Hurghada Tours to Pyramids
Showing 1–12 of 15 results
Cairo Excursion from HurghadaSale! £35.00 – £70.00Embark on a journey to Cairo, and let us take care of your comfort and safety. Our air-conditioned bus will pick you up from your hotel in Hurghada and drive you through the stunning Red Sea and desert scenery. Once you arrive in Cairo, your tour guide will be waiting to take you on a bus tour. We understand that travelling to a new place can be overwhelming, so we will be there to assist you every step of the way. The Egyptian National Museum is a must-see attraction, and our tour will take you there to marvel at the pharaonic treasures, including Tutankhamun's golden treasure and the fascinating sarcophagi. You will also get to visit the famous pyramids, which are considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Your guide will give you plenty of time to admire the pyramids and take in the breathtaking view from the plateau. And, of course, no visit to the pyramids is complete without seeing the Sphinx. If you still have some energy left, we offer an optional Nile trip for an additional charge. We understand that you don't want to miss out on the ancient wonders of Cairo just because you're in Hurghada. That's why we've made it our mission to provide you with a comfortable and convenient way to experience the highlights of Cairo. Our driver-guide will take you in an air-conditioned vehicle, and we'll even include a delicious lunch and a visit to the local bazaar. You'll have everything you need to make memories that will last a lifetime. We know that travelling can be stressful, so we want to make it as easy as possible for you. That's why we'll pick you up from your hotel at a time that works for you and take care of all the details. You can sit back, relax, and let us show you the wonders of Cairo.Select options
Cairo Individual Trip HurghadaSale! £90.00 – £250.00We understand that you're interested in seeing the three Giza Pyramids and the Great Sphinx during your individual trip to Cairo from Hurghada. We're here to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable experience. After visiting these amazing landmarks, you'll have a chance to relax and enjoy a delicious lunch before heading to the Egyptian Museum. To top off the day, we've included a boat trip on the Nile as an additional program. Our trip price includes private transfers, entrance tickets, and lunch, so you won't have to worry about a thing. Our full-day guided tour to Cairo and Giza Pyramids is perfect for travellers on a tight schedule who want to see all the top sights in Egypt's history-packed capital. Your own Egyptologist guide will provide fascinating stories from thousands of years of history, and we've included free time for photos at the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. You'll also get a peek at the famous relics of King Tutankhamun at the world-renowned Egyptian Museum and enjoy a tasty restaurant lunch. Our rep will pick you up at 3:00 am from your hotel lobby in Hurghada, and we recommend ordering a breakfast box before bed so you can enjoy it during the four-hour trip to Cairo. Upon arrival, your guide will join you for the day, ensuring you have a comfortable and stress-free experience. The Giza Plateau is a truly overwhelming sight, and we want to make sure you have the time to take it all in. The Egyptian Museum is one of the largest museums in the world, and our guide will provide insights into the fascinating collection of more than 120 thousand pieces. The museum overlooks Al Tahrir Square, which witnessed the Egyptian Revolution in 2011 and its second wave in 2013. We understand that this trip is important to you, and we're committed to making it a memorable and enjoyable experience.Select options
Sakkara Dahshur Trip HurghadaSale! £140.00 – £300.00 "inc. Vat"Experience the wonders of Ancient Egypt and Cairo as you embark on a day trip by plane to the Step Pyramid (Sakkara), Memphis, Dahshur pyramids, and the Pyramids of Giza from Hurghada. Explore the oldest of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World at Giza, marvel at the high Pyramid of Khufu, and learn about the unique construction techniques from an Egyptologist guide. Admire the reclining statue of the Great Sphinx, and visit Memphis and Sakkara before exploring the Dahshur pyramids. With an air-conditioned transfer vehicle, you'll be picked up from your hotel in Hurghada and driven to the airport for a 45-minute flight to Cairo. Your English-speaking tour guide will meet you upon arrival, and you'll continue in an air-conditioned vehicle to Dahshur, Memphis, and Sakkara. You'll stop for lunch at a local restaurant before continuing to the Great Pyramids of Giza, including the Pyramids of Cheops, Chephren, and Mykerinus. The tour concludes with a visit to the Sphinx and the valley temple, and our transfer service will take you back to the airport in Cairo for your return flight to Hurghada. Please note that the order of the sights can be changed locally if necessary. This excursion can also be offered in a private form with an individual program and private guide upon request. Contact us if you're interested.Select options
