Exploring The Giza Plateau In Egypt

Egypt Cities | 6 mins read | Diana Neculai

Exploring The Giza Plateau In Egypt
For a long time, the Pyramids and the Sphinx have only been stories to us, and yet here we are, standing next to them. I guess sometimes stories do come to life.

One thing is for sure, we want to go back to the Giza Plateau, but this time we want to spend an entire day in that area. The pyramids are spectacular, we heard stories about them since we were kids, and standing next to them felt like we were part of a legend or a myth. We had goosebumps while we tried to wrap our minds around what we were seeing, and where we were. We want to go again and stare at the pyramids for hours and let it sink in properly.

We also filmed parts of our trip to the Giza Plateau. Stick with us until the end and we will share with you, not just photos, but also an entire virtual walking tour around the pyramids and the Sphinx.

The Pyramids

There are 3 king pyramids on the Giza Plateau belonging to Cheops, Chephren, and Mykerinus, along with a number of smaller pyramids called Queens’ pyramids.

3 king pyramids and some queens' pyramids
3 king pyramids and some queens' pyramids

The Great Pyramid belongs to Cheops, the middle one to Chephren, the son of Cheops, and the third and smallest one is the pyramid of Mykerinos, the son of Chephren and the grandson of Cheops. To the far right, there are 2 unfinished queens’ pyramids overlapping.

The Great Pyramid or The Pyramid of Cheops or Khufu

This is the largest Egyptian pyramid, and it is also known as The Pyramid of Khufu. At 4,500 years old, it was for many thousands of years the largest man-made structure on Earth. The Great Pyramid is the only one of the seven wonders of the ancient world still in existence.

It is also possible to go inside The Great Pyramid for an extra cost. It is a bit narrow, hot, and tiring, but nothing too extreme. I have a bit of claustrophobia in general, but I had absolutely no problem in the pyramid.

I believe it is a unique opportunity to be able to go inside this kind of mysterious old structure, not to mention that it is the only standing wonder of the ancient world. The walls have no hieroglyphs, but it is a mystery how these structures were built such a long time ago.

Like all pyramids, The Great Pyramid also had a Valley Temple that is currently considered to be buried beneath the village of Nazlet el-Samman. It has not been excavated yet and is thought that most of it has been destroyed during the construction of the village.

The Pyramid of Chepren or Khafre

Although smaller than his father’s pyramid, the pyramid of Chephren is surrounded by a more complex structure that includes the Valley Temple of Chephren and the Sphinx described later on in this article. While standing next to the pyramids, it doesn’t seem visibly smaller than The Great Pyramid, but that is because the pyramid of Chephren is built on higher ground.

At the very top of the pyramid, there is a casing of fine white limestone like the one that would have originally covered the entire surface of the pyramid. It is assumed that the pyramid of Cheops had a similar casing. However, regarding Mykerinos’ pyramid, things are considered to be a bit different.

The Pyramid of Mykerinos or Menkaure

The Pyramid of Mykerinos is the smallest of the three king pyramids, and it is also unfinished. It is believed that Mykerinos died before finishing his complex of pyramids. So the pyramid of Mykerinos never had an outer limestone casing as we can notice on the Chephren’s pyramid.

Mykerinos’ mortuary complex also included a Funerary Temple right next to the pyramid that you can walk through as we did in the video at the end of this article.

The Valley Temple of Chephren or Khufu

This Valley Temple is the best-preserved one on the Giza Plateau. The temple is simple, but strikingly impressive because of the massive granite blocks and the huge alabaster flooring slabs.

The Sphinx

Although known as a separate structure, the Sphinx is in fact part of King Chephren’s mortuary complex. As you can imagine, after all those years, the structure is not in its best condition and restoration is being made to it. You can still notice some original colors, especially red, on the head of the Sphinx, which clearly suggests that it was once colored.

Other Structures on the Giza Plateau

Very few people know that the pyramids and the Sphinx are not the only structure on the Giza Plateau. There are also some cemeteries where royal family members, high officials, and pyramid builders were buried.

Camel Rides

It is totally up to you if you want to do a camel ride or not. If you have already done it once, you know how it is and it would be easier to make a decision. If not, then now is your opportunity. We did it once, we know how it is and how it feels, and we are not very keen on doing it again unless we consider that there’s something different or special about it.

Don’t forget to ask for the price and to also ask about the route. Don’t get fooled to pay a price without knowing how far it will take you. And lastly, don’t forget to negotiate the price.

Where to do a camel ride on the Giza Plateau?

I want to highlight this because there are camels everywhere at the Giza Plateau.

In our opinion, the best spot for camel rides would be after the Pyramid of Chephren or Khafre and closer to the Pyramid of Mykerinos or Menkaure. Although you can also take a camel right next to The Great Pyramid, but the ground is paved there, and you can easily walk.

From Mykerinos you can see vast desert full of camels, which is the kind of experience that is more appealing to us. But if you consider that a camel ride on the streets between the pyramids is more interesting, go for it.

If you find it too much to walk back after checking out all the pyramids there’s also the option to take a horse carriage on the street.

Final Words

We visited the Giza Plateau as part of a guided group, and we had around 2 to 3 hours there. This only aroused our curiosity towards these structures. We want to go there again, and we will do so once the new Grand Egyptian Museum is open. The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization is also on our bucket list for next time.

If you have the opportunity to choose how long to stay at the Giza Plateau on your visit, we would recommend to spend as much time as you can. These structures feel surreal for their age. Don’t rush to just take photos. Shut down the display and put your camera away once in a while and just observe every detail that you can.

If you wish to discover more places in Egypt or to learn some useful information about traveling to Egypt, then check out our other articles:

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