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    CLAIREINPARIS   60,470
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The Pyramids! - Cairo Part 5

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hello dear Sparkfriends,

Unlike my other blogs about Cairo, this is going to be a completely touristy blog, I am not ashamed to say! emoticon

That morning, my colleague Mumtaz picked me up at my hotel in Cairo at 7am and we headed towards Giza to see the Pyramids! (The little I know about the Pyramids I learned from Mumtaz... thank you!!!)

One hour later, we were there...

The Pyramids (of Giza... there are 80 in total around Egypt!) are actually very close to Giza, which is part of Cairo Metropolis. Here you can see a little the city as it appears from the Pyramids...

To me though, the best way to get an idea of how close the Pyramids now are to the city is Google Maps...

Isn't it amazing? I thought the Pyramids were in the middle of the desert, when actually they are very close to modern buildings. I was impressed how huge they were!

Here is Mumtaz at the bottom of one of the smaller pyramids:

The Great Pyramid (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) was the tallest building in the world until the 19th century. It is 481 feet (146.5 metres) high. Also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops, it was built as a tomb for Pharaoh Khufu around 2250 BC. He was 20 when he organized for his pyramid/tomb to be built! This is what I call planning ahead! :) The entire project took about 23 years to complete. 2,300,000 building blocks, weighing an average of 2.5 tons EACH (although some weigh as much as 16 tons!) were used to build it.

Originally, beautiful smooth blocks known as 'casing stones' covered the entire exterior of the pyramid, encasing the whole structure. It has been calculated that the original pyramid with its casing stones would act like gigantic mirrors and reflect light so powerful that it would be visible from the moon as a shining star on earth. In the 14th century, earthquakes struck Egypt, toppling temples and snapping bridges. The pyramid's limestone casing was removed and repurposed for repairs. Many buildings such as mosques or churches in Cairo today were also built with these casing stones.

I have to confess we didn't go inside and that is entirely my fault! I tend to get a bit claustrophobic, especially when the space is limited and there isn't a lot of air to breathe, so the thought of walking in long corridors, having to bend part of the time as the ceiling is very low (and I am 6ft!) didn't appeal much to me.

We didn't stay outside the whole time though... Having passed by this temple at the bottom of the pyramids...

... We entered a museum. Mumtaz didn't reveal to me what was inside, so that it remained as a surprise.

Yes, it was a boat! A huge cedar-wood solar boat. It has a very simple, elegant and refined line. The boat was meant to help the pharaoh cross the river to eternal life.

It was found sealed in a pit at the base of the Great pyramid. This boat was interred in pieces and has since been reassembled, restored and preserved in this climate controlled museum over the site of the original pit. Another similar boat was found nearby lately:

At the museum I bought some postcards to send to a couple of friends (I warned you it was a completely touristy blog!!!)...

... and then we walked to the Sphinx.

According to Wikipedia, it is the largest monolith statue in the world, standing 73.5 metres (241 ft) long, 19.3 metres (63 ft) wide, and 20.22 m (66.34 ft) high. It is the oldest known monumental sculpture, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom during the reign of the Pharaoh Khafra (c. 2558-2532 BC!).

I know some of you often comment how amazed you are that some buildings that are 1000 years old are still standing in Europe... Can you imagine that the sphinx is over 4500 years old? To me it is mind blowing!

VoiĆ ! This was my visit to the Pyramids of Giza, and the last of my blogs about Cairo (I came back to France 10 days ago)! I was really encouraged by all your kind comments on my latest blogs. I had thought that maybe you would read the first one and then get a bit bored, but it wasn't so! It encourages me to keep posting blogs when I travel!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
KHALIA2 5/2/2013 12:08AM

  Thank you for sharing your trip! I enjoyed all of the beautiful pictures and descriptions.