Cairo Private Trip by Plane HurghadaSale! £200.00 – £300.00 "inc. Vat"Are you planning a trip to Cairo from Hurghada? Let us make it easy and memorable for you. Our package includes flight tickets, entrance tickets, and transfers, leaving you with nothing to worry about. We will pick you up from your hotel in Hurghada at 04:30 a.m and take you to the airport. After a short flight to Cairo, our representative will meet and assist you throughout the day. You will enjoy a private tour with our Egyptologist guide, who will provide you with detailed insight into the exquisite Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx, and the Valley Temple of the Pyramid of Chephren. After that, we will take you to a local restaurant to have lunch. The next stop is the Egyptian Museum, which features artefacts from the Pharaonic period. The museum boasts a rare collection of 5000 years of art, including an exhibit dedicated to Tutankhamun's collection of treasure, gold, and jewellery. You will have ample time to explore Khan El Khalili, Cairo's old bazaar, before being driven to Cairo Airport for your flight back to Hurghada. We will ensure that you arrive safely at your hotel and that you have had a seamless and enjoyable trip. Let us take care of everything so that you can focus on making unforgettable memories in Egypt's capital.Select options
Cairo Overnight Trip HurghadaSale! £0.00 – £240.00Are you looking for a memorable trip from Hurghada to explore the wonders of Cairo? We understand that travelling can be overwhelming, but we are here to help make your journey smooth and enjoyable. Our two-day trip will take you to the famous Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx, where you can discover the rich history of Egypt. After a delicious lunch, you will have the chance to visit the Egyptian Museum and marvel at its impressive collection of over 250,000 genuine artefacts. On the second day, your private tour guide will take you to explore the charming Old Cairo. You will get to see the Citadel of Saladin and the Khan El-Khalili Bazaar, where you can shop for souvenirs and immerse yourself in the local culture. The trip price includes transfers, accommodation, and entrance tickets, so you don't have to worry about a thing. We understand that travelling can be tiring, and that's why we have arranged for a comfortable private vehicle with air-conditioning to take you from your hotel in Hurghada to Cairo and back. Our compassionate and sympathetic team will be there to assist you throughout the journey, making sure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience. Book your trip with us today and create unforgettable memories in Egypt!Select options
Cairo Alexandria Excursion HurghadaSale! £120.00 – £130.00We are pleased to offer you a two-day trip to Cairo and Alexandria, where you can explore the rich history of Egypt. We will take you on a comfortable bus from Hurghada to see the magnificent Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx. After lunch, we will take a boat trip across the beautiful Nile River, and we will visit the impressive Egyptian Museum. On the second day, we will travel to Alexandria to visit the Montaza Palace Gardens and the Citadel Fortress of Kite Bay. We will stop for lunch at a lovely fish restaurant and enjoy the city tour. You will also have the opportunity to see the Roman Amphitheater, Abu al-Abbas Mosque, and the famous Alexandria Library. We understand that travelling can be tiring, so we have arranged for a comfortable stay at the Movenpick Pyramids Hotel in Cairo, where you can relax and recharge. Our experienced and knowledgeable guide will accompany you throughout the tour, providing you with fascinating insights into the history and culture of Egypt. Included in the package are all the entrance fees, two lunches at local restaurants, and mineral water and soft drinks on board the vehicle. We want you to have a safe and enjoyable trip, and we will take care of everything else. Thank you for choosing us to be your travel partner.Select options
Three day Trip to Cairo from HurghadaSale! "inc. Vat"Embark on a three-day excursion to Cairo from Hurghada by car and discover the city's highlights. During your visit, you will see the magnificent Giza pyramids, The Sphinx, the Egyptian museum, the Citadel of Saladin, the Mosque of Mohamed Ali, Old Cairo, Coptic Cairo, Sakkara, and Memphis. On the first day, you will be transferred from your hotel at 3:00 am to Cairo, which takes six hours to reach. Your arrival time in Cairo will be at 9:30 am. You will then visit the Giza Pyramid Complex, which includes three main pyramids, six little pyramids, the great sphinx, and the Valley Temple. This complex dates back to the 4th dynasty, 2400 years B.C. You will also see the Great Pyramid, the oldest and largest of the three pyramids of the Giza plateau, and the only one to remain intact from the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. The Great Sphinx, the largest statue in the world, standing 73 meters long, 19 meters wide, and 20 meters in height, will leave you in awe. You will also visit the Valley Temple, a granite mortuary temple used by Ancient Egyptians for the mummification process and the only remaining one at the Giza plateau. Afterwards, you will have lunch at the Pyramids/Nile view restaurant before moving on to visit The Egyptian Museum. The museum displays a rare collection of 5000 years of art, including an exhibit dedicated to Tutankhamun's collection of