Egypt
Giza

Here you’ll find travel reports about Giza. Discover travel destinations in Egypt of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

25 travelers at this place:

  • Day3

    The Great Pyramids of Giza

    December 26, 2016 in Egypt

    After an almost 24 hour journey, we made it to Egypt to take part in a 9 day tour of this ancient world! We knew we couldn't and probably shouldn't take on the task of navigating through this country like we had done in our past trip so a guided tour was the best option.

    We started in Cairo which is a very busy and dirty city but quickly found our way to the surrounding areas of Saqqara and Giza to see the great pyramids! At Saqqara we saw the first ever pyramid to be built as a burial site for one of Egypt's kings in 2,740 BC, almost 5,000 years ago!! Not only did we get to see this engineering marvel from outside but as well got a glimpse of the pyramids from the inside as well.

    If that wasn't enough our next stop was the most popular site of pyramids at Giza where the Egyptians perfected the pyramid shape taking 23 years to build using around 2.2 million bricks with weights ranging from 2 tons to 20 tons for the Great Pyramid alone! We got some magnificent views of one of the seven wonders in the world on our camel ride where we definitely popped out the selfie stick to capture the moment!

    Our last stop was to see the Spinx which was carved out of one rock and represented the depiction of the king in the eternal afterlife which impressed us as well.

    After the first day we knew we'd be in for a treat on this trip as we make stops across Egypt admiring and trying to wrap our minds around this ancient civilization that put thought, meaning and scale into everything they created!
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  • Day15

    To Cairo

    July 14, 2017 in Egypt

    Today was primarily a travel day. We woke up at 6 after only 5 short hours of sleep from the night before. We said our goodbyes to the other divers over breakfast and then took off on our 3 hour transfer to Hurghada airport. The Red Sea was in view almost the whole drive; other than that, there were multiple unfinished buildings that sporadically dotted the desert landscape.

    While there are lanes on Egyptian roads, they're regarded only as suggestions. Our driver spent a lot of time driving in the left lane, and only cutting over to the right lane to avoid oncoming traffic. Fortunately the van's ceilings were high because he rarely slowed for bumps which would send us up in our seats. Nico's phone once flew out of his hand on one such bump. Needless to say, we didn't get to catch up on sleep on the drive.

    When we arrived at the airport, we said goodbye to our fellow diving friends from Denmark and Germany who were dropped off at the international terminal before we were taken to the other terminal. Our terminal was eerily quiet (it was the same one we arrived in) with only a few airport staff and security lingering around. To our surprise, we were denied entry and told that we needed to go to the other terminal by taxi. When we pointed to a sign that read "Free shuttle bus between terminals" he shook his head no and said "taxi!"

    We proceeded to the lower level where we found a taxi driver who wanted to charge us 20€ to get back to the other terminal. As we were walking away, we haggled a lower price down to $5, but it was still too much for the distance. We would have walked, but there was no easy pedestrian access (perhaps by design - taxi drivers need work) and in the 40C heat, it wouldn't have been pleasant. Once aboard the plane, we fell fast asleep on the short flight to Cairo.

    Our drive to the hotel in Cairo was just as exciting, or possibly more so, than the drive earlier that morning because of the additional traffic and lack of lane compliance. We fit between spaces that didn't seem possible and somehow made it safely to the hotel. It reminded us of the taxi ride in Jakarta and we were happy to have arrived at our cocoon in the chaotic city. We had a great view over the Nile river from our room.

    We ventured a short distance out of the hotel for dinner at a quaint little pasta shop in the 26th of July district. Crossing the street was a fun challenge. We also noticed several youths riding bikes without a front tire. It was an early bedtime for an early tour start to see the pyramids the next day.
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  • Day16

    Cairo / Giza

    July 15, 2017 in Egypt

    Warning that this is a very long post. We wanted to include enough historical context to remember how fascinating it was to revisit high school history class experientially.

    We woke up early to grab breakfast, pack up, and check out of the hotel before our pyramids tour. We grabbed a taxi to a nearby hotel where the tour would begin. We happened to be the only ones on the tour so we set off right away to get to the pyramids in time for opening time at 8. Mahmoud, our guide, explained that we would be using a side gate to avoid the crowded main entrance and would get to experience the pyramids alone, at least for a little.

    The pyramids were built to house the body of the Pharaohs and their treasures so that the soul could rejoin the body in the after life. The pyramids at Giza were part of the oldest era. After the tombs were frequently robbed post-mortem, the burial for Pharaohs thereafter was moved underground to the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. The majority of those were also robbed, but some remained undiscovered - more on that later. The Great Pyramid is the only remaining of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. It's still unknown exactly how the Egyptians had the technology to build such structures. If it were to be deconstructed, the stones could form a 2 meter high wall around the perimeter of France - that's absolutely mind-boggling.

