Every traveller to Egypt has one main goal:none other than to see the symbol of the Egyptian civilization since ancient times, the Necropolis of Giza. There lies the one remaining wonder from the seven wonders of the ancient world, besides the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Tourists can visit the great pyramid of Cheops or Khufu as well as the great Sphinx. In this area there are also the two pyramids of Khafra and Menkaure, as well as a few smaller ones. Below you will find all the important information from our visit to the pyramids of Giza and the wider area.
Table of Contents
History of pyramids
Pyramids: The pyramids were created to be the last resting place of each ruling pharaoh. For this reason certain objects were placed in the inner room of the tomb to be used in the next life. Except for the pyramids of Giza there are also pyramids in other parts of Egypt. The ancient Egyptians believed that death was the beginning of a journey into the other world. The king’s body was embalmed before being placed inside the sarcophagus and then buried inside the pyramid or simply placed inside the inner pyramid. This was for reasons of protection and to allow for a smooth transition into the afterlife. Even today the great pyramid of Cheops baffles scientists as to how this impressive structure was constructed. All representations of how it could have been built are considered futile or slightly close to the truth.
The Great Sphinx: The protector of the Necropolis of Giza. A statue with the body of a lion and a human head which the Ancient Egyptians believed was the guard of sleep and dreams as well as of the other world. Statues with the shape of the Sphinx had been discovered in many other locations of Egypt with the same interpretation. Even today we still don’t know whose head the sphinx represents nor whom they were built by. Theories have it they may be the most ancient statues in the world.
More information about Egypt in our article here.
Things you need to know before travelling
As in every tourist site, so in the Necropolis of Giza there are “the clever ones”. They will try to cheat you in order to gain more money than the legal amount. This can happen either outside the Necropolis by men offering rides on horses and camels or inside the walls of the Necropolis by wandering vendors. We recommend you book a private tour which, even though a little more expensive, will offer you greater security and will save you the hassle of fending off clingy salesmen yourselves. Below there is some useful information.
- The hours you can visit the pyramids are 9am until 5pm. The best hours to visit Necropolis are 9-11am or 3-5pm, as the rest of the time the area is overcrowded with large tourist groups.
- There is only one central entrance from where you pay the ticket and also undergo a body search. The price of the ticket is written on a sign above in order to protect tourists from being overcharged.
- If you wish to visit the pyramids you also have to purchase a second ticket at the main entrance. If you are already in the vicinity of the pyramids and wish to enter you will have to go all the way back to the main entrance of Necropolis in order to obtain the pyramid ticket too, and it is quite a long way.
- The entrance to the large pyramid consists of a long narrow corridor 120 metres approximately until the inner tomb chamber. The tunnel ceiling is very low so you have to bend while walking the whole time. This tunnel will take you straight to the inner chamber with the empty sarcophagus.
- The pyramids are empty inside since all findings have been taken to the museum of Egypt.
- It goes without saying that you can’t climb up the pyramids from the outside and the security measures are very strict.
- A short phrase which will rid you of all wandering vendors inside and outside the pyramid area is “La Shokran” (No thank you).
- Do not miss the “Sound and Light Show. In the winter it starts at 6pm and in the summer at 7pm.
The price of tickets is on the chart below:
|Pyramid area-entrance ticket||200EGP|
|Student entrance ticket||100EGP|
|Pyramid of Cheops||400 EGP|
|Pyramid of Menkaure||200 EGP|
Prices change. When we visited Egypt the price was 160 EGP. At the main entrance they only accept cash in their own currency. Credit/debit cards and dollars/euros will not be accepted.
Pyramids of Giza camel tours
The price of a camel ride is 100 EGP per half hour. However, there are also other package deals you can buy. The suitable places for booking camel or horseback rides are at the stables as soon as you enter the main entrance, in the vicinity of the pyramids and at the highest point (Panorama). The animals there are healthier and cleaner, whereas if you book your ride before entering Giza the animals are mistreated, dirty, wounded and scrawny.
See all available activities here.
We had booked a private transfer from our hotel in Cairo to Necropolis in Giza. Along the way the driver asked us if we needed help booking camel rides at the pyramids of Giza. Unwittingly we agreed and were taken to a place where they hired camels and horses. There we were given information as to the various routes we could take once within the walls of Necropolis. After choosing the route we wanted we were told to pay 80e per person (1400 EGP).
You can find more information about Cairo here.
The problems started when we got on the camels, and we then realised those animals had been mistreated. Both animals were making strange sounds as we rode towards the entrance of Necropolis and couldn’t walk well. Our guide kept warning us throughout the ride that we shouldn’t talk to anyone as soon as we reached the main entrance and we should never mention the price we had paid for the rides. That’s when it began to dawn on us that something wasn’t quite right.
As we went through the main entrance and paid for our tickets we were stopped by two men with guns. They asked to answer the precise questions we weren’t meant to answer, in other words where we had booked our rides and the cost of the fare. We were clueless as to what we should answer when one of the men said they were the tourist police. After we revealed the prices they told us the set price of the tour was half what we had paid 40€ per person (700EGP).
Afterwards, they found the driver who had booked our rides and got our money back. We were then taken to the stables with the clean and healthy animals where we booked our rides and tour anew at half the price.
We therefore suggest that you never trust anyone outside the pyramid area because the tour price outside the walls will be much more than inside. This is due to the extra money made by the drivers and go betweens in order to book the animals and the guide.
In the area outside the pyramids of Giza is the Papyrus museum. There you can watch with great detail how authentic papyrus is made. You can actually make your own papyrus with your name written in hieroglyphics. The prices for the papyrus are higher than the ones you will find in the market. The reason is in the quality of the papyrus and in that you may write your own personal words on it whereas in the market you can only buy something ready made.