It was an extremely hot day when we ventured out Pyramid sighting in Egypt. Filling up on breakfast, ready to rock a day dedicated to one of the ancient wonders of the world. A task at hand and an hour’s drive to Giza on an early morning to beat the tourists is something that turned out to be a record breaker for our lazy-on-vacations family. We did it, anyway. Needless to say, it was worth every second we spent goggling at the massive triangular structures that stood before us, at a loss of words.
There might be reasons that one might not find them “pretty” or “beautiful” in the conventional sense, but the grandeur is something you cannot miss. It’s a wonder that the structure still holds, considering we are yet to figure out for sure how it was built. At that time, the people of Egypt were tinier than we have evolved to be, to imagine them hurling up these huge boulders and building something so improbable is one of the biggest mysteries we are still to crack open! You can read about them, watch countless videos or see numerous pictures, but when you stand before the Great Pyramid looking up to the peak that runs into the sky, there’s a rush of amazement that you seldom experience in a lifetime. I always thought it was smaller, for some reason, and just another extravagant burial chamber. It turned out to be much more than that, etched into an unforgettable memory of disbelief followed with amazement.
Considering that they date back to a little over 4500 years, it still towers above our modern-day structures in calculation and precision. Each piece of cut stone interlocked with one another, resulting in an extremely stable structure the secret to which is based purely on theories. Except for the King’s and the Queen’s chambers, it stands solid, with an estimated 2.3 million blocks of limestone the mass of which is estimated at 5.9 million tonnes. Our chatty guide Nadia from Visit Egypt was a blessing and kept our spirits high with an overload of information throughout the day. The story of the Great Pyramid runs on the lines of King Khufu’s obsession with life after death, like all Pharaohs of the time. He built a gleaming structure for himself and when built, the pyramid’s outer casing was done in polished limestone making it a shiny reflecting surface glittering under the strong Egyptian sun. Through the ages and wear and tear, only an example of the original casing survives at the base of the pyramid (and the tip of the Pyramid of Khafre – Khufu’s son – that is located right next to the Great Pyramid).
Curiosity and greed are the two primary vices that have led to the vandalism of the pyramids throughout Egypt and the Great Pyramid wasn’t spared. The modern-day entrance called the “Robber’s tunnel” is just below the original one, dug out by Abdullah al-Mamun in the mid-8th century. The surface made it impossible to locate the actual entrance to the King’s chamber. It is said that due to the difficulty of breaking through the hard rock, fires were built to heat the rocks, following it up with cold vinegar that weakened the structure, making it easier for battering rams to clear a tunnel. Doing so, a passageway was created to the lowest chamber and the tunnel followed back up to the main entrance. Sounds like a lot of work, but I’m sure the treasure would’ve been worth the efforts!
All in all, there’s only one regret – I wish I’d chosen closer to the winter to visit the pyramids to skip the heat as much as possible. But on the flip side, the swarms of tourists were absent, making it a private affair between us and the Pharaohs.
Pictures copyrighted to the author.