    We started with a view of the 3 main pyramids and the Sphinx. The only other people were vendors and camel keepers getting ready for a long, hot day. Even at 8, the temperature was already at 35C. We chose an 'adventure' tour, of course, which would include walking from the Sphinx to the main entrance by the Great Pyramid. It wasn't a great distance, but the heat and flies made it seem long enough.

    Mahmoud insisted that we take a typical tourist shot kissing the Sphinx so Brittany continued with the Egyptian tourist photo ways. We really did have the place to ourselves until other tourists began to trickle in as we neared the main entrance. We were going to go inside the Great Pyramid, but it was already very crowded by the time we reached the main entrance to buy tickets, so we decided to try the smallest pyramid instead.

    Our tour bus took us to the panorama plateau where one could capture the 3 pyramids together. A dusty layer of fog sat low in the sky that made the city behind the pyramids vanish, making it even more surreal. Even with the multiple tourists, taking more touristy photos, it was great way to take in one of our world's greatest wonders.

    The smallest pyramid, fortunately, was a lot less busy and we got the experience of going inside the inner chambers to ourselves. Our guide had taught us how to say thank you in Arabic ('shokran') and it was helpful in politely declining the tacky souvenirs and pushy salesmen that we encountered multiple times.

    Not wanting to participate in camel riding, our tour of the pyramids ended a bit early. As part of the tour, we were to experience Koshary, a typical Egyptian meal. However, Mahmoud felt it was too early at 1030 since it was typically eaten at lunch time (which is at 5, our dinner time) so he offered falafel sandwiches for breakfast (lunch). We weren't yet hungry so we visited a "proper" papyrus shop first.

    In the papyrus shop, we were shown how paper from the plant was made and how durable it is - durable enough to have survived for 1000's of years. They had beautiful artwork on the papyrus that was available for purchase. We chose to get one with the Egyptian calendar and one with Bastet, goddess in the form of a cat.

    Since we were the only ones on the tour and had mentioned interest in going to the Egyptian museum, Mahmoud offered to continue as our guide. We asked to combine it with a visit to one of the city's great mosques and a walk through the historic market (Bazaar). We took him up on his offer since he was very knowledgeable and $50 for a private tour and driver was quite reasonable. Lunch was a bowl of Koshary, and rice pudding for dessert, all for around $1.

    After lunch, we were off to the Egyptian museum. We started off with a discussion about the Rosetta Stone - the real one is located in London, so a replica was displayed at the museum entrance given the historical significance. For the majority of AD history, very little was known about the meaning of the Egyptian artifacts due to a lack of understanding of hieroglyphics. The Rosetta Stone, found in Luxor, contained the same text in 3 languages, including Greek from the time when Alexander the Great ruled Egypt after the last great Pharaohs. This provided the key to deciphering the meaning of the wonders of ancient Egypt, including their writing and calendar.

    As was mentioned before, most artifacts from their Pharaoh burial sites were stolen over the succeeding millennia. But one site was only partially robbed, and the sarcophagus was completely untouched. In 1920, the tomb of the child Pharaoh Tutankhamun was excavated in what was the greatest archaeological discovery in history. For context, Tutankhamun only ruled for a decade, and was not known as one of the great rulers, but the vast collection is preserved in the museum covering a large part of the second floor. Included in this collection were chairs, chariots, sandals, and games made out of pure gold, precious stones and other exquisite materials. The attention to detail in these artifacts was immaculate, and would be considered high quality even by today's standards. We'd have to keep reminding ourselves that these artifacts are over 3000 years old. The highlights of the collection were the 11 kg golden mask and the multiple sarcophagus shells within which the king laid. It was absolutely unreal to get this much insight into this ancient civilization: their writing, arts, crafts​, calendars, deities, enemies, and everyday life. Even those not into history (Brittany...) are left in awe.

    Next up, fast forward a few millennia to the Islamic history of Egypt. After the Greco-Roman and Byzantine periods, Egypt was "islamized" in the 7th century by crusaders from nearby Saudi Arabia. In 18th century, the French invaded Egypt. The Independence movement was led by Muhammed Ali, who later ruled the country. A great mosque was built in his honor, on the hill overlooking all of Cairo, in an area known as the city of the dead where the extremely poor live atop buried Muslims' tombs; acting as caretakers of the deceased. Our guide Mahmoud is Muslim and was willing to teach us about the history and principles (known as the 5 pillars) of Islam. The mosque itself was quite beautiful, with a large courtyard area, two tall minarets (towers), and a vast interior under the domes decorated with various scriptures from the Qur'an. It also contains the tomb of Muhammed Ali himself. It was quite interesting to learn more about this religion firsthand.

