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Pyramids, mosques and Coptic Cairo


sunny 29 °C

We arrived in Cairo, busy and bustling in a way we'd become unaccustomed to. Our first day we wandered down to the Islamic quarter to check out the area and a few of the mosques and sites. It was intense but interesting and we had a pretty nice day getting lost in the market and seeing the sites. We gave up pretty quickly trying to follow any map and just wandered and discovered where we were when we stumbled across one of the sites we wanted to see.
The next day was devoted to pyramids. No, not the ones at Giza, we were headed for Dashur (Bent and red pyramid) and Saqqara (first pyramid). Dashur was amazing and well worth the visit. The bent pyramid was their first attempt to create the pyramids that are famous today with the smooth sides, they didn't quite get the angles right though so part way up they had to change to a shallower angle and thus we have the bend.
The red pyramid was huge and part of the ticket meant we could go inside. It was a very long steep descent, which can feel a little claustrophobic. Thankfully at the bottom it opens out into a tall chamber and through to another large room and up a set of stairs to the burial chamber. Very cool.
Saqqara boasted the first step pyramid (oldest pyramid in the world apparently). Unfortunately there was a lot of scaffolding on it. Again we got to descend into another smaller pyramid, this one with some brilliant reliefs. A nearby temple also had some great reliefs in particular of hippos and crocodiles which we loved.
We visited the Egyptian museum after that. It was incredible seeing the collection of Tutankhamun's burial goods. Huge gilded wooden chambers for his sarcophagus, amazing jewellery of which the death mask is in some ways the least impressive, whole chariots, just incredible. Some amazing statues, jewellery, tools, thrones, everything Egyptian you can imagine all crammed in under one roof.
We next headed into Coptic Cairo. In some ways a much more relaxed area than the old Islamic quarter. We saw a few churches and soaked up the atmosphere which was a very interesting contrast to the predominately Islamic Egypt.
We wandered over to the Citadel and had a look at some other cool mosques and architecture and even bought ourselves some cushion covers.
Finally we made our way out to Giza to see THE PYRAMIDS as they are so often described. Honestly though, they don't disappoint. We made our way out to Giza and there in the middle of the city, are these enormous pyramids and a Sphinx. It's a pretty amazing sight.
We started at the Sphinx entrance and took our time checking out this incredible statue/structure. I'll let the photos do the talking here, because I'm finding it hard to describe the size and detail.
We next wandered up to the pyramids themselves (constantly hassled by guides with camels or horses). The first we saw was actually the second largest, huge and impressive. We wandered over to the smallest and got some great perspective looking back over all three.
We then made our way out to what was obviously meant to be a great viewing spot. It was pretty cool, you could see all three neatly lined up which was pretty cool. We finally made our way to the largest of the pyramids, skirting the back side of the second largest on our way. It's hard to describe the enormity and grandeur of the pyramids. They really are amazing.
With Cairo done we headed back to Hurghada for some well deserved R&R for two days on the beach before heading home.

Posted by Addy21 02:49 Archived in Egypt Tagged pyramids saqqara dashur

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