I have dreamt of Ancient Egypt all of my life. From childhood I was always fascinated with Ancient Egyptian culture & beliefs. I dreamt of standing at the base of The Great Pyramids, entering sacred tombs & temples of the dead, feeling the soft strokes of hieroglyphs beneath my fingers. I imagined life in a vast desert terrain, with the beauty of the Nile bringing life into the valleys. Seeing this dream become a reality gave me a feeling beyond words.
Most people think of The pyramids and imagine them isolated out in the vast desert somewhere beyond human reach. I believed this too when I was younger. Perhaps it once was. But today the sprawling city of Cairo sits right on top of the pyramids. A city extending its reaches as far as the eye can see holding some 19 million citizens. The city is one of the most polluted in the world due to zero emission controls and it is a place where you will see every mode of transportation plus livestock on the roads. We avoided the inner city stretches like the plague. From airport, straight around by Taxi, right outside of the Pyramids.
Our hotel was located within a three minute walk of the entrance gates. From our room and from the terrace we could see the Pyramids towering above the sand, as well as the Great Sphinx. Eager to be among them, we dropped our bags and set out to explore.
Two major spoiler alerts of the Great Pyramids of Giza:
One: the minute you walk out of your hotel, the entire duration of your walk up to the pyramids, while at the pyramids, people try to hassle you. From Camel ride to selling souvenirs, it is endless. It is extremely hard to get a moment of peace because the locals pest you beyond relief. “No thank you.” did not seem to be enough. To the point where we were getting mildly frustrated at the constant harassment.
Two: the landscape of the Great Pyramids of Giza is not well kept, meaning trash litters the sands everywhere you look. It is heartbreaking to see such wonderful feats of humanity, such ancient wonders turned into trash cans. But before you begin judging, remember that these countries are very impoverished. Most people are more concerned with how they are going to eat/survive not the wellness of our planet. The education there is probably lacking so it is important to raise awareness, not be judgmental.
Apart from those two MAJOR disappointments, it’s the great freaking Pyramids of Giza. They are still standing resilient to the faults of man, towering and astonishing from every angle.
We tried our best to momentarily avoid the trash and the people to just enjoy these sacred creations in silence. We removed ourselves from the crowds, luckily when we went it was not as crowded as expected. We found a quiet place to view them, take pictures and enjoy them to ourselves.
The further you walk off into the desert, the more it feels like that isolated place you were expecting. Even walking around to the backside of the pyramids there are less people.
Standing next to them, we realized each boulder was almost equivalent in height as we were and with outstretched arms, nearly as wide if not wider. Making us wonder, how did they build this. How were these massive pieces of rock lifted all the way to the top of each of these pyramids?
We will never know, we can only theorize.
The Great Sphinx is still standing as a protector of the pyramids. The entry fee for the Pyramids allows you access to get closer to the Sphinx because it is gated for protection and excavation.
The closest you can get normally is right above it. You can not physically touch the Sphinx or stand right in front of it unless you are on a special guided tour. We prefer guiding ourselves so our view from above was just fine.
Have you heard the theories that the Sphinx head used to be something different? Many believe it was once a Jackal head. Because today the size of the head is disproportionate to the rest of the body and Ancient Egyptians were always super precise in their symmetry and measurements. Something to think about!
All in all, our experience of the Pyramids was pleasant because we made it so. We luckily arrived on a day where there were barely any people, the next day was a holy day and utter chaos. We removed ourselves from the uncomfortable areas. We got to see an Ancient wonder of the World that we have always wanted to see.
Have you been to The Great Pyramids?