Thursday, February 2, 2012

Jewel of the Nile: Giza

You can't go to Egypt without seeing the pyramids, so that's what we did on day 2.  Our first stop was the step pyramid complex.  This was the first pyramid built in Egypt and it is more than 4,000 years old.

The temple that surrounds the pyramid is where coronations for pharaohs and kings and queens were held.  Side note--I learned the difference between pharaohs and kings/queens is that pharaohs were considered immortal gods where kings and queens were human.

As part of the coronation ceremony, the new leader would fight a bull in the center of the court.  The bulls won often enough to necessitate the next-of-kin sit in the bleachers.  When the bull lost though, the new leader would cut off his tail and wear it as a symbol of power.  I never knew this before, but when you see hieroglyphics of pharaohs, they usually have a bull tail.

Next up were the pyramids of Giza.  Did you know that these used to be covered in granite and painted?  I can't even imagine what they would have looked like back then.  Also, granite is always 5 °C colder than the air, and limestone is always 2 °C colder than the air.  This means that the burial chamber, which is in the center of the layers of limestone and granite, was as cold as a refrigerator!  The ancient Egyptians not only mummified their dead, they also kept them cold!

Walking like an Egyptian

There are more than 97 man-made pyramids in Egypt, and in ancient times, each pyramid had its own sphinx!  It also had three smaller pyramids for the owner's wife and two of his daughters.  

One of the benefits of going to Egypt now was that we mostly had the country to ourselves, though there were occasionally some other tourists.

Move already!

Me and Sarah at the Sphinx

Cute couple, no?

After a full day of touring, we had a fantastic meal at a local place called Gad.  We had falafel and a local specialty called foul (pronounced fool).  It was amazing and only cost $1.50 for two of us!!

We had just enough time for some shisha and mint tea before we caught our sleeper train to Luxor.

It's just tobacco...I promise!

Read about our other stops along the Nile:
Abu Simbal
Edfu and Kom Ombo
Luxor I
Luxor II


  1. Love what limited photos we have seen. Looking forward to more. Maybe you have some stories for Passover.
    Dad(one and only)

  2. I'm learning so much since I've never been there myself (woe is me). Great pics and stories. Keep up the good work!