Wednesday, October 04, 2023

Israel/Egypt/Jordan 2023 - Day #8 - Sakkara Step Pyramid, Giza & the Sphinx

Sakkara Step Pyramid, Giza & the Sphinx

View Iconic Landmarks of Antiquity

Immerse yourself in the past with a visit to three of the most iconic landmarks of ancient Egypt.

Journey with your guide to the necropolis of Sakkara, believed to be the first pyramid built in ancient Egypt. Enter the complex via a narrow portal, part of a great wall that once surrounded the necropolis. Admire the enduring construction of the Step Pyramid, then step inside one of the tombs, some of which are decorated with the finest paintings from the Old Kingdom period. After lunch, you will travel to the Giza Plateau. There are many tombs here, but the most spectacular are the Great Pyramids of Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure, the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World remaining. Hear about their fascinating history from your guide. Then, proceed to view the famous Abu al-Hol, the Sphinx, erected here to guard the tombs and ward off tomb raiders and enemies of the pharaohs.
After very little sleep on Monday night, Sharon and I slept a little later on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. We eventually had breakfast at the hotel. The bus left for the excursion at 9 am. Given that the excursions include the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx, this is one of the days that I was most looking forward to on the trip.

The first stop was the Necropolis of Sakkara. It includes the Step Pyramid of Djoser; this is the oldest known complete stone building complex in history. It was built during the Third Dynasty, around 2630-2611 BC.

We got a chance to go down into the tomb of King Teti. This was billed as an opportunity to experience the inside of a pyramid. It required going down a narrow crawl space several stories. We also entered the tomb of Kagemni. This was above ground rather than underground.

We had a buffet lunch at the Steigenberger Pyramids Hotel. It has a great view of the new Grand Egyption Museum which is supposed to open soon. I thought that we were visiting the musuem next week, but apparently it is still not open. Our guide said that everyone says that it is "opening soon." The new museum looks spectacular and might be a reason to come back some day.

After lunch, we went to the Great Pyramids of Giza. They are only remaining one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that still exist. On our trip to Turkey and Greece last year, we are at the sites of three of the other six, including the Colossus of Rhodes, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and Temple of Artemis at Ephesus.

We stopped at the Great Pyramid of Khufu. It is the largest of the three pyramids and is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It is estimated to have been built over a period of 20 years using over 2 million limestone blocks.

After visiting the Great Pyramid of Khufum, we got a chance to take a short camel ride. This was mostly a photo opportunity.

The final stop was the Sphinx. The statue was carved out of a single piece of limestone. We got a chance to walk up close to the sculpture.

There was a group buffet dinner for the tour at the hotel. The Heringers, Gainsleys and Leclaires fihished the day with a nightcap at the Crowd Club nightclub in hotel. With an early morning planned for Thursday, Sharon and I crashed about 10:15 pm.

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