Egyptian pyramid and it is located near the famous Sphinx, between the pyramids of Khufu and Mikerine. Presumably it was built in the middle of the 26th century BC.
Its height at this time is 138, 8 meters, which is almost 5 meters less than the original height of 143.5 meters. The side of the beautiful Khafra pyramid is 215.29 meters. The structure was covered with limestone, which can be seen only 45 meters at the top of the pyramid.
The pyramid is inferior in size to Khufu, but its steep slope and position at a higher elevation makes it the most worthy rival to the greatest pyramid of Cheops.
Coordinates : 29.97661000,31.13106600
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The Pyramid of Menkerin
The Pyramid of Mikerina is the southernmost, and also the lowest, of the three Egyptian pyramids in Giza. Pharaoh Mikerin laid the pyramid in the southwestern part of the plateau, quite far from the two pyramids already built. At the base of the pyramid lies a square with a side of 108.4 meters. The height of the pyramid is 62 meters, it is almost twice lower than the pyramids of Cheops and Chephren. The volume of the pyramid is 260 thousand cubic meters, which is one-tenth of the volume of the Cheops pyramid.
From the point of view of architectonics it was not necessary to erect a very high pyramid as the burial chamber was located at ground level, and after Cheops, the idea of the high altitude arrangement of the chambers was not realized, probably, because of technical difficulties of lifting blocks. The pyramid of Mikerina. also known as the “Pyramid of Menkaure” is the beginning of another epoch, during which the dimensions of the pyramids became standard.
Another difference of this Egyptian pyramid is that it is not built on a rock base, but on a specially prepared foundation of limestone slabs. The sarcophagus of the pharaoh was discovered, but it was not possible to preserve it to this day. A rich collection of statuary was found in the temple for burial and the most valuable pieces are now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
The Pink Pyramid is the largest of the three pyramids in the Dahshur Necropolis and the third tallest in Egypt. It got its name because of the amazing color of the stone blocks, which turn pink when the sun goes down.
There used to be white limestone on the pyramid, but it is now missing, and as a result pink stone has begun to peek through. On the pyramid was found the name of Pharaoh Snofra, which was written in red paint on several blocks, so it is believed that the pyramid was built during his reign.
The pyramid is a regular stereometric pyramid in shape. The pyramid reaches a height of 104.4 meters. Entrance is free, but you have to be careful inside the pyramid because it has a pungent smell of ammonia.
White Desert National Park is located north of the Farafra oasis. Many thousands of years ago, this stretch of desert was the bottom of a huge ocean. Then the water drained away and karst formations were left on the surface, forming stunning landscapes.
There is probably no other place on Earth like the White Desert. The terrain here is fairly flat, so it is good to travel through it on foot or by car. The second option will not be too convenient, because the sand is very soft. To get here is not easy – first you need to get a special permit from the authorities, but local guides help to solve these issues quickly enough. The desert is perfectly clean, because tourists do not leave anything behind. Order here is monitored very carefully, so all garbage is recycled.
The desert is called white because of its snow-white karst formations, which stand out brightly against the yellow sand. One of the most interesting karst formations is a white rock, balancing on a white pillar, as if it is about to fall. The view here is absolutely fantastic, reminiscent of a distant planet, or the Arctic landscape.
Giza Plateau, not far from Cairo, is famous for housing the world-famous Egyptian pyramids.
The pyramids are located eight kilometers from the old city of Giza. From the center of Cairo the way to them will reach twenty-five kilometers.
The pyramid complex includes the most famous Cheops or Khufu pyramid, followed by the smaller Khafra pyramid and the Menkaure pyramid. The complex also includes several small accompanying buildings. On the eastern side of the necropolis is the Great Sphinx, which is considered one of Egypt’s tourist symbols.
The Egyptian pyramids are one of the world’s top attractions that most tourists want to see. Truly, this is where you can plunge into history, forget about time and feel like a resident of another era. An interesting fact is that the pyramid of Cheops is the only monument of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, which is preserved and can be seen with your own eyes.
Are you curious to know how well you know the sights of Giza?
Giza is a small stone plateau located 80 meters above sea level, on the left bank of the Nile River in Egypt. The nearest city to Giza is Cairo.
