The oldest of the pyramids discovered to date are found at Saqqara which is near Memphis – the place that we visited on our first day in Egypt. These we visited in the afternoon after we had eaten lunch. This ancient pyramid (the Pyramid of Djoser ) had a flat top and was stepped in structure. Additionally, unlike the later pyamids it was made from cut bricks and not stone.
It was constructed between 2630 BC to 2611 BC. To me those times are mind boggling. Further behind Christ than we have gone after him and just look how they have survived. And that is without considering that they constructed them with only the help of the stars and man power and no computers to calculate the maths that must have been needed.
I don’t know if this mound is older, or whether it was a burial mound but my thoughts are that it must have been something.
We entered this pyramid, crowding into the smal space
and saw the first of many reliefs that were on the walls of the temples and burial places.
These small pyramids awed us
but our first sight of the Great Pyramid of Giza literally dropped our jaws to the ground as it loomed up before us.
It was bigger than I could have imagined. Made of granite and limestone each block weighed about 2.5 tons.
We were given an option of entering but were persuaded that it was very musty inside, would cause us respiratory distress for little gain as the decorations were gone and there was nothing to see. Cameras were not allowed inside and for the price you had to pay to enter it simply wasn’t worth while.
Three of our party opted to go inside whilst we wandered the outside. They returned saying it was well worth the experience so I would recommend that if you want – take up that option.
We were soon tagged by someone we thought was a pyramid official. He insisted on showing us the best points to take photographs from but when he grabbed my camera off me I became particularly perturbed. The camera around my neck was from one who had gone inside.
He had us posing touching the top of the pyramid
and showing how easy it was to lift a boulder. Then after retrieving my camera he demanded payment. Again this came as a shock but I had put money in various compartments so I could pull out a small amount and not look as though I had more to spend. We gave him his tip.
Then happily spent the time taking my own photos.
The chap with the white turban was the one we thought was an official.
From the pyramids we were taken to another vantage point but that is another story.
In answer to my question: Were the pyramids everything I expected and to tell the truth probably the main reason we wanted to travel to Egypt – I was not disappointed. They exceeded my expectations and I was surprised at how close to Cairo they were. I would even have considered them a suburb of Cairo. The other surprise, which just shows my ignorance, was the proximity of the Sahara Dessert to Cairo. Although we had only been in the country a couple of days we were starting to learn to not make eye contact with the local people which was sad as it would have been good to have some conversation without pressure to buy with them. That aside – yes well worth the trip.