Giza, the third-largest city in Egypt, is an ancient wonder of the world, a testament to human ingenuity and a beacon of history and culture that draws visitors from all corners of the globe.
Situated on the west bank of the Nile, near Cairo, Giza is home to some of the most iconic structures in the world, including the majestic Pyramids of Giza and the enigmatic Sphinx.
The Pyramids of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Khufu
As you step onto the Giza Plateau, the first sight to greet you will be the grandeur of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the largest of the three main pyramids. This pyramid, a remarkable feat of ancient engineering, stands as the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was built for Pharaoh Khufu, a ruler of Egypt’s Old Kingdom, and its construction remains a mystery that continues to intrigue historians and archaeologists today.
The Great Pyramid, reaching a height of 146.6 meters, was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years. Its grand gallery, the King’s Chamber, and the intricate inner passages offer a thrilling experience for history enthusiasts. However, bear in mind that entering the pyramid requires an additional fee to the entrance ticket of the Giza Pyramid Complex.
The Pyramid of Khafre
The Pyramid of Khafre, the second largest of the Giza pyramids, is a short walk from the Great Pyramid. This pyramid, with its complex network of passageways and chambers, was built for Pharaoh Khafre, Khufu’s successor. The Pyramid of Khafre retains some of its original polished limestone casing at the top, which once covered all three pyramids, giving them a gleaming finish in the Egyptian sun.
The Pyramid of Menkaure
The smallest of the three pyramids, the Pyramid of Menkaure, is no less impressive. Constructed for Pharaoh Menkaure, this pyramid, although smaller in scale, mirrors the grandeur and intricacy of its larger counterparts. The Pyramid of Menkaure, surrounded by three smaller subsidiary pyramids, completes the trio of large pyramids at Giza.
The Great Sphinx of Giza
Guarding the Giza Plateau is the Great Sphinx, a limestone statue with the body of a lion and the head of a human, believed to represent Pharaoh Khafre. The Sphinx, with its enigmatic gaze, has been a symbol of Egypt for thousands of years. The Sphinx is a must-visit spot in Giza, and you can enjoy a closer look at this colossal statue with an additional fee to your Giza entrance ticket.
The Giza Solar Boat Museum
The Giza Solar Boat Museum, located near the Great Pyramid, houses the reconstructed Khufu solar ship. This museum is a testament to the ancient Egyptians’ intricate knowledge of shipbuilding. The solar ship, believed to have been used to carry Pharaoh Khufu’s body to his final resting place, offers a fascinating insight into the funerary customs of the Old Kingdom.
The Giza Plateau
The Giza Plateau, with its panoramic views, offers visitors an unforgettable experience. Here, you can take a camel ride around the pyramids, a popular and fun way to explore the area. The plateau is also home to several smaller pyramids, known as Queen’s Pyramids, tombs of nobles, and the workers’ village, which provides a glimpse into the lives of the people who built these monumental structures.
The Sound and Light Show
As the day draws to a close, the Giza Plateau transforms into a spectacular stage for the Sound and Light Show. This show, narrated in the voice of the Sphinx, tells the story of the pyramids and their builders. The pyramids and the Sphinx are illuminated with colorful lights, bringing the ancient world to life in a breathtaking display. The Sound and Light Show is a must-see attraction in Giza, offering a captivating blend of history and entertainment.
While Giza is undoubtedly famous for its pyramids and the Sphinx, this city has more to offer. The Giza Governorate is a cultural hub, home to several museums, art centers, and traditional markets. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a food lover, or a culture vulture, Giza has something for everyone. In the next section, we’ll explore some of the lesser-known but equally fascinating attractions in Giza.
Wissa Wassef Art Centre
A visit to the Wissa Wassef Art Centre is a refreshing detour from the historical tour of Giza. This art centre, located in the Giza Governorate, is a testament to the thriving contemporary art scene in Egypt. Here, you can explore a rich collection of tapestries, ceramics, and other artwork, all created by local artists. The Wissa Wassef Art Centre is a vibrant celebration of Egyptian art and culture, and a visit here offers a deeper understanding of Egypt’s creative spirit.
The Grand Egyptian Museum
The Grand Egyptian Museum, scheduled to open soon, will be one of the largest archaeological museums in the world. Located near the Giza Plateau, this museum will house a vast collection of artifacts from ancient Egypt, including the complete Tutankhamun collection. Although the museum is not yet open to the public, it’s a promising addition to Giza’s cultural landscape and a must-visit for future trips.
Marriott Mena House
For a taste of luxury in Giza, consider a stay or a meal at the Marriott Mena House. This historic hotel, nestled in the shadow of the Pyramids, offers a unique blend of modern luxury and historical charm. With its lush gardens, exquisite dining options, and stunning views of the Pyramids, the Marriott Mena House is an oasis of comfort in Giza.
No trip to Giza would be complete without indulging in the local cuisine. Egyptian food is a delicious blend of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors, with dishes like koshari, falafel, and molokhia. You can find a variety of dining options in Giza, from street food stalls to upscale restaurants. Don’t miss the chance to try traditional Egyptian tea and desserts for a sweet end to your meal.
Planning Your Visit
When to Visit
Giza, like the rest of Egypt, experiences hot summers and mild winters. The summer months, from May to August, can be quite hot, with temperatures often rising above 40°C. The winter months, from November to February, are much more pleasant, with daytime temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C.
