Cairo, Egypt
Date:
03/11/2000

PHOTOS
 
The perfect weather and extensive irrigation in Egypt mean they grow just about anything despite being almost entirely a desert.

Fish straight out of the Nile


 
Veal gets no fresher than this.

Almost 50 meters long and more than 20 meters high, the Sphinx was molded almost entirely from a single piece of Limestone.


 
Many theories circulate as to the origin and significance of the Sphinx, but even historians admit they do not know the answers. Sources do know that armies used the Sphinx for target practice knocking off the nose and beard. (Some say Turks did the damage, while others blame Napoleon.)

An awesome combination


 
All my life I've dreamed of seeing the Pyramids and the Sphinx – and both exceeded my lofty expectations.

The interior of the Pyramid of Mycerinus – perhaps simple looking, but stunning when taken in context


 
The narrow, slanted passageway inside the Pyramid of Mycerinus

The Pyramids, the only surviving ancient Wonder of the World, sit almost within Cairo proper.


 
Perched on a camel with the Great Pyramid of Cheops behind – I just couldn't resist this shot.

Camel close-up


 
Honeymooners celebrating at Giza

Camel rides around the grounds of the three Pyramids at Giza are common – here a new bride laughs as she anticipates her first ride.


 
The Pyramids at Giza


 
 
PAIGE'S NOTES
 
3 November 2000 – The morning haze over the city – caused by the farmers burning their rice fields – caused us to think twice about visiting the Pyramids today, but optimistically we took off for the world’s oldest and largest mausoleums.

Pharaohs believed that after death they would become one with universe, so these 4500 year-old mammoth tombs were supposed to blend with the land. Buried inside the tomb along with the worshipped pharaoh were jewelry of gold, silver, alabaster, lapis and turquoise, carved chairs layered with stones and gilt, swords and protective armor, several golden burial boxes, funerary beds, urns and more (toys even in the case of King Tut who died before reaching the age of 20). Enormous wooden rowboats – up to seven with Cheops – were buried in the graves allowing the pharaohs to travel in the afterlife. We entered the small pyramid via a tiny, slanted, scorching passage with a backache-making, low ceiling that led to few not overly impressive stone rooms that once held the mummy of the pharaoh and his treasures. The lavish history surrounding these simple, hand-made rooms caused Jim and me to shake our heads in awe.

The Sphinx – fabled to have been covered in sand for thousands of years – is as regal and grand as I'd expected. Twenty meters high and made from limestone, the Sphinx was used for target practice by armies a couple of hundred years ago. But even sadder, the magnificent stone animal has an internal disease where disintegration of the stone is happening from the inside out.

An amazing view on a nearby hill is the site of the three pyramids with Cairo as the backdrop. Seeing the only surviving ancient Wonder of the World with smoky, loud and bustling Cairo just behind is quite spectacular. And like most highly visited sites, vendors and swindlers surround the guarded complex. We escaped without buying a horse or camel ride, but I did opt to mount a camel for a photograph in front of Cheop Pyramid.

 

VIDEO
 
  The Pyramids and the Sphinx
AUDIO
 
  Pyramids and the Sphinx (Paige)
  Pyramids and religions (Jim)