No visit to Cairo in Egypt would be complete without going to see the Great Pyramids. Although the Pyramid of Khufu is officially known as The Great Pyramid, the entire complex is often referred to as the Great Pyramids of Giza. The Pyramid of Khufu is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the World and also one of the most intact wonders and stands 481 feet tall (146.5 meters). There are actually six pyramids that make up the pyramid complex as well as the Great Sphynx. The Pyramid of Khafre still has the limestone covering at the top of the pyramid that would have covered all of the pyramids making their sides completely smooth as opposed to the exposed stones that are visible today.
The three large pyramids are certainly the focal point of the complex, but there are other interesting features of the site including pits where the remains of a ship were buried. It is important to understand that to the ancient Egyptians, because the sky was blue and water was blue, they believed that they needed to sail to the afterworld. It was an important connection to the Nile, which they relied on for there survival, and the world of the gods. The three smaller pyramids were for queens of the Pharaohs which serve as a reminder that the Egyptians had a high regard for women of royalty. Clearly, the Great Sphynx is also an important sight to see while spending time on the Giza plateau.
Because of its close proximity to Cairo, the pyramid complex is extremely busy with tourists, horse drawn carriages, camels, and people peddling trinkets. It is worth having a guide with you so that you can learn the historical facts regarding the pyramids, but it is a location that you can visit on your own. Riding a camel in the desert with the pyramids in the background is about as touristy as it gets, but is worth doing for that classic photo opportunity. Although fascinating, it only takes a couple of hours to fully see the Great Pyramids and the surrounding sights.
Clearly, seeing one of the Seven Wonders of the World is an incredible experience. Gazing up at the pyramids, seeing not only their height, but also the symmetry of their architecture has to make you marvel at the ingenuity of the people who built them over 4,500 years ago. In fact, the Great Pyramid was the largest man-made structure for over 3,800 years, truly an impressive feat.