Great Pyramids and Sphinx
(click on picture to enlarge and click browser "back" arrow to return)
To see a slideshow of the pictures, click here.
Three large pyramids and the Sphinx are located in Giza, west of Cairo. The first and largest, built approximately 4600 years ago, was the burial place of King Khufu, the second was that of his son, Khafre, and the third a subsequent King of the same era, Menhaure. They had a smooth limestone finish, which is now gone, except for the very top of the second pyramid. The Khufu pyramid is 455 ft tall, contains over 2 million blocks, and took 20 years to complete, using a work force of over 100,000 men.
Tombs were elaborate, containing many articles to be used in the afterlife. Along side the pyramids, river boats (called solar boats) were buried to transport the kings to the afterlife. The remains of one well-preserved 143-foot boat was discovered next to the Khufu pyramid and reconstructed. It's a thing of beauty.
One couldn't help but be impressed at the size of the pyramids and wonder how all those heavy blocks could be moved into place.
We saw the oldest pyramid prototype (preceded the Great pyramid by about 100 years) in Saqqara - a huge burial ground. It's in bad shape and work was being done to keep it from collapsing.
The Sphinx dates back to the time of the Khufu pyramid, and some believe that the face of the King's older brother was depicted. Much of the defacement was done by Napoleon's army firing cannon balls into the statue.