    Our last stop was the market, aka Bazaar, located within the old city walls. We visited another mosque, much older and built in a different architectural style, and walked through the narrow streets and alleys where almost anything could be bought. At this point, after having spent several hours outside in 105 deg F weather, we were happy to settle for some cold waters and get picked up by the van.

    We picked up our luggage, got a ride to our hotel by the airport, and then jumped in the pool just before sunset to wash off the filth and sweat accumulated throughout the day. It was a jam-packed 10 hours of touring around the city, but well worth it for the amazing history.
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  • Day35

    Giza Pyramids & Sphinx

    June 13, 2015 in Egypt

    Where do I even start? Today exceeded every expectation I had! It would hands down be the best day I have had on this holiday. We went to see the Pyramids and Sphinx in Giza, we went on the 'panoramic camel tour' so that we could see all three pyramids! My camel's name was Daisy and to start off we were linked together, by the end I was in control of her - I knew how to make her turn left and right, stop, walk and the best command of all was run. The pyramids
    were huge, we got to go inside of the smallest one where we had to crouch over and walk up about 45m to get inside. I just can't get over the fact that the Khufu Pyramid was opened in 2560BC and it took 100,000 men 30 years to build. It is the largest and oldest pyramid in the world, the base is 230m wide.

    After the pyramids we went to see the Sphinx it was crazy to see, it kinda didn't feel like I was actually there. It was huge, a lot bigger than I expected. It blows my mind to think how many men and how many years went in to building the Sphinx and Pyramids.
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  • Day35

    Thousand and One Night

    June 13, 2015 in Egypt

    I didn't have high expectations for this place, but it was great! It is a perfumery but instead of mixing the flower's oils with alcohol to make a spray they leave it as a concentrate. The perfumes smelt incredible and I ended up spending quite a bit of money there, but I now have Egyptian perfume!

    While we were there we enjoyed Turkish coffee and the others had Shisha. It has such a chilled atmosphere, none of us wanted to leave!Read more

  • Day197

    Upper Egypt (Part I)

    June 13, 2016 in Egypt

    (This post exceeded the length allowed by the FindPenguins website, so it is split into two!)

    Wow! Where to even start? Egypt has been amazing. Each day we have been awe-struck by the artifacts and history. The museum on our first day was spectacular, but being at the actual sites has been indescribable. Everything we learned about in school became so real and personalized. We have had excellent guides from Egypt Tailor Made as well: Mido in Cairo and Hassan in Luxor. They are both university-educated Egyptologists and strived to ensure that we actually understood what we were looking at. Hassan even taught us how to read some hieroglyphics as well as how to interpret many of the murals and images we were seeing in carvings and paintings on the walls. We can't even begin to put into writing everything we saw and learned, but we'll give it a shot. Also, we unfortunately are still having problems getting photos from the camera to the internet so we may not have any or many photos to add until we get home. We take a few with Nick's cell phone but hopefully the DSLR pics can be added when we have a computer.

    On our second day in Cairo we visited what some would consider the main sites: the pyramids and the Great Sphinx. (Little did we know that the splendor and history in the Luxor area would top even these sites that are most commonly associated with Egypt.) Our day started off with a visit to the first pyramid built from this time period, the step pyramid. It is almost 5000 years old and in surprisingly good condition. As it was the first of this trend, it isn't technically a true pyramid; instead of straight sides there are six platforms (or steps) stacked atop one another to form a pyramid-like shape. It was obvious that this was part of the same movement of pyramid burials but from before the art was perfected. It should also be noted that originally all of the structures seen on this day were originally covered in smooth, polished stone which has since eroded away in the intervening years. Rachel especially was blown away picturing what these buildings would have looked like at the time they were built during the Old Kingdom.