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JUDYAMK 5/2/2013 12:08AM

    Oh my stars Claire BORED NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you are so special to so many of us.You give us so much knowledge , You share it all with us.Thank you for being the beautiful person you are to so many of us.I always so look forward to your messages.
Judy emoticon

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KAREN91 5/1/2013 11:56PM

    Your blogs could never be boring. You have allowed a lifelong Iowa person who hasn't even seen much of the U.S. to travel the world vicariously. Thank you so much for sharing your travels with us. You find beauty everywhere because you are beautiful inside and out. I look forward to your travel blogs and also your ones of France. emoticon emoticon

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MARYJEANSL 5/1/2013 11:56PM

  Thank you, thank you! It was SO interesting, plus I love your pictures.

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PROVERBS31JULIA 5/1/2013 11:51PM

    No!! Non!! Not boring !!

We did go in a few of the tombs, but after awhile, and me being tired and my son so weak from his stomach troubled and me having lipreading issues not understanding the accents, I began to have the "you've seen one, you've seen them all" syndrome, and basically remained on the bus the rest of the day until I could get my son to the hotel etc. Later, I heard from my husband that each tomb did have its own unique personality twist - each Pharoah had to out-do each other, of course!!

Still, it is fun to revisit through your blog! Egypt is truly a unique experience! And I was also amazed at how close the city built towards the pyramids - but I'm thinking out your agent said the city now knows they cannot develop any closer to their various pyramids without risking additional damages - so any city enlargement has to go away from Giza.

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CICELY360 5/1/2013 11:21PM

  good blo

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SUSHENO 5/1/2013 11:17PM

    Thanks for sharing; made me homesick and saddened due to the recent happenings ... did you get to ride a camel?

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JAMER123 5/1/2013 11:17PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
I really enjoyed this blog!! Some figures are so interesting to learn!!

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GOOSIEMOON 5/1/2013 10:48PM

    Great blog post! DH and I were lucky enough to visit the pyramids and Sphinx last fall on a trip of a lifetime. So glad you enjoyed yourself!

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ROCKYCPA 5/1/2013 10:44PM

    Great blog - thanks for sharing!

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JUSGETTENBY42 5/1/2013 10:26PM

    Would love to see these, soon I hope

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RUTGERSM0M 5/1/2013 10:19PM


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FRANCES-AGAPE 5/1/2013 10:01PM


SO MUCH for taking
the time & trouble
to SHARE with us !

Hope you had a Wonderful Wednesday
On this 1st of May
Have a Thrilling Thursday !

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AMBER461 5/1/2013 9:42PM

  Thanks for sharing. I would love to see the pyramids, the pictures are great.

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PATRICIAANN46 5/1/2013 9:40PM

  emoticon for another wonderful blog. I have ALWAYS wanted to see the Pyramids and this was a great introduction. I am going to show it to my husband too as he is even more interested than I am. Your blogs are NEVER boring.......

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NORASPAT 5/1/2013 9:32PM

    CLAIRE your Blogs are NEVER boring, WOW this was are really informative one. I did not realise the pyramids were that close they usually look like they are way off in the desert.
Did you ride a camel?
The boat is exquisite how lucky you have been to see it close up. We studied Egypt a lot in school in England. I really loved your photographs well done and many thanks.

HUGS Pat in Maine. EXCELLENT!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TWAINNY 5/1/2013 9:31PM

    Great trip! I lived in Egypt for 2 years. Trust me, you didn't miss much not going inside! Just a dark room with hundreds of tourists! (I went to the pyramids 12+ times while I lived in Cairo). Even on our last trip there, the pyramids are impressive and you are just in awe of them!

I must say, you had BEAUTIFUL weather when you were there. I can't remember a single time at the pyramids that we saw blue sky and clouds!!!

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LUVNY199 5/1/2013 8:44PM

    WOW! Beautiful!

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GOING-STRONG 5/1/2013 8:39PM

    Visiting the Pyramids is definitely on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing!

