From Luxor, we had a short flight to Cairo and then a bus ride around the perimeter of the city to Giza. We felt safe since we did not go into the city.
Giza is the 3rd largest city in Egypt – home to over 4.5 million people. It is also the home to three of the most famous pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza. These were tombs for the Pharoahs built roughly from the mid 2,500’s to 2,150 B.C. according to National Geographic’s web site. (I have had to rely on this and other sites. At times on the trip I was looking (OK, gawking) and not paying attention to the guides.
I loved the story the guide told us about the largest pyramid built by Khufru at 481 feet high. His son who followed him, Khafre, had his built at 471 feet high. He didn’t want to be disrespectful to his father, don’t you know. His just looks taller than his father’s. Clever guy – he chose a higher place on the plateau to build his…. According to the guides, once a pharaoh was the ruler, they started working on his tomb.
The Great Sphinx of Giza is sometimes attributed to the son Khafre. It is carved limestone with a human-like head, lion body and head dress of a pharaoh. It is the largest monolith statue in the world at 24 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 66 feet high. It is missing a 1 meter wide nose and a beard, though. A popular belief is that one of Napolean’s cannonballs shot it off.
Over the centuries, the sphinx was buried up to its shoulders. The first attempt at excavation was about 1400 B.C. After several other attempts, it was finally excavated between 1925 and 1936. It is pretty amazing..