The Great Giza Pyramids & Sphinx
The Giza Pyramids attractions are to be at the top of your Cairo travel plans. Here you will learn about what these attractions have to offer and how to visit them on a self-guided tour.
The Pyramids themselves are a constant and popular attraction for the world at large. They stand for ancient Egyptian civilization's best and most archetypal work. Together with the Sphinx, they simply embody ancient Egypt.
The Giza Plateau will eventually host the Grand Museum of Egypt, next to the Giza Pyramids. Irish architects created the design with Shih-Fu Peng in the lead. It will largely replace the Egyptian Museum and should be complete in 2014, hopefully.
24/7 Online Customer Service
Our professional Tour Consultants are online and ready to answer your questions. Let us help plan your Egypt tour now. Simply click to ask.
The Giza Plateau, Cairo
Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops)
The Great Giza Pyramid of Khufu is the last surviving member of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was originally 146 m (479 ft) high but now stands a still impressive 137 m (449 ft). Over 2 million blocks of stone were used to construct it, and all with manual labor.
Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren)
The Giza Pyramid of Khafre is a little smaller than the Great Pyramid but appears slightly larger than it from a few angles because of a better position on the plateau.
Pyramid of Menkaure (Mycerinus)
The Giza Pyramid of Menkaure is the smallest of the Giza Pyramids and stands just 62 m (203 ft) high (originally 66.5 m).
Inside the Giza Pyramids
If you venture into the interior of the pyramids, be warned that they're hot, humid and may be claustrophobic. If you can stand it, however, entrance into them is very interesting and educational. Personal viewing of the interior walls and passageways can give you an even deeper appreciation of the tremendous achievements these pyramid builders attained when they built these impressive structures.
It should be noted that although not all of that Pyramids can be equally accessed so that interested parties can explore them inside, the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities will be closing even the accessible ones one at a time so that they can do conservation and renovation work.
The Rest of the Giza Plateau
The Great Sphinx
The Sphinx, a colossal, recumbent human-headed lion, was the Egyptians' representation of the sun god Re-Horakhty - "Horus of the horizon". Egyptians call it Abu el-Hol, the "Father of Terror." In addition, the Greek name "Sphinx," when translated, means "Strangler".
45 meters long and 22 meters wide, it is carved from a giant block of sandstone and is much smaller than the Pyramids surrounding it. It's also missing the nose, purportedly the victim of target practice by bored soldiers. Some say these soldiers were British soldiers in World War I or that they were Napoleon's troops in 1798, but 18th-century drawings show the nose is already missing, which thus points the finger at the occupying troops.
Complete your visit by going to the various Queens' Pyramids and Nobles' Tombs, which are located in regimented cemeteries surrounding the royal Pyramids.
Solar Boat Museum
The Solar Boat Museum is just alongside the southern face of the Great Pyramid. This museum is well done and showcases an excavated reconstructed "solar boat," which was buried with the pharaoh for use on his daily journey with the sun across the sky. Entry fee is LE 40
The Pyramids Sound and Light Show
The "voice of the Sphinx" tells visitors of the history of the Giza Plateau and its place in Egyptian history as a laser display simultaneously picks up the details of the Pyramids and projects historical scenes on the side of the Great Pyramid itself.
The Giza Pyramids are the main tourist attraction in Egypt and attract millions of tourists each year. Therefore, they also attract very determined opportunists. You should report any instances of harassment by camel drivers and tourist touts to the black-uniformed Tourist Police immediately.
Don't climb any of the Pyramids. This is officially forbidden and dangerous.
As with anywhere in Egypt and during the hot months especially, take plenty of bottled water with you to drink and wear a hat and sunscreen. You should also wear sunglasses for further sun protection.