Rising above modern day Cairo, the extraordinary Pyramids of Giza have not only astounded travellers for millennia, but also symbolised the incredible mystery and the legends that surround ancient Egypt.
The three pyramids were thought to have been built from roughly 2550 to 2490 B.C during Egypt’s Old Kingdom era (2686–2181 B.C). The pyramids and the burial chambers within were built by Pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure and named after each ruler.
The largest – Khufu – stands 137 metres above the plateau and is constructed from an estimated 2.3 million stone blocks. Khufu’s son Khafre built the second largest pyramid and it is also thought that Khafre built the great Sphinx that lies in the shadows of the pyramids.
The Sphinx is sentinel to the pyramid complex, and measures 73 metres in length and 20 metres in height. It is carved into the bedrock of the plateau and has a lion’s body and a man’s face – with some historians believing it resembles Khafre himself.
The Great Pyramids of Giza are one of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World, and along with the mighty Sphinx are two sites that are a must-visit for any traveller. One of the undoubted highlights is entering the Great Pyramid of Khufu and climbing the steep staircase inside of the pyramid to the King’s Chamber.
Just beyond Giza is another famous pyramid – the 6-tier, 4-sided Djoser (or Zoser) Pyramid, also known as a Step Pyramid. Situated in the Saqqara necropolis, part of the ancient city of Memphis, this early pyramid was built by King Djoser during the 27th century BC.
In March 2020 the pyramid was re-opened after 14 years of restoration works after it was damaged by an earthquake in 1992. It is the earliest structure built of its kind in Egypt.