    Our second stop was another snapshot of pyramid development. We saw both the bent pyramid and the red pyramid (the first true pyramid). These were both built for the same pharoah, but the angle of the sides was changed midway through building the bent pyramid due to stability concerns, thus the pharoah ordered a separate pyramid to be built for his burial. Ironically, the bent pyramid is in better condition on the outside than the red pyramid, so the pharaoh's fears about his eternal house collapsing were unfounded, at least thus far. We got to go into the red pyramid to see the burial chambers which were empty but very cool nonetheless. We climbed up the outside of the pyramid and then entered a tunnel about a third of the way up. This tunnel was a steady downhill slope into the bottom center of the pyramid, maybe lower (we couldn't really tell how far down it was). The tunnel was not very large so, though we could walk and not crawl, even the shortest of us were hunched over. The rooms were quite tall and one even had an elevated door so stairs (or, prior, a ladder) would have been required to get into the pharaoh's actual burial chamber. It was cool to have been inside a pyramid and definitely worth it, but it was a shame to not be able to see it in its splendor. These Old Kingdom tombs were actually robbed by later ancient Egyptians to utilize the riches for later pharoahs and nobles. Being so close to Cairo, the pyramids were never "rediscovered" as many ruins are; they were always visible and always known to locals, but without any wall carvings, murals, or other artifacts there was little reason to explore and/or preserve them. Still amazing, but it might have felt like a letdown if we hadn't already seen many relics in the museum the prior day.

    We then went to see the Great Pyramid and the other eight pyramids that are basically part of the same complex (though for different, successive pharoahs as well as some Queens). This is the typical image of Egypt with the three large pyramids seemingly in a row. We didn't go inside here but understand it is the same as the red pyramid, so the extra fee didn't seem necessary (not to mention all of us had sore legs from the first climb and were starting to melt a little in the heat). After taking plenty of pictures and pausing for the vendors and our guide to have midday prayer (it happens to be Ramadan, though it is possible the same would have been true if it weren't Ramadan), we rode camels to the Great Sphinx! We each rode our own one-humped camel and Nick was even brave enough to take the reins. Rachel did for a short time as well, but she was too in awe of the pyramids so handed the reins back to the guide in order to take in the views. Rachel's camel was called Gaedo and was well-behaved. Nick, ironically because he is allergic to them, had a camel named Banana who kept trying to infringe on Linda's camel's space. We rode for an hour, stopping for pictures, before arriving at the Sphinx and meeting our regular guide. Rachel was very moved by the Sphinx, and not just because of its feline form and its resemblance to Lola. Something about seeing it in person, the details, the history, the excitement - it was a significant moment, and it was hard to tear herself away from the Sphinx. (If only she had known how cool Luxor is - not to insult the Sphinx, but much more time could have been spent examining the details in Luxor and less in Cairo. Luxor can be overwhelming with detail, beauty, and significance.)
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  • Day33

    Day 32: Southwest to Bawiti

    April 6, 2011 in Egypt

    Long day of driving today, as we drove south from Alexandria, past the outskirts of western Cairo, and then southwest into the deserts that make up most of Egypt. Arrived into the town of Bawiti near Bahariya Oasis in the late afternoon, didn't have much time for sight-seeing unfortunately though we managed to find a nearby store selling beers and had a few sundowners on the rooftop. Unfortunately the hotel managers found this incredibly offensive (they were strict Muslims and would've stopped us bringing in alcohol if they'd noticed), so we got in a bit of trouble. Whoops :(Read more

  • Day13

    Pyramiden bei Nacht

    March 8 in Egypt

    Zurück im Hotel erkunden wir den Pool und die Poolbar, wo wir eine (mehr oder weniger) leckere Pizza zum Mittagessen genießen. Den Rest des Tages verbummeln wir mit Koffer packen.
    Und zum Abschluss machen die tatsächlich noch das, worauf wir schon die ganze Woche warten: scheinbar nur für uns geht das Licht an und wir genießen die Pyramiden hell erleuchtet von unserem Balkon aus. Was für ein schöner Abend 😍

    Im Flugzeug erzählte uns dann noch ein Mitreisender, daß es tatsächlich ein Konzert mit Besuch des Staatspräsidenten war....
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  • Day11

    Nach der eindrucksvollen Barke geht es weiter auf den Aussichtspunkt, von dem man alle Pyramiden von Gizeh im Blick hat: Cheops, Chephren und Mykerinos. Die Pyramide von Mykerinos ist mit 62 Metern, die kleinste Pyramide. Neben der Mykerinos-Pyramide sind noch 3 kleine unvollendete Pyramiden, die vermutlich der königlichen Familie zugedacht war.

  • Day1

    Marriot Hotel

    February 24 in Egypt

    Quer durch den Moloch Kairo geht es zu unserem Hotel auf der größten Nilinsel, Gezira. Den Nilblick werden wir morgen sicherlich noch etwas besser bei Tageslicht genießen können. Jetzt sind wir erstmal ziemlich kaputt.
    Nach einem entspannten späten Abendessen auf unsere Balkon - Room Service ist schon fein - geht's ab ins Bett.

    Bei Tageslicht ist der Nilblick ein bisschen besser 😉

You might also know this place by the following names:

Muḩāfaz̧at al Jīzah, Muhafazat al Jizah, Giza

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