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HOLLYM48 5/1/2013 7:36PM

    Claire, You are a font of information! Not only are your blogs full of beautiful pictures, you have so much information to go along with it as far as all of the history. I know that I will never be bored with any blog you post. They are marvelous! It is so great that you are pictured in several of these pictures. Somehow it feels like we all get to know you better thru that beautiful smile of yours!
Keep on posting these awesome blogs so we can travel the world thru your eyes!
This was just awesome to see all of these pyramids and the Sphinx.
Thanks for sharing this wonderful experience with all of us.
Hugs, Holly emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GREENVALLEYS 5/1/2013 7:09PM

    They are mysterious and grand. Thank you for all the pictures and information.
I also though they were far away from civilization no next to the city.

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FRABBIT 5/1/2013 6:32PM

  Really enjoyed this. Great pictures

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QTEALADY20031 5/1/2013 6:28PM

    Claire, your tourist blog is amazing and so very informative. I never realized there were so many pyramids!! What an amazing site and the The Sphinx, you just cannot imagine that it is so old. What an honor for you and Mumtaz to share in the beauty of such an important part of history. Claire, thank you again for sharing. This is priceless. emoticon emoticon June

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POLLYWANNA1 5/1/2013 6:17PM

    Wow! Congrats on this wonderful adventure! Someday..... :)

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DANAPRIME 5/1/2013 5:50PM

    Very cool thanks for sharing

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NILLAPEPSI 5/1/2013 3:46PM

    Wow! emoticon photos! Thanks so much for sharing them with us. emoticon

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HEARTS116 5/1/2013 3:38PM

    emoticon emoticon

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BAKER1009 5/1/2013 3:20PM

    Woohoo, another history class! Love it Claire! What? No goats at the pyramids? Just kidding of course!
I LOVE that last's like you're having a staring contest! LOL!

Thanks again for sharing. Glad to hear this was a featured blog!! emoticon

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IAMAGEMLOVER 5/1/2013 3:19PM


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SIMONEKP 5/1/2013 3:08PM

    I am always in awe of what we call "ancient" civilizations.

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DISNEYGIRL2000 5/1/2013 3:00PM

  Wow! Lucky you! Egypt is at the top of the bucket list for my husband and I.

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NANA-JEAN 5/1/2013 2:55PM


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HHB4181 5/1/2013 2:10PM

    So Awesome, great pictures!

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RUTHEY01 5/1/2013 2:03PM

    Great pictures and commentary. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

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BARBARASDIET 5/1/2013 1:49PM

    Pretty amazing!

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JIBBIE49 5/1/2013 1:47PM


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TINA_L 5/1/2013 1:38PM

    Wow, what an amazing trip! Gorgeous pics. emoticon

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LESLIE2561 5/1/2013 1:12PM

    Thanks for sharing! I have always wanted to go to Egypt, but am afraid of all the unrest over there.

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MJ7DM33 5/1/2013 12:36PM

  emoticon Thx for sharing!

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GRAMMAOF16 5/1/2013 12:30PM

    WOW!! Thanks for sharing!

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FAVORITEAUNT84 5/1/2013 12:23PM


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SHOAPIE 5/1/2013 12:15PM

    Thanks for sharing.

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DNRAE1 5/1/2013 12:04PM

    Beautiful, Claire! I would love to go to Egypt, and your blogs have been so wonderfully inspiring. Someday, I'll be there, too! Thank you!

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MCFITZ2 5/1/2013 12:03PM


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NEPTUNE1939 5/1/2013 11:57AM


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HOPEFULHIPPO 5/1/2013 11:39AM

    totally fowarding this to my daughter. She loves Egypt :o)

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TEASCHERTZ 5/1/2013 11:36AM

    Thank you so much for sharing your travels with us. Really enjoyed it!

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LENIASTY 5/1/2013 11:16AM

    What a great blog -just like all the other ones you've posted! Thanks, I feel like I've travelled with you!


PS You look really good!

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TRICIAE2 5/1/2013 11:14AM

    It is so great to see pictures of places that I will probably never be able to visit!


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