Booking and Fees
Entrance tickets to the Giza Pyramid Complex can be purchased at the ticket office near the Sphinx. Tickets include access to the plateau and the pyramids’ exteriors. Additional fees apply for entering the pyramids and the Solar Boat Museum. It’s advisable to check the latest prices and opening hours before your visit.
A variety of tours are available in Giza, from half-day tours of the Pyramids and the Sphinx to full-day tours that include the Solar Boat Museum and other attractions. Tours can be a great way to explore Giza, especially for first-time visitors. They often include transportation, a guide, and sometimes meals.
Giza, with its ancient pyramids, rich history, and vibrant culture, is a destination like no other. From the awe-inspiring Great Pyramid of Khufu to the enigmatic Great Sphinx of Giza, from the bustling local markets to the tranquil Wissa Wassef Art Centre, Giza offers a myriad of experiences to its visitors. Whether you’re riding a camel across the Giza Plateau, exploring the intricate passageways of the pyramids, or savouring a cup of traditional Egyptian tea, your trip to Giza is bound to be an unforgettable journey into the heart of Egypt’s history and culture.
FAQ about What To Do In Giza
What activities can one engage in at the Great Pyramid of Giza?
At the Great Pyramid of Giza, visitors can delve into the rich history of ancient Egypt by exploring the pyramid’s exterior and, for an additional fee, its intricate interior chambers. A visit to the Panoramic Point for a stunning view of the Giza Pyramid Complex and a photo opportunity with the Great Sphinx are also popular activities.
Why are the pyramids a popular tourist destination?
The Egyptian pyramids, particularly those at Giza, captivate visitors with their architectural grandeur and the mystique of their ancient history. Even after thousands of years, they offer a fascinating insight into one of the world’s richest civilizations.
What makes the Great Pyramid of Giza unique?
The Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest and largest pyramid at the Giza Necropolis, is unique as it is the last surviving structure of the original Seven Wonders of the World. Additionally, it serves as the final resting place of King Khufu.
What is the recommended itinerary for a visit to the Pyramids of Giza?
Visitors to the Pyramids of Giza should plan for at least three hours to fully experience the site. This allows time to explore the interior of one of the pyramids, take in the panoramic view of the complex, and visit the iconic Great Sphinx.
How long does it take to explore the Pyramid of Giza?
A comprehensive tour of the Pyramid of Giza, including exploring its interior, typically takes around eight hours. This allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the rich history and architectural brilliance of the site.
Is a single day sufficient to explore the Pyramids of Giza?
A single day in Cairo allows for a visit to both the Giza pyramid complex and the Egyptian Museum, offering a taste of the city’s rich historical and cultural offerings. However, the experience often leaves visitors eager to return for more.
Can visitors climb the Great Pyramid of Giza?
Although tourists were once able to climb the pyramids, this practice is now illegal due to conservation efforts. Visitors can, however, explore the interiors of the pyramids with the purchase of a separate ticket.
What are some intriguing facts about the Great Pyramid?
The Great Pyramid of Giza holds several fascinating secrets. Its smooth and angled sides symbolize the sun’s rays, it was built with a special type of mortar, and it contains secret doors inside. Interestingly, it was constructed over 1,200 years before King Tut’s rule by the Egyptian people.
What are some of the activities one can do at the pyramids?
Visitors to the pyramids can explore the pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure, venture inside one of the pyramids, visit the Valley Temple, and watch the captivating Sound and Light Show. A photo with the Great Sphinx is also a must-do activity.
Why are visitors not allowed inside the pyramids?
The interiors of the pyramids were sealed by the Ancient Egyptians, and the Egyptian Government now restricts access to preserve these historical structures from potential damage.
What should one do when visiting the pyramids in Egypt?
When visiting the pyramids in Egypt, one should plan to spend at least three hours exploring the site, which includes going inside one of the pyramids, visiting the Panoramic Point, and taking a photo with the Great Sphinx.
How can one spend a day in Giza?
A day in Giza can be well spent by dedicating at least three hours to explore the Pyramids of Giza, and then visiting the Egyptian Museum. This itinerary offers a comprehensive experience of Cairo’s historical and cultural richness.
What makes the Giza pyramids special?
The Giza pyramids, particularly the Great Pyramid of Giza, are special due to their historical significance as the final resting places of ancient pharaohs and their architectural brilliance. The Great Pyramid is also the oldest and largest pyramid at Giza.
How much time should one allocate for a visit to Giza?
A visit to Giza should ideally include at least three hours at the Pyramids of Giza to explore one of the pyramids, visit the Panoramic Point, and take a photo with the Great Sphinx. A visit to the Egyptian Museum can round out a full day of exploration.
What activities are available at the pyramids?
Activities at the pyramids include exploring the pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure, venturing inside one of the pyramids, visiting the Panoramic Point, taking a photo with the Great Sphinx, and watching the Sound and Light Show.
How much time is needed to explore Giza?
To leisurely explore the Giza Complex, visitors should plan for at least 4–5 hours. This allows ample time to appreciate the architectural grandeur and historical significance of the site.
How should one spend a day at Giza?
A day at Giza should ideally include at least three hours at the Pyramids of Giza for exploration, a visit to the Panoramic Point, and a photo opportunity at the Great Sphinx. A visit to the Egyptian Museum can complete a fulfilling day of historical and cultural immersion.
Can tourists explore the interiors of the pyramids of Egypt?
Yes, the interiors of the three pyramids at Giza are open to tourists. However, each requires the purchase of a separate ticket. It’s important to note that climbing the pyramids is now illegal due to preservation efforts.