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Great Pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza

Travel pictures from Egypt

by Dr. Günther Eichhorn


The Great Pyramids were built during the Old Kingdom. The biggest one, the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is the oldest one, and yet the only one still in existence. These pyramids are an awesome sight!

The largest of the Great Pyramids was built by the Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops) of the 4th Dynasty between 2589 - 2566 BCE. It is believed to have been built over 20 years. It was originally 145.75 m (478.18 ft) high. Over the years it lost 10 m (30 ft) off its top. It was the tallest man made structure for 4300 years. The Eiffel Tower was the first structure to surpass the Great Pyramid in height. The sides of all the pyramids were covered with a casing of white stones. It must have been an awesome sight, this huge white structure, gleaming in the sun.

The base is a square of 229 m (751 ft) on a side. The slope of the faces of the pyramid is 51°. The sides are aligned with the cardinal compass directions. The structure was build from about 2 million stone blocks, each weighing more than two tons. The area covered by the Great Pyramid can accommodate St. Peter's in Rome, the great cathedrals in Florence and Milan, and Westminster and St. Paul's in London combined.

The entrance to the burial chamber is on the north face. A number of corridors, galleries, and escape shafts are inside the pyramid. The Pharaoh's burial chamber was in the heart of the pyramid, accessible only through the Great Gallery and an ascending corridor. The Pharaoh's sarcophagus is made of red granite, the same material as the inner walls of the burial chamber.

Next to the pyramid was buried the Sun Boat. It was only discovered in 1954. It is believed to have carried the body of Khufu on his last journey on earth, before he was buried inside the pyramid.

The next smaller pyramid was build by the son of Khufu, Khafra (Chephren) around 2570 BCE. It is slightly smaller, but built on higher ground, so its top is higher than Khufu's. It was originally 143.5 m (470.8 ft) high, its present height is 136.4 m (447.5 ft). Its base was 215.25 m (706.20 ft) on a side. The angle of its faces was 53°. This pyramid still shows some of the casing at the top.

The third of the Great Pyramids is the Pyramid of Menkaure, son of Khafra. It was originally 66.45 m (218.01 ft) high. The angle of its faces was 51°. The length of the bases is 104.6 m (343.2 ft). It had a causeway approaching it that was 608 m (1,995 ft) long. It had several temple complexes around it, as well as three smaller Queen's pyramids. The Queen's pyramids were up to 28.4 m (93.2 ft) high, with bases between 31 m (102 ft) and 44 m (144 ft).

This Sphinx is the largest single sculpted statue in the world, carved directly from the rock of the plateau of Giza. It is 57 m (187 ft) long, and 20 m (70 ft) high. No one knows for certain when it was built. Based on the current head, many researchers have concluded that the Sphinx was built by the Pharaoh Khafra (Chephren) in the 4th Dynasty around 2500 BCE.

In the evening I went to a light show at the Great Sphinx. It was interesting to watch but a little kitschy.

The Great Pyramids and the Sphinx are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Memphis and its Necropolis.

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.

