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Making Time At The Pyramids For Your Own Mind

Making Time At The Pyramids For Your Own Mind

My first visit to Cairo and the Pyramids was a rather whistle stop affair en-route to a Nile cruise.

Although memorable as any such visit was, I have for years felt that I had not had the best of experiences inwardly.

Yes! I had seen the Pyramids but not really felt the majesty of such megaliths when being rushed and within a group.

However, this time would be different.

Making Time at the pyramids

Return to Egypt making time for The Pyramids.

Planning to be in Cairo for 5 days I felt would give me a chance to make several visits to both major sites at Giza and 9 miles away in Saqqara.

Understanding better the link between Saqqara and the Giza site is key to making more sense of the development of the Pyramids themselves and the sheer scale of their construction and their growth. As well as some of those people that made it all happen.

Step Pyramid.

With the ‘Step Pyramid’ at Saqqara built for King Djoser by his architect Imhotep it was now much more accessible than when I visited first.  Allowing the chance to fully take in its unique construction.  Although not a true pyramid.

Making The Most Of Meeting The Pyramids

That title applies to the nearby ‘Red Pyramid’ at Dahshur. With the failed version of the ‘Bent Pyramid’ not far away too.

Red Pyramid.

It’s odd appearance due to poor construction and partial collapse meant that it was to be impossible to continue to build at 55 degrees without further overloading. Adjustment to around 43 degrees allowed it to be finished if distorted for Pharaoh Snefru. Although it seems that he never used it himself.

The Bent Pyramid.

Saqqara haș in recent years also started to expose more history of those individuals who helped to plan and be part of the enormous numbers of people needed to build and maintain such megaliths and also demonstrated their great desire to be buried near to them for their after lives too.

Tombs still being uncovered at Saqqara.

Uncovering the vast complex of tombs around the Step Pyramid has recently been part of a TV Netflix “Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb” documentary as they have unearthed tomb after tomb complete with human mummies and sarcophagi.   Many painted and carved in great detail that the Pharaoh’s themselves would have approved of.

‘Wahtye’ being one such High Priest.  This was during the reign of Pharaoh Neferirkare Kakai from the Fifth Dynasty. That tomb is not yet open to the public.

 

The Butchers Tomb is similar to that of Wahtye.

Meeting a Netflix Film Star Archaeologist

One Archaeologist on the team was Hamada (Shehata Ahmed) Mansour famous for his motorbike commutes to the dig site in the film.

Chatting to film star Archaeologist Hamada Mansour at Saqqara.

Hamada spoke to me at the site about the ongoing work after the recent film. “We are continuing to uncover many more tombs and shafts.  It’s still very exciting work here. At one point it was thought that the preservation of bodies being buried here was done away from the area.”

“Saqqara is giving up more secrets each day and working here has been a really great experience for me.  I feel very lucky to have been involved.”

As well as human mummies he also was the first to enter a tomb of mass burial cat mummies at this necropolis.

First to Enter Cat Mummy Tomb

In the documentary he revealed that: “Ever since I started working in this cat necropolis when cats see me around my house, they run. They are afraid of me. They don’t act like pets towards me like they used to. But I say to them ‘you have the right’. I did just take your ancestors out of the ground and put them in storage’. Maybe they are scared I’ll do the same thing to them”.

“However, we are finding more and more clues that funeral preservation was being carried out here at Saqqara. Which seems to make a lot of sense?”

Knowing more about the linked history of both Saqqara and Giza does help to better understand a picture of that time.

A very helpful guide in the ‘Butchers Tomb’ of Irukapta.

Spending longer moments in contemplation at Giza for instance as the three giant pyramids tower over you is rewarding and satisfying too.

I visited several times.  From early in the morning and later in the day in order to enjoy much more the lighting changes in these quieter times and the ambience of the site too.

Selfies Rather Than Self?

Most visitors seem to appear during later morning and into the afternoon.  Coach trips from far and wide tend to bring in a large influx of tourists but they reduce as the day wears on. Many tourists just appear to spend time taking selfies and to them amusing type images. Although if that’s what they want then whom am I to say otherwise?

Snapping selfies rather than taking it all into your mind.

Spending all their time snapping and not really admiring what they have in front of them to me seems very much wasted time. But each to their own?

This iconic place deserves more reverence and that’s what I wanted to try to capture and enjoy for myself.

Unlike my first visit which was very much over and done in two hours or less!

With dozens of camel riders urging you to jump aboard plus the numerous horse carts trotting by and their owners calling constantly for your business.  Plus the souvenir sellers it can be very busy in fact frantic place at times!

Making Time at The Pyramids From This  Room With a View

One place that does indeed allow you to be away from the maddening crowds is to book a meal at the 9 Pyramids Lounge as from it you can see laid out in front of you 9 Pyramids.

Making time at The 9 Pyramids Lounge

9 Pyramids Lounge.

You have the great Pyramid of Khufu, that of Khafre and then Menkaure the smaller of the three but still never the less still striking. Although The Sphinx is not.

The others are the three Queens pyramids and then three noble’s tombs making up the 9.

Here the noise and bustle of the Giza plateau fades away. As this venue offers extensive views of the site and the chance to relax taking in a sweeping vista that the Pharaohs themselves would have enjoyed.

Making Time at the pyramids.

Making Time at the Pyramids and taking it all in.

Here You Can Make Time At The Pyramids

It has inside and outside shaded seating plus a Bedouin style seating area too. Food is freshly cooked and generous mainly in the Arab style. Open from around 9am until 5pm booking is certainly required.  Although closes early at 3:30pm during Ramadan as that was when I visited.

Freshly baked flat bread from a stone oven is great for starters.

Bread oven with cook.

Another star and chef in the kitchen at 9 Pyramid Lounge bread oven.

 Standard chicken or mixed grill plus selections of salads are popular. Or more Arab styled items such as stuffed vine leaves, grilled kofta and shish tawook work well. And mint tea will refresh you in the heat too.

Food and Pyramids

Food for the body and a view for the mind!

It is hard to find tranquillity in such a hectic tourist location but this place works so well.

However, more generally I highly recommend just spending more time admiring and less time recording it through a lens, camera or mobile phone!

One of those places and times to let your mind record it rather than your media which was what i wanted this time.

 Tour guide recommendation

Whilst I was in Cairo I did get to use the services of https://motoursegypt.com/ (+20 100 540 6534) This company offered many travel packages as well as the one to both Giza and Saqqara I used. I feel confident in recommending them.  They were professional, informative and at all stages provided excellent communication during the whole process.

My stay was at Hilton Pyramids Golf which is located around 7 miles from Giza.

(Note:  I do not receive any payment from this company for this recommendation)

 

Geoff Moore

Award winning blogger and travel writer/photographer, I have travelled the world in one way or another for 30 years. I am a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers for over 13 years. In the ever-changing world of publishing and online media it now requires that I have media skills across all areas. That now also includes video production. My travel images appear in magazines, newspapers and publications all over the world I am now blogging about all aspects of travel.

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