Sunday, February 14, 2010

"Man fears time; time fears the Pyramids".-Arab Proverb

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The Pyramids of Giza need no introduction. They were magnificent in the ingenuity, breathtaking in the sheer size, and a testament to man's talent!
When I first saw the Pyramids, I just wanted to stand (in the shade) and basque in their glory yet every time I tried to take a moment to gaze at them or admire the architecture, one of the many aggressive local peddler would try to sell me over-priced post cards or "Egyptian" pens. It truly robbed the experience of some of it's poignancy. Our tour-guide made sure to mention that the pyramids were built by laborers not Jewish slaves. I did some fact checking and history and Egyptologists prove that this is correct. Only a few additional points to make on Giza: Go earlier in the day before it gets to hot. I got a mighty sunburn as a reminder of how long it's been since my ancestors were stolen from Africa. Also, don't stop and talk to anyone, man or child, that tries to sell you something- just don't. They are extremely pushy.

The Sphinx is  very close to the Pyramids. It's much smaller in person than I thought it'd be but still beautiful to see in person. The beard, nose, and snake crown were not shot of by Napoleon as rumored but used as target practice by Mamluk's (slave soldiers) of later dynasty. Descriptions of the Sphinx before the arrival of Napoleon describe it as missing these features.

Giza is more famous but, the tombs at The Step Pyramid of Saqqara are equally as impressive and less crowded. You can go into a smaller pyramid at Saqqara and the tombs. In the tomb lay several rooms of heiroglyphics and paintings depicting daily life in Egypt and offerings. The pictures are carved deep into the stone on every wall and even on the cielings in some rooms. They depict intricate scenes of people hunting, dancing, and the wildlife that lived in the once lush Nile Valley. Unfortunately, I couldn't take a picture inside.

The ruins of the Mortuary Temple and the Hall of Columns also lie there. Both worth seeing!

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