The plateau consists of limestone and is known for the presence of the three greatest pyramids – Chephren, Menkaure and Cheops.
The great pyramids were built on the plateau about 4,600 years ago and excite the attention of travelers to this day. Smaller structures were also of great importance to the Egyptians, as well as several temples, the Sphinx figure and many mastabas.
At one time the City of Builders was built on the plateau, whose population at certain periods could reach more than 20 thousand people. To the south of Giza are quarries where limestone was mined to build the pyramids. And east of the Sphinx builders created a harbor for ships of a special form – rectangular.
The most popular attractions in Giza with descriptions and photos for all tastes. Choose the best places to visit famous places of Giza on our website.
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The Giza Plateau in Egypt.
Every year, many tourists visiting Egypt head here, drawn by the monumentality and mystery of the area. The Giza Plateau is the most visited place in Egypt, with its great pyramids and the mysterious Sphinx. The plateau is rightly considered the calling card of Egypt, it is with the plateau associated with this country.
Where is Giza Plateau and how to get there?
The Giza Plateau is a rocky plateau consisting of limestone, and is located about 25 kilometers southwest of Cairo, the current capital of Egypt. Eight kilometers from the plateau, on the east bank of the Nile, is the ancient city of the same name, Giza (Arabic El Giza – plain). It is now a small town, which became a suburb of Cairo. Before the Arabic name of the plateau, it was called “Imentet” – west, or “Per-Neter” – cemetery.
In general, the Giza Plateau represents the northern necropolis of ancient Egypt. It was begun by the pharaohs of the Ancient Kingdom, when Memphis was the capital (the first capital of already united Upper and Lower Egypt). The plateau is a kind of “place of power” represent various burials of pharaohs, members of royal families, high dignitaries and courtiers. Their funerary temples, and, of course, the pyramids and the sphinx. For the construction of the complex was used mainly local limestone mined in a mine, not far from the buildings. This mine has survived to this day. For the exterior finishings they used white limestone from Tours and granite from Aswan.
Sights of the Giza Plateau
The Giza Plateau with its buildings is one of the oldest sites in Egypt. The place became most famous after the construction of the pyramids. However, the necropolis existed, and it was known about it long before that (about 4 thousand years BC). If you plan to visit these places, here is a good option excursion with transport, lunch and a ride on a camel.
The construction of the plateau began with mastabs (from Arabic – bench). These are burial grounds, consisting of inner chambers, which housed the sarcophagus with the body, as well as ritual objects and offerings to the gods. The outer part, where the funerary room or temple was located. The mastabas of kings and rich Egyptians were entire rectangular-shaped “houses” with a flat roof, built of many blocks. The mastabs of common people were rectangular plates or blocks laid on the grave. On the Giza plateau more than 100 buildings of this type have been found.
What else caused the enormous popularity of this area? Of course – the Great Pyramids of Cheops, Chephren and Meekerin . They are the most popular sights of the Giza plateau and are known by these names, although in Egyptian their names are the pyramids of Khufu, Khafra and Menkaure. These great constructions were built about 4 thousand years BC, but are fairly well preserved to this day.
Great Sphinx , which is a huge statue. There is also a Temple of the Sphinx, located near the statue. The most mysterious monument of historical culture, left by the ancient Egyptians.
Small Pyramids . They are really small, especially compared to the Great Pyramids. All of these structures are considered tombs of queens and members of royal families.
The funerary temples of Chephren, Miquerin, and the Temple of the Valley . Unlike the pyramids and mastabas, the temples are poorly preserved, now mostly ruins.
Museum of the Solar Rook . Located near the Cheops pyramid, it contains only one exhibit, an ancient boat (about 4,000 years old) in which, according to ancient Egyptian beliefs, the pharaoh would go to the afterlife.
You can visit almost all of the main attractions of Plateau Giza on an organized tour. An 8-hour option from Cairo is here.
Pyramid of Cheops
But the most famous landmark of the plateau is the Pyramid of Cheops (Khufu), the last of the ancient “Seven Wonders of the World”. This truly grandiose construction is the largest structure of its kind. It is this pyramid that draws the most attention, both of tourists and researchers.
