Cairo City, the Nile and the Giza Pyramid Complex
It was a rainy March in Ireland as I was getting ready for an adventure to Egypt. The weather forecast said it will be spring with +23 degrees there, but immediately after landing I will realise it was wrong. I chose a beautiful resort in Sharm El Sheikh, located on the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula, which is surrounded by the desert and the Red Sea. The resort town is very well known by tourists, especially divers - it is famous for rich marine life and beautiful coral reef areas. As soon as I landed, I was greeted with sunshine and summer heat, over 30 degrees.
Once at the resort, I booked my adventure to Cairo via local travel agency. I highly recommend booking your Giza Plateau trip at your hotel or with a trusted travel agent to avoid disappointment. Some offer tours with a long bus trip, others - via plane; and I picked the latter. The flight takes only 30 minutes and you will be picked up by your tour guide at the airport. While you will have plenty of time to explore the pyramids and return to your resort town the same evening - spending a day or two more will be more relaxing and interesting, so you can organise the Nile river cruise and enjoy the city, local cuisine.
The Cairo city is located on the Nile River and with the metropolitan population of over 20 million, it is one of the largest cities in the continent. At the very heart of the city, there is a busy main square - Tahrir and the National Museum just a walking distance away, with an extensive collection of ancient artifacts.
Journey to eternal life
It made sense to visit the National museum before heading off to the Giza Plateau - the museum and exhibitions are huge, plenty of world-famous ancient artefacts to explore. Perhaps one of the most famous ones - Tutankhamen’s tomb contents, his funerary mask. There is also a mummy room where you will see Egyptian pharaohs like Ramesses or Hatshepsut, the queen. You will be guided through the process of mummification, the jewellery, pharaoh tools, food bowls and even figurines of their servants, that accompanied the royals on their journey to the after life. It was believed in Ancient Egypt, that death was a transformation into eternal life. And, as researchers say, they have achieved immortality - we pronounce their names, see details of their daily life, thousands of years after.
After the museum, it was finally time to visit the pyramids. Left the city centre and soon we were able to see the main pyramid on the horizon - here it was, the last intact structure of the Seven Wonders of the World - the Great Pyramid of Giza. Who built it? How long did it take to build such a huge pyramid with ancient tools? “No, it was not aliens” - Our tour guide smiled and informed immediately.
While still many questions remain, on how exactly the pyramids were built, researchers state that it took around 70 years and tens of thousands of workers. The pyramids were tombs for the following kings, built for three generations: Khufu, the oldest one (pyramid built around 2580 BC), was the father of Khafre (built around 2570 BC); Khafre was the father of Menkaure (built around 2510 BC). Close to the pyramids, you will see the Sphinx - a majestic guardian of the pyramids. Undoubtedly the most fascinating part of the trip was going into the chambers and tunnels. Unfortunately, tourists were not allowed to take pictures inside.
It was the Nile, who gave Ancient Egyptians fertile land and it is believed that each stone was delivered to the pyramids using the river and a system of canals. A Nile river cruise with Cairo city views was the perfect, relaxing way to finish the tour. But adventure did not end here. On the way back to Dublin, at the Sharm El Sheikh airport, I had a chance to experience an exotic event - a desert sand storm. Flights were cancelled for all the day and we were locked at the airport with nothing more than a flying sand views. To sum up, it was a fantastic trip - full of diving coral reefs, exploring ancient history and encountering the forces of nature.