The Pyramid’s near Cairo – Giza

The last ancient Egyptian site that my family and I saw on November 6th was Giza. The Giza Plateau contains ten different ruins; the Great Pyramid of Giza, Khafre’s Pyramid, Menkaure’s Pyramid, the Sphinx, and six smaller pyramids that belong to the named pharaoh’s wives, daughters and mothers.

The Great Pyramid of Giza

The Great Pyramid of Giza

The first pyramid that we saw was the Great Pyramid of Giza, which was ordered by Khufu. It is the tallest pyramid built by the ancient Egyptians with a height of ? . This pyramid was built from 2580 to 2560 B.C.E., but nobody was found inside the pyramid. It is believed that looters stole the mummy. Outside the pyramid there were the remainders on a causeway coming from the funerary complex to the pyramid, on which Khufu’s sarcophagus would have been transported to the pyramid, after mummification.

 

 

 

Menkaure's Pyramid

Menkaure’s Pyramid

Khafre’s Pyramid was the second pyramid that we visited at Giza. This pyramid was ordered by Khafre, and was constructed around 2570 B.C.E. This pyramid is 136 meters in height – the second tallest built by the ancient Egyptian empire.

The last pyramid that we visited at Giza was Menkaure’s Pyramid. Menkaure ordered this pyramid around 2510 B.C.E., the youngest pyramid at Giza. This pyramid is also very small relative to the others, with a height of only 65 meters.

 

 

The pyramids of Giza.

The Sphinx and Khafre’s Pyramid

Our last stop at our last site was the Sphinx. It is believed that the Sphinx represents the pharaoh Khafre, who also ordered this giant statue. Construction started on the Sphinx in 2558 B.C.E., and was finished in 2532 B.C.E. Something about the Sphinx that was different then my expectations was the size of the Sphinx. I had thought that the Sphinx would be much bigger, as in pictures I had always seen it with pyramids in the distance, and the Sphinx look about the same size as the pyramids. I knew that the pyramids were a distance behind the Sphinx (my perspective), but I didn’t realize how far back the pyramids were.

 

It was amazing to see ruins that had survived more then 4000 years, and I found it astounding that the ancient Egyptians could lift such huge pieces of rock. Another thing that I found interesting was how the ancient Egyptians could decorate their tombs. I can’t imagine how much work must have been put into them. Overall I really enjoyed our time at the pyramids near Cairo.

Panorama of the Giza Pyramids

Panorama of the Giza Pyramids

Sitting on the Great Pyramid of Giza!

Sitting on the Great Pyramid of Giza!

The Pyramids near Cairo: Dahshur

Snefreu's Bent Pyramid

Snefreu’s Bent Pyramid

The second ancient Egyptian site that my family and I visited on November 6th was Dahshur. This site contains two different pyramids – the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid, both of which we visited.

 

 

 

 

Family Photo in front of the Bent Pyramid

Family Photo in front of the Bent Pyramid

We started our visit at the Bent Pyramid. This pyramid was ordered to be built by Sneferu, from 2613 to 2589 B.C.E. The Bent Pyramid is called “the Bent Pyramid” because Sneferu decided to change the angle of the pyramid half way through, giving it a bent look. He changed the angle because of two design flaws: 1. there was an unstable base for the pyramid made of sand, gravel and clay that compressed when heavy stones were placed on it, and 2. The blocks were cut in such a way that their weight aimed downward, causing all of the weight of the pyramid to be directed towards the center. Therefore, if the angle hadn’t been changed, the pyramid would have collapsed.

 

3/4 of Family in front of the Red Pyramid

3/4 of Family in front of the Red Pyramid

Our second and last stop at Dahshur was the Red Pyramid, which was also ordered by Sneferu. Archeologists believe that Sneferu didn’t like the failed Bent Pyramid, so he built himself another resting place known as the Red Pyramid. This pyramid is 30 stories tall, and was the first triangular shaped pyramid. To enter the pyramid, you climb up around 15 stories. The view from that high up was pretty cool, as you could see the Step Pyramid of Saqqara in the distance. We went down 65 meters into this pyramid, and saw all three chambers inside. The first two rooms had high vaulted ceilings, and not much else. No hieroglyphics or painted reliefs, just limestone walls. The burial chamber also had no decoration, and there was no vaulted ceiling. The Red Pyramid also strongly stank of ammonia, and was ridiculously hot. I think that even though Sekhemkhet’s Pyramid at Saqqara was smaller, the quality of the decoration and design was much better then the Red Pyramid.

Snefreu's Red Pyramid

Snefreu’s Red Pyramid