The Great Pyramid was the first pyramid built on the Giza plateau, its predecessors were erected in Dashhur. The great architect, astronomer and priest Imhotep, under the pharaoh (or for the pharaoh) of the IV dynasty Cheops (Egyptian Khufu) designed and supervised the whole process of construction.
The date when the construction of the pyramid of Cheops began is considered to be August 23, 2470 BC, but this data is rather tentative, since we still could not determine its exact age. It is also believed that the pyramid was built about 20 years – almost all the years of the reign of Pharaoh Khufu.
Today the height of the pyramid is 137.3 m, but when it was built, it had a top lost in the centuries, and the height was 146.7 m. The white limestone facing of the pyramid did not “survive” to our time either, which reduced the size of its base from 232.4 m to 230.4 m. It took about 2.5 million blocks to build the pyramid of Cheops, many of which are missing because it was used as a quarry during the Arab conquest.
Inside the pyramid there are three chambers of different sizes and heights:
1. “Tomb of the king” – 10.4 m by 5.2 m by 5.8 m – the largest chamber. 42,3 m above the base of the pyramid. Also the unique finished chamber, lined with carefully polished and fitted granite slabs. In this chamber also was found, presumably, a sarcophagus of granite. 2. “Tomb of the Queen” – 5,7×5,2×6,7 m – the smallest chamber is located exactly under the top, 20 m above the base. It has a vaulted ceiling. 3. The chamber with the dimensions 8x4x3,5 m is located 30 m below the pyramid base. About its destination scientists did not come to consensus. Though the idea of use of other chambers as tombs is very disputable – there is no proof that the pyramid was constructed for such purposes.
Several narrow tunnels (mines) exit from each chamber to the outside. It is possible to get into the pyramid through the entrance located in the center of the northern edge (each side of the pyramid is oriented to the side of light). This entrance was cut through by robbers in ancient times; now it is arranged for convenient visiting of the pyramid by tourists. Though originally the entrance was at a height of about 15 m. From the entrance to all the chambers lead galleries – this is another feature of the pyramid of Cheops.
Whatever the purpose of the architects who erected the Great Pyramid, it is the most imposing structure that strikes the imagination even in our time of high technology.
The Great Sphinx
The majestic guardian of the Giza plateau, the Great Sphinx, looks enigmatically toward the desert as it welcomes the dawn. For many centuries he has guarded the pyramids and the entire necropolis to the east – a huge lion with the head of a man. Because of this, the Sphinx has long been identified with the Sun God.
The Sphinx is equated with the age of the pyramids, but new research shows that it is much older. Be that as it may, classical Egyptology attributes the appearance of the Sphinx to the sculptors of Pharaoh Khafra (Chephren), and has a portrait resemblance to this particular king.
The Sphinx was carved from a monolithic rock of limestone rock. Its dimensions are impressive: the length (from the front legs to the tip of the tail) is 72 m, the height is 20 m. During the conquests of Egypt by different peoples, the Sphinx was repeatedly vandalized, and now the statue is badly damaged, especially the face. Also it was often completely covered with sand, and only in the early 20th century the statue was cleared. Now there is a fence built around the Sphinx to protect it from the sand, and it is being reconstructed.
Also in the 20th century were discovered and excavated the ruins of the Sphinx temple, the entrance to which was located between the legs. Supposedly the temple was dedicated to the Sun, and its 24 columns symbolize the 24 hours in a day. The temple is divided into two symmetrical sanctuaries. Like the pyramids and the Sphinx itself, the temple was built of local limestone, but was lined with well-finished granite and the floor was covered with alabaster. A statue of Pharaoh Chephren seated on a throne was found under the floor of the temple and is now in the Cairo Museum.
Perhaps the complex of the Great Sphinx causes the greatest number of mysteries: the true age of the buildings, who built them, for what purpose. Scientists all over the world are looking for answers.
Whoever the builders of the Great Pyramids and the Great Sphinx were, they are worthy of the greatest admiration, as are their structures. There is no place on Earth more mysterious and has given rise to so many hypotheses, versions and conjectures, as well as myths and legends, than the Giza Plateau. It deserves the highest attention of all mankind.
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