The Pyramids of Giza: Egypt's Wonders -
Award-winning travel guidebooks
Home Florida - Walt Disney World Caribbean - Disney Cruise Line California - Disneyland Resort Anywhere and Everywhere! Travelers Store Message Boards PassPorter's Club Help!
  About Us  |  Customs Office   |   Register Your Book   |   Book Updates   |  Newsletter  |  Articles  |  Photos  |   Follow Us on
Globetrotting Planning Articles

Globetrotting Traveling Articles

Globetrotting Lodging Articles

Globetrotting Touring Articles

Globetrotting Dining Articles

Globetrotting Making Magic Articles

Globetrotting General Travel Articles
12 Tips to Hotel Bliss
Assateague Island National Seashore
Back To Barcelona
Bellagio of Las Vegas
Bonaire, Antilles
Cairo, Egypt
Cape Cod
Carcassonne, France
Carlsbad Caverns
Chateau de Chenonceau
Chincoteague, Virginia
Costa Blanca
Discovery Cove
Disney on Broadway
Disney's Magical Express
Disneyland Paris
Exploring Chicago's Museums
Flying Premium Economy
Geneva, Switzerland
Gloucester, Massachusetts
Grotte de Pech-Merle, France
Harvard University
Hastings, England
Hersheypark, Pennsylvania
Hever Castle
Hiroshima, Japan
Hong Kong Disneyland Celebrates
Kauai, Hawaii
Kennedy Space Center
Key West
Lake Constance, Switzerland
Lake Powell
Lake Thunersee, Switzerland
Learning the Language
London, England
Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania
Making Your Way by Ferry to the Magic in Disneyland Paris
Managing Memories
Miami, Florida
Montezuma Castle National Monument
Montserrat, Spain
More of Hilton Head Island
Mount Fuji & Hakone, Japan
My Quest for the West
New Orleans Revisited
Nikko, Japan
One Place is Never Enough!
Palacio Real
Palm Beach, Florida
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Portsmouth, England
Rocamadour, France
Seattle, Washington
Serendipity 3 in New York City
St. Paul's Cathedral, London
Star Wars in Concert
Taking to the Road
The 'Other' Jersey
The Billie Swamp Safari Park
The Egyptian Museum
The Gardens of Versailles
The Green Heart of the Big Apple
The Manatee Tour
The Palace of Versailles
The Pyramids of Giza
The Walt Disney Family Museum
Tired, Tried And True
Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo DisneySea
Tokyo, Japan
Traveling the Northern Oregon Coast
Valencia, Spain
Valley of Fire
Viewing Cities From Above
Visiting the French Alps
Willcox, Arizona
Wimbledon Tennis Museum
You Don't Have to Cruise to See Alaska
Zurich, Switzerland

View all PassPorter articles
Article Tools
Print Article
Download PDF
View Photos
Visit Forum
Read Comments on This Article

The Pyramids of Giza: Egypt's Wonders

International Travel photo
by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 04-14-2011

Cool Tip: Click here to get a FREE PDF version of this article, fully formatted to print and put into your PassPorter Deluxe Binder!

Filed in Articles > International Travel > General Travel  

Most people have heard of the Pyramids on the Giza Plateau, just outside Cairo in Egypt.

Definitely one of the world’s wonders, the Pyramids of Giza are one of those places you should try to visit if you can.

For as many years as I can remember, I’ve wanted to see the Great Pyramids for myself. I’ve been enchanted by the sheer size and scale of them and the fact that they were built thousands of years ago. Let’s be honest, if we wanted to build something like that today, it would be a huge struggle for us, even with all the technology we now possess. I can’t stop wondering how on earth it was possible to build such perfect pyramids five thousand years ago.

As we approached the first of the pyramids, the Great Pyramid, that sense of wonder became almost overwhelming. If I was hoping for some answers by seeing the pyramids close up, there were none to be had. If anything, they begged even more questions. No matter how many photos you’ve seen of these things, it doesn’t prepare you for just how big they are in reality. Each block has to be around four or five feet high, as I wasn’t much taller than one of them, when we approached them. They practically came up to my armpit, when I stood next to one and touched it. That was an amazing feeling and something I never expected to be able to do. I mean, surely you’d keep people far away from the pyramid to preserve it for future generations? Evidently not.

The Great Pyramid is otherwise known as Khufu’s Pyramid, as that was the pharaoh for whom it was built. As you’re probably aware, the pyramids were built to house the burial chambers of the kings. Sadly, the great show of strength by building a pyramid was like a magnet to grave robbers, showing them exactly where they should head. Eventually, pyramids would give way to tombs hidden away in mountains, to try and vainly provide extra protection for the jewels buried with the pharaoh.

Egypt - Sphinx, Giza pyramids, Cairo photo
Egypt - Sphinx, Giza pyramids, Cairo

The enigmatic Sphinx watching over the pyramids at Giza. - photo by chezp

The pyramid itself is estimated to contain around two million stones, weighing an average of two and a half tons. Some of the stones we were able to touch at the base, which were surprisingly smooth, weigh as much as 15 tons. It does make you wonder how on earth the workers were able to get them to the site all those years ago.

As if that wasn’t impressive enough, the Great Pyramid was the world’s tallest structure until the 19th century. The precision that went into it was quite something as well, with only four centimetres or two inches difference in each of the sides, that all measure 230 metres or 756 feet in length.

