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    CLAIREINPARIS   60,482
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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!

Voià! 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:
LEW0213 5/1/2013 11:07AM

    Thank you so much for sharing your adventures. Loved the pictures.

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    What an amazing experience! Thank you for sharing!

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PYNETREE 5/1/2013 10:51AM

    Thank you so much for sharing you knowledgeable and entertaining travel blog!

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JERICHO1991 5/1/2013 10:33AM

    Interesting and educational. Thank you.

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THOMS1 5/1/2013 10:31AM

    emoticon this blog was just wonderful. How exciting to have been there. emoticon

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KENDRACARROLL 5/1/2013 10:30AM

    What a great adventure!
Love your travel blogs :)

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GEMLADYONE 5/1/2013 10:27AM

    Thanks for sharing. It's been a dream of mine for many many years to go there in person, but everytime it seems possible (schedule or $ wise) the political situation is not conducive to travel. Maybe someday I'll make it!

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JOANNHUNT 5/1/2013 10:16AM


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LYNCHD05 5/1/2013 10:14AM

    Amazing....I guess this will have to go on my bucket list.

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IDICEM 5/1/2013 10:13AM

    Thank you, Claire, for taking us with you to Egypt. Your blogs have brought Cairo alive for me, and I love your touristy day! The pyramids are wondrous!
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DIANNEMT 5/1/2013 10:13AM

    How special to see these in person. Thanks for sharing that with us!

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IMJUSTFLUFFY 5/1/2013 10:02AM that is the best blog I've found to wake up to! I've always wanted to go to Egypt! I am a fan of Elizabeth Peters mysteries all usually taking place in Egypt!
I now know I will never make it but you sure placed me there this morning. Any pics of the Nile?
Thanks for sharing!

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TINY67 5/1/2013 10:01AM

    Great Blog, Thanks!

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GINIEMIE 5/1/2013 9:58AM

    Nous aux Etats-Unis sommes étonnés par les vieux batiments en Europe parce qu'il n'y en a pas ici. Alors de voir quelque chose qui a été construises avant Jesus Christ est vraiment incroyable.

I love you instructional travelogues. I've learned so much. I too am claustrophobic and have issues going in tight spaces, especially if there is no immediate exit. I took my children to see a cave in Ohio and almost past out when we had to practically crawl through part of it. I now check before entering.
Bonne journée, Heureux 1e mai.
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LSIG14 5/1/2013 9:48AM

    Thanks so much for sharing your travels with those of us who can only dream!

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JACKIE542 5/1/2013 9:44AM

    Just beautiful Claire. I have always wanted to see the Pyramids. Thank you for your beautiful pictures, makes me feel like I was there. I always imagined the Pyramids being deep in the desert, amazes me that they are so close to the city.
Love all your blogs, can never be bored, I hope you continue to post. Thank you, I will probably never get to visit such wonderful places. emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/1/2013 9:01:33 PM

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GRIZ1GIRL 5/1/2013 9:44AM

    Wow! Thanks!

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CLIMBERS_ROCK 5/1/2013 9:42AM

    Love your touristy blog. I sooooooo want to see the pyramids. Thanks. Pics are great.

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GIRLINMOTION 5/1/2013 9:40AM

    Thank you for sharing. I know a way more now about the pyramids than I did before.

What a wonderful experience and feeling of history you must be revelling in.

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WORKNPROGRESS49 5/1/2013 9:36AM

    emoticon emoticon

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SUGAR0814 5/1/2013 9:34AM

    Thank you for sharing your visit. emoticon

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NEWMOM20121 5/1/2013 9:20AM

    Thank you for sharing.

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GOANNA2 5/1/2013 9:10AM

    Thanks for taking me back to the Pyramids. I did go
into the big Pyramid but turned back as I felt sick,
claustophobic to be exact. I remember going on a
camel and because I gave a friend my camera to
take a picture of me, the driver said something to
the camel and when I went to dismount, I was rolled
over onto the ground. very embarrassing. He missed
out on his baksheesh. I laugh about it now. Your blog
brought back so many beautiful memories. emoticon
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HLOCHRIDGE 5/1/2013 9:01AM

    Thanks for sharing! Those pictures were wonderful!