Great Pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza

View All Three
View of all three pyramids, with modern day Cairo in the background. (509k)
Full View Largest
Full view of the largest of the pyramids, the Pyramid of Khufu. (752k)
Queen's Pyramids Khufu
Queen's pyramids near the Khufu Pyramid. (701k)
Corner Pyramid Khufu
One corner of the Pyramid of Khufu. (780k)
Entrance Pyramid Khufu
Entrance to the Pyramid of Khufu. (552k)
North Face Pyramid
North face of the Pyramid of Khufu with the entrance. (772k)
Sun Over Pyramid
The sun over the Pyramid of Khufu. (640k)
Sun Over Pyramid
The sun over the Pyramid of Khufu. (303k)
Sun Top Pyramid
The sun at the top of the Pyramid of Khufu. (381k)
South-east Corner Pyramid
South-east corner of the Pyramid of Khufu. (696k)
North-east Corner Pyramid
North-east corner of the Pyramid of Khufu with a Queen's Pyramid behind it. (728k)
Great Sun Boat
The Great Sun Boat of the Pharaoh Khufu. (647k)
Great Sun Boat
The Great Sun Boat of the Pharaoh Khufu. (665k)
Great Sun Boat
The Great Sun Boat of the Pharaoh Khufu. (712k)
Great Sun Boat
The Great Sun Boat of the Pharaoh Khufu. (709k)
Sun Over Pyramid
The sun over the Pyramid of Khafra. (435k)
Sun Over Pyramid
The sun over the Pyramid of Khafra. (331k)
North-west Corner Pyramid
North-west corner of the Pyramid of Khafra. (710k)
Full View Pyramid
Full view of the Pyramid of Khafra. (648k)
Pyramid Khafra Foreground
The Pyramid of Khafra in the foreground, with the Pyramid of Khufu behind it. (644k)
Pyramid Khafra Camel
The Pyramid of Khafra, with a camel waiting for the next tourist going for a ride. (1008k)
West Face Pyramid
West face of the Pyramid of Menkaura. (502k)
Closer View West
Closer view of the west face of the Pyramid of Menkaura. (502k)
Queen's Pyramids Menkaura
Queen's Pyramids of Menkaura with Cairo in the background. (432k)
Three Queen's Pyramids
The three Queen's Pyramids of Menkaura. (552k)
Pyramid Menkaura Three
The Pyramid of Menkaura with its three Queen's Pyramids. (716k)
Temple Area South
Temple area south of the Pyramid of Khufu. (651k)
View Pyramid Menkaura
View of the Pyramid of Menkaura past the Pyramid of Khafra. (729k)
South Face Pyramid
South face of the Pyramid of Khafra. (975k)
South-west Corner Pyramid
South-west corner of the Pyramid of Khafra. (672k)
Great Sphinx Seen
The Great Sphinx, seen from the Great Pyramids. (925k)
Great Sphinx Pyramid
The Great Sphinx with the Pyramid of Khafra behind it. (466k)
Great Sphinx Pyramid
The Great Sphinx with the Pyramid of Khafra behind it. (360k)
Great Sphinx Large
The Great Sphinx with the large paws. The Pyramid of Khufu and two Queen's Pyramids in the background. (706k)
Great Sphinx Front
The Great Sphinx in front of the Pyramid of Khufu. (667k)
Close-up Great Sphinx
Close-up of the Great Sphinx, with the Pyramid of Khufu behind it. (720k)
Close-up Head Great
Close-up of the head of the Great Sphinx. (441k)
Close-up Head Great
Close-up of the head of the Great Sphinx. (402k)
Stone Walls Temple
Stone walls in the temple below the Great Sphinx with incredibly accurately shaped and set stones. (895k)
Temple Walls Temple
Temple walls in the temple below the Great Sphinx. The accuracy of the stone work is reminiscent of Inca walls in Cuzco, Perú. (772k)
Close-up Stone Work
Close-up of the stone work in the Sphinx Temple. (1156k)
Great Sphinx Front
The Great Sphinx in front of the Great Pyramids of Khufu (right) and Khafra (left). (622k)
Great Sphinx Front
The Great Sphinx in front of the Pyramid of Khafra. (531k)
Lights Pyramid Khufu
Lights on the Pyramid of Khufu. (618k)
Lights Pyramid Khufu
Lights on the Pyramid of Khufu. (670k)
Lights Pyramid Khafra
Lights on the Pyramid of Khafra. (527k)
Lights Pyramid Khafra
Lights on the Pyramid of Khafra, with the eyes of the Great Sphinx lit up. (489k)
Head Great Sphinx
The head of the Great Sphinx how it might have looked once. (449k)
Lights Head Great
Lights on the head of the Great Sphinx. (440k)
Lights Great Sphinx
Lights on the Great Sphinx and the Pyramid of Khafra. (584k)
Lights Great Sphinx
Lights on the Great Sphinx and the Pyramid of Khafra. (558k)
Lights Great Sphinx
Lights on the Great Sphinx and the Pyramid of Khafra. (567k)
Close-up Stone Blocks
Close-up of the stone blocks making up the pyramids. (657k)

This page contains 53 pictures

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Birds in Egypt
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Egypt
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Mythology
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Page last updated on Tue Jul 2 16:18:16 2019 (Mountain Standard Time)


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