Giza Travel Blog› entry 5 of 6 › view all entries
March 27th, 2008 – by: Jeroenadmiraal
Giza was a town adjacent to Cairo, and nowadays the slums of Cairo have completely swallowed the town, effectively closing in on the pyramids year by year, and now the world famous wonders have to be protected against the rapidly spreading city. While speeding over the highway towards Giza, I saw the endless slums passing by.
The highway over the slums ended, and while we rode through the neighborhoods of Giza, the pyramids were already visible. Their triangular shape was reaching out from far away, mightily over the modern buildings. And when we reached the site, it struck me how close the outskirts of Cairo are to the pyramids. All the pictures I knew of the pyramids are taken with a view of the desert, never showing the lesser magical sight of the slums behind the pyramids. I have tried to make a picture the other way around, showing the city from the pyramids.
Now, on to the last of the seven wonders of the world!
They are big. They really are! They are like mountains, and it is hard to imagine that they were made by humans, so many thousands of years ago.
Now, don't think you can walk around there quietly! There are people coming to you every few seconds, trying to sell stuff of asking if you would like to ride a camel. These sellers here are a bit inhuman. They will drive you crazy, and so will the thousands and thousands of tourists, coming from hundreds and hundreds of busses. I think the egyptians find it hard to handle so many tourists and don't really understand what to offer them. I will explain.
There are no fences, but a few officers that run around with red heads, whistling and trying to pull people from the pyramids.
But it is worth it.
What else? Oh, yeah, the Sphinx. Well, the sphinx is not that big, if you compare it to the pyramids. But then, you mustn't. You must compare it to statues. And then the Sphinx is big.
That about sums it up. I had no desire to ride a camel (I would do so later, in Tunisia, though I did not know I would) and had no desire to enter a pyramid. It was freaking hot outside, and it would be far worse inside. Not to mention cramped and humid. We headed back to Cairo.
Later that day we went a second time to Khan el Khalili and visited the Al-Ahzar mosque. A beautiful mosque, heavily decorated and with two remarkable minarets. I think it is the most beautiful mosque I have visited in Egypt and I would like to return to it one day. By now the sky had turned orange because of the pollution and some mist, which produced an awkward atmosphere in the mosque.
To close the day (it was a very busy day, as you can read), we headed for the Al-Azhar park. A green lung in Cairo, built on top of a dumpster. It is a pleasant park to walk around and has great views over the city and the citadel. There is also a rather expensive restaurant. While I was sitting there, the prayer came floating over the roofs of the city and once again I realized in what a different country I was, far from home.
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