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PURRGURL 5/1/2013 9:00AM

    What a wonderful blog, Claire. Merci beaucoup for sharing your adventures with us! Much enjoyed. emoticon

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ANNASMOM12 5/1/2013 8:49AM

  the pics look great

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SPARKBJOK 5/1/2013 8:27AM

    What a great trip! The Pyramids are on my wishlist. So much to do, so little time (and money).

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NIKKIJ55 5/1/2013 8:16AM

    Thank you for sharing. I just learned a lot from you about the pyramids. That is a place I would like to visit some day, but will probably never make it

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THEIS58 5/1/2013 8:14AM


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LISA_FRAME 5/1/2013 8:11AM


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JILLIEWILLIE1 5/1/2013 8:09AM

    Thanks for sharing Claire. I rarely get to travel and I enjoy your blogs so much. emoticon

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LAURANCE 5/1/2013 8:07AM

  How very wonderful! Thank you for reporting and posting pictures!

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GWINNER1 5/1/2013 8:05AM

    I really enjoyed your blog. Great info and pictures. I learned a lot. Now I just have to go back and read your past blogs! Keep them coming.

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LSDALOIA 5/1/2013 8:04AM

    Seeing the pyramids is on my top 10 "must do" list. It's so iconic. Thank you so much for sharing your pictures and comments. GREAT BLOG!!!

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    The joy on your face is more beautiful to me, by far, than the pyramids!

GREAT blog. emoticon

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MOMMY445 5/1/2013 7:59AM

    such fabulous photos,Claire! glad to hear that you are feeling much better. have a wonderful day!

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JANEMARIE77 5/1/2013 7:58AM

    thank you so much

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CAPECODLIGHT 5/1/2013 7:50AM

    I most likely will never visit the Pyramids in person; so your pictures and words were a real treat to me. Merci! I had the same reaction to the Acropolis being in the middle of Athens as you had with the pyramids being so close to Cairo. I guess the pictures they take always screen out the surrounding areas.
I loved the idea of the pyramids reflecting light into space - something I had never heard before. And, of course, I loved the boat. I am always fascinated by cultures and their ideas around time, family, death, etc.
Keep traveling, my Friend, and keep blogging!


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GARDENCHRIS 5/1/2013 7:46AM

    one of the places I would love to go see! how exciting for you!

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NANCYJH64 5/1/2013 7:40AM

    Thank you so much for taking me on this trip with you. I would love to get there some time but if not.... I thank you for the "trip"

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MANDAMYMANDA 5/1/2013 7:36AM

    What an adventure!

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KATHIC2 5/1/2013 7:36AM

  Very interesting life you lead. You inspire me to go see the sights!

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SIZE8NOTSOMUCH 5/1/2013 7:29AM

    I Loved the way you wrote, you almost made me feel like I was there (and I never will be), so THANK YOU!!!


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KAB7801 5/1/2013 7:24AM

    Very nice. Where were you last year when I had to do a report on one of the wonders of the world

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CFMOSS 5/1/2013 7:23AM

    Thanks. Great pictures and great telling of the day in your life as a tourist:)

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KNYAGENYA 5/1/2013 7:19AM


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SHANNONY84 5/1/2013 7:00AM

    very beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

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CHERYLHURT 5/1/2013 6:53AM


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BESSHAILE 5/1/2013 6:35AM

    It is we who must say Thank you Thank you Thank you

what a grand tour of the pyramids. How mind boggling to be among such ancient architecture.

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MAUREENGRACE1 5/1/2013 6:25AM

    I had a wonderful holiday in Egypt for my birthday 5 years ago. It was something I had always wanted to do, and enjoyed every moment. And you have brought back the happiness I had on that holiday, Thank you for reminding me of that time.

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