No-one knows whether there’s a greater meaning to the pyramids, but the three were built in almost perfect diagonal alignment, and some of the air shafts within them point towards important star constellations. How the ancient Egyptians could have possibly been able to construct them so perfectly is beyond me, and looking at the work that went into them, I couldn’t help but think that our theory of a little bit of help from some alien friends might hold some water!

We didn’t go into any of the pyramids, having heard various horror stories from a variety of people about how narrow and winding the tunnels were. Our guide was equally dismissive, explaining that of course, with the tombs ransacked millennia ago, there’s nothing to see inside. The entrance certainly looked small enough and that was enough to put us off completely!

With the sun starting to rise over the pyramids and the whole plateau rapidly warming, we set off for the second and third pyramids. We parked up close to the Pyramid of Menkaure, the last pyramid to be built here. It allowed us to get some close-up shots of both that and the Pyramid of Khafre behind. Despite everything I’d been told before coming here about the pyramids being surrounded by the rapidly encroaching city, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were in fact in a wonderful expanse of desert, with the Egyptian authorities obviously aiming to keep it that way – and rightly so.

The Pyramid of Khafre can easily be spotted from amongst the three, as it’s the only one to still have the limestone casing on the top of it. Originally, smooth limestone encased all three pyramids. We heard stories about what happened to that casing, ranging from weather erosion to theft by one of Egypt’s later rulers, Mohammed Ali, who is rumoured to have taken it for his mosque. Looking at it, whatever the reason is, it’s a shame that the casing is now gone, as it adds something to look of the pyramid. Although it looks larger than its Great Pyramid neighbour, a lot of that is to do with it having been built on higher ground, and it’s actually 15 metres or 60 feet shorter.

The last pyramid to be built was the Pyramid of Mekaure, and the first thing you notice is the size of this one. It’s a lot smaller, with the base area only about a quarter of the size of the other two. It’s also home to an ugly scar, which came about in the 12th century, when one of Egypt’s sultans tried to dismantle the pyramid. That was the only indentation that he managed to make on it, which is a real tribute to the craftsmanship that went into building this pyramid.

From here, it was back to the Great Pyramid, as located to the rear of it is the newest addition to Giza, the Solar Boat Museum. As the name suggests, this is home to a Solar Boat, one of the main artefacts that were placed with the pharaoh for their journey into the afterlife. It was found in the 1950s, and was put back together using only traditional ancient Egyptian material of wooden pegs and grass rope. That process took a total of 14 years! Marks on the boat suggest it had actually been sailed and may even have carried the body of Khufu. It’s a fascinating place and another glimpse into the wonders of ancient Egyptian engineering.

There’s one final element to the development on the Giza Plateau and one that everyone knows. Before coming to Egypt, I thought this was the only Sphinx, but I quickly learnt from the Egyptian Museum that this is the name for this type of animal, which can be found across the country. Of course, this is the most famous, although disappointingly, we weren’t able to get that close to it, which was a real shame. Even from a distance, it’s still impressive, standing guard as it does over all the pyramids.

Archaeologists reckon that the Sphinx dates from around 2,500BC, and that it was related to Khafre. Some even think it may be his face that the Sphinx was modeled on. We quickly learnt from our guide that the stories of its nose being shot off by Napoleon’s army is incorrect, as it’s believed it was lost well before the 15th century.

So did the pyramids live up to their billing as one of the world’s wonders? Despite the intense crowds here, and the hustlers determined to sell you something at any given opportunity, yes they did. You can’t fail to be moved by the sheer enormity of what you see, and the age of them. The pyramids are truly wonders, and something that everyone should see in their lives, if they get the opportunity.

Egypt - Giza Pyramids photo
Egypt - Giza Pyramids

The Pyramid of Khafre, the only one of the Giza Pyramids to still retain its limestone casing at the top that originally covered all three pyramids. - photo by chezp

About the Author:
Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

Related Links:
Serendipity 3 in New York City - A Dining Review last updated 12/29/2008
Hong Kong Disneyland Celebrates - A New Year In A New Disney Park last updated 12/18/2008
Valencia, Spain - Travel Tips last updated 11/27/2008
Bellagio of Las Vegas - Simply Bellissimo! last updated 1/08/2009
Hever Castle - Kent, England last updated 1/15/2009

Reader Comments:

View all comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)

Updated 04-14-2011 - Article #626 

Read additional articles from

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  



We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2014
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Globetrotting: General Travel Planning
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Planning a trip around the globe, or just away for the weekend? Ask questions and share experiences! Forum Sponsored by

Winnipeg, Canada
by Ashli
9 Dec 2014 at 2:51pm
Now that the draw for the Women's World Cup 2015 has happened, I know I'll be spending 7-10 days in Winnipeg next June. Anyone been there before and...
(click title above to view replies)

Does anyone take a vacation to somewhere just because flights are cheap?
by Huntermom
26 Nov 2014 at 8:40am
A client just told me she was able to get fares to INdia from Boston for $700./00 round trip. It makes me want to plan a ytrip even though I...
(click title above to view replies)

North West- any must see's or travel tips?
by B.M.
23 Nov 2014 at 1:40pm
This coming summer, we will be traveling to the North West. I've been planning this trip for quite some time.... and now the time has come to...
(click title above to view replies)

Should I consider it?
by Huntermom
19 Nov 2014 at 5:20pm
My brother in law will be speaking at a conference in China this year. My sister will be going along with him and they invited me to join them. I...
(click title above to view replies)

Total Visits: 4881

PassPorter ~ 1998-2014 ~ 16 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
News & Updates
Message Boards
Concierge Desk
Books & E-Books
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.