Egypt abounds in many pyramids beginning with the Giza pyramids, Abu Rawash pyramid, and extend southward along the western desert for 70 km. Ruins of Al Lahoun pyramid can be located near the Fayoum entrance.
The Pyramids of
Giza and the Sphinx:
On the West Bank of the Nile facing
Cairo and on top of
Giza plateau rise the three Pyramids erected by Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus, guarded by the mysterious Sphinx, which is a mythical statue with the body of a lion and a human head.
The three Pyramids and the Sphinx are considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the most important tourist site in
Egypt, The Great pyramid, built by King Cheops (IV Dynasty), circa 2690 BC. The pyramid covers an area of 13 acres. Its height, originally 146 meters, has now become 137 meters after the erosion of its summit. The Total Volume of its stones amounts to 2.5 million cubic meters.
The ancient Egyptian’s aim in building the pyramids was that they should serve as sepulchers for their Pharaohs to preserve their bodies, for they believed in resurrection and immortality. Close to the eastern flank of the King Chephren, the son of Cheops, built the second pyramid. Its height reaches 136 meters, at the base, it measures 215.5 ms Square. Its interior is simple, with two entrances on the north side. It had an exterior covering of fine-grain limestone. Now, only a small part of this covering remains. The third pyramid was built in the reign of ”Menkaura” the son of Chephren; its height is 62 meters. The lower wall of this pyramid is encased in a layer of granite.
The Solar Boat:
The Ancient Egyptians used to carve spacious areas in the rock, near the pyramids There they placed big cedar wooden boats to be at the disposal of the king when he accompanied Ra, the Sun god, on his Day and Night journeys in the after world The boat measures 43m long, the prow is 5m high and the poop 7m high A solar boat has lately been discovered and assembled, it is now exhibited in a special museum south of the Pyramid of Cheops. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p. m.
Sakkara is the ancient site of
City; hence it abounds in monuments, antiquities and tombs. It is the most ancient burial ground in ancient
It is situated on a desert plateau, southwest of
Cairo crowned by Zoser step-pyramid and funerary Complex, distinguished by the glamorous wall engravings established by the architect Imhotep for King Zoser, the first of the III Dynasty pharaohs circa 2780 BC. The pyramid is composed of six receding Mastabas on top of other. The step-pyramid measures 123.5 by lO7ms at the base and about 59ms in height. It is the first massive stone edifice known to history. The Sakkara Pyramid is considered an evolution in the concept of pyramids from the simple Mastaba to the pyramid in its present shape.
The most important place to visit in
Sakkara is the pyramid of Unas, the Serapeum and the Mastabas which are known as the tombs of nobles, the most famous of which is the tomb of Ptah Hotep, the tomb of Kagemni and the tomb of Mereruka.
The Pyramid of Unas:
It lies south of the step-pyramid, last of the V Dynasty pharaoh. This pyramid is noted for its tomb chamber, whose walls are inscribed with what is known as the “Pyramid Texts”, and whose ceiling is decorated with stars that seem to sparkle above the royal mummy. Near to the pyramid of “Unas”, lies the Persian Shaft, a tomb of Xl Dynasty known as the “Persian Dynasty”. The Shaft is 25ms deep and at the bottom lays several tomb chambers.
It is the oldest capital of
Egypt, was built by King Mina, and located 24 km southwest of
Cairo, in Al-Badrasheen. You can see in
Memphis, the colossal statue of Ramsis II that is exhibited in the Egyptian museum now. This is the most beautiful representation of Ramsis II, It is made of fine-grained limestone; 13 meters long, and weight 120 tons. Also, you may see the Serapeum the temple for Embalming the Sacred Apis Bull, which shows the various steps of embalming. Finally, you can see the Alabaster sphinx of King Tuthmosis III.
Dahshur is one of the best places to see large pyramids, because it has few visitors, yet is not a far drive from
South Saqqara stand the pyramids of Dhashur (Dahshur). The Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid are about 2 km south of the Mastaba Faraoun. The constructor of these pyramids is thought to have been Snofru (2575 - 2551 BC), who was the first ruler of the 4th Dynasty. Snofru built these two pyramids and is thought to have built the pyramid at Maidoun. His son was Cheops who continued his constructive tendencies.
The Red Pyramid is thought to be older and is the only one that can be entered at this time.. The Bent Pyramid was built out of limestone which was quarried locally. The casing was of polished Turah limestone. This pyramid is also known as the Southern Shining Pyramid. The casing blocks are very stable and very difficult to remove because they slope inwards. The base of the pyramid is 188.6m and is 105m high. Because of the bend in construction, the original angle would have made it 128.5m high.
The Bent Pyramid is unique for two reasons. The first is the angle change. There are two theories for this change. The first is that the builders may have gotten tired and wanted to reduce the volume and to finish faster. Another is that when the pyramid at Maidoun collapsed, the architect lost his nerve and changed the angle. The angle at Maidoun was 52 degrees as is the base of the Bent Pyramid. At the bend, the angle is changed to 43.5 degrees up to the peak.
The second reason is that it has two entrances. The first is in the middle of the northern side and is about 12m above the ground. It leads to the upper chamber. The second entrance is on the western side and is just above the ground. It leads to the lower chamber. The floors of both chambers were built 4m deep with small stone blocks.
The Pyramid of Amenemhet III
About a mile from the Bent Pyramid, but not approachable is the Pyramid of Amenemhet III. Originally, it was 341 feet square by 266 feet high, but as a mudbrick pyramid lined with limestone, it has deteriorated badly.
The Obelisk at Mattariya:
Al-Mattariya area occupies the ancient site on which was built the Pharaonic city of
Oun which the Greeks called
Heliopolis. The only left monument of the antiquities of that city is the famous obelisk known as “AI-Mattariya Obelisk”. It is a granite obelisk, 25m high, which stands at the east of