treasure, gold, and jewellery, which was enclosed in his tomb for over 3,500 years. You will then transfer to a hotel in Giza to spend the night. On the second day, after breakfast, you will join your private tour guide to visit Cairo highlights, including Salah el-Din Citadel, which served as Egypt's seat of government till the 1860s. It is a magnificent fortress constructed during Salah ad-Din reign. You will also visit Mohamed Ali Mosque, constructed between 1830 and 1848 and named " The Alabaster Mosque" because most of the walls were made out of pure alabaster. The mosque is a replica of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Then, you will pay a visit to Khan El Khalili Bazaar, one of the most famous and oldest bazaars in the Middle East. You will spend the night in Cairo. On the third day, after breakfast, you will join your private tour guide to visit other Cairo highlights, including Djoser Step Pyramid at Saqqara, the first pyramid built in Egypt. You will also see the Ancient City of Memphis, founded around 3,100 BC, and the village of Dahshur, located about 40 kilometres southwest of Cairo. Dahshur marks the southern end of the vast pyramid field that begins at Giza. You will be transferred to Hurghada at the end of the day. Our qualified Egyptologist guide will accompany you during the 3-day trip, and all transfers will be by a private air-conditioned vehicle. You will spend two nights in Cairo, including the entrance fees. We hope you have a wonderful and memorable experience during your trip with us.Add to cart
Two day Private Trip to Cairo HurghadaSale! "inc. Vat"Are you seeking a remarkable two-day trip from Hurghada to explore the marvels of Cairo? We understand that travelling can be overwhelming, but we are here to make your journey smooth and enjoyable. Our trip will take you to the popular Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx, where you can discover the rich history of Egypt. After a delightful lunch, you will also have the opportunity to visit the Egyptian Museum and marvel at its impressive collection of over 250,000 authentic artefacts. On the second day, your private tour guide will take you to explore the charming Old Cairo, where you will see the Citadel of Saladin and the Khan El-Khalili Bazaar, giving you a chance to shop for souvenirs and immerse yourself in the local culture. Our trip price includes transfers, accommodation, and entrance tickets, eliminating any worries you may have. We understand that travelling can be tiring, which is why we have arranged for a comfortable private vehicle with air-conditioning to take you from your hotel in Hurghada to Cairo and back. Our compassionate and sympathetic team will be there to assist you throughout the journey, ensuring you have a safe and enjoyable experience. Book your trip today and create unforgettable memories in Egypt!Add to cart
Three Day Cairo Luxor Trip by Air HurghadaSale! "inc. Vat"Experience a three-day flight trip from Hurghada to Cairo, Fayoum Oasis, and Luxor. Begin your journey with a visit to the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, and the Valley Temple, followed by a trip to the Egyptian Museum to see King Tutankhamun's treasures. Spend the night in a hotel in Cairo before heading to Fayoum Oasis and Wadi el Hitan to witness petrified whale skeletons, shark teeth, roots of mangroves, and ancient seashells. Visit the Fossil and Climate Change Museum and enjoy lunch at the Wadi el Hitan rest house. Drive to the Magic Lake and Gebel Al-Mudawara and witness one of the most eye-catching sunsets ever. Spend the night in a 5-star hotel in Luxor and visit the Valley of the Kings on the third day. Consider an optional balloon ride for a great view of Luxor.Add to cart
Two Day Cairo Trip by Flight HurghadaSale! "inc. Vat"Embark on an unforgettable journey to the majestic city of Cairo with our two-day excursion by air from Hurghada. This tour is designed to take you on an exciting adventure, exploring the most popular sights in Cairo, such as the iconic Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx, and the Egyptian Museum, home to King Tutankhamun's treasures. With your very own private guide, you'll also get to explore the charming alleys and ancient mosques of old Cairo and shop until you drop at the bustling Khan el Khalil bazaar. We want you to fully immerse yourself in the wonders of Cairo, which is why we'll take care of all the ticket arrangements and transfers, leaving you free to focus on making unforgettable memories. Our Cairo Excursions by Air from Hurghada are the perfect way to explore this historic city in style. During your two-day tour, you'll be awestruck by the beauty of the Giza Pyramids and Sphinx and amazed by the world's largest collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts at the Egypt Museum. We'll even give you plenty of time to explore the famous Khan El Khalil bazaar before taking you back to Hurghada. We know your vacation time is precious, which is why we've made sure our Private Cairo 2 day Tour by plane from Hurghada is free from any unwanted stops or shopping tours. We want you to have the best possible experience, which is why we offer private tours tailored to your group size. Please note, however, that small groups are subject to availability. With our unbeatable tour package, you'll enