Lets go back... waaaay back... like, 5000 years back!
Giza Travel Blog› entry 2 of 20 › view all entries
April 3rd, 2010 – by: anupa_rk
The step pyramid at Saqqara is a nice sight to build up the whole feel of seeing the pyramids. Designed by the architect Imhotep, the step pyramids, though nowhere close to the Great Pyramids, are a unique sight.
They are also the oldest known structure to be completely hewn in stone. Apparently, Imhotep, the vizer of the then Pharaoh Djoser, was the first to use stone as a major building block in architecture.
The thing about the tombs and temples at Egypt is that you really need to have someone to explain the stuff to you to fully grasp the magnitude of the structures and the civilization. At the step Pyramid, I did not intend to take a guide.
So my plan was to just stroll about and try and figure things out myself. The guides didnâ€™t really get the concept of India being a poor country and Indians not earning in US Dollars! So I wasnâ€™t really given any discounts!
But I soon realized that I was missing out on stuff without a guide to explain the significance of the monuments and the carvings on the tombs to me. And so, I had to give in and get me a guide. It was quite worth it, actually. I really appreciated the art work and the architecture once I knew the history of what I was looking at.
There were several other temples and burial chambers in the area. For other kings of the same era.. and probably their queens and high nobles as well. Including one that was about 20 feet below ground level! There was this narrow tunnel like entrance into which we had to crouch and crawl to the chambers below!
The pyramid done, I headed towards the Imhotep Museum that showcases some artifacts found in the tombs and other excavation sites. There is also a lot of insight provided on the form of architecture used by Imhotep.
Next stop â€“ the museum at Memphis.
Memphis was the old capital of Egypt. It was considered to be a strategic point as it marked the boundary between Upper and Lower Egypt.
There is now an open air museum here. The museum is dedicated to Ramses and houses some spectacular statues of him.
Next stop â€“ Giza
Finally, up close and personal with one of the seven wonders of the world â€“ the Great Pyramids of Giza. The magnificence of the pyramids strikes you even as you drive towards it.. as it starts to fill the horizon.. until there is nothing else but the pyramids..
It is only when you are at its foot that the enormity of the structure really strikes you. There is a certain point a little further from the structure from where you get a lovely panoramic view of all the pyramids lined up. It is just breathtaking to be in the vicinity of such magnificence.
And to think that mankind achieved this more than 4000 years ago.. Itâ€™s quite a humbling thought.
I was warned by my friends about the guides and the hawkers there who spoke only in terms of US Dollars! And so, I was wary. But it was funny you know. To be viewed as a money bag! I felt like laughing and telling them â€“ hey, Iâ€™m just a poor Indian!
Anyways, so I didnâ€™t get a guide at the Great Pyramids. But my taxi driver friend did manage to haggle and get me a good deal on a short camel ride around the pyramids. Iâ€™ve always loved camel rides! So, for a few minutes there, I was a kid having fun again!
You know what I hate about traveling alone? Apart from the super huge single supplements almost everywhere.. I hate that I never have any nice pictures with ME in them!! First of all, I find it slightly embarrassing to have to ask someone to click a picture of me wherever I am.
After admiring the pyramids for a while, I decided to call it a day and head home. My friends stay in this suburb far away from downtown Cairo. So I had a long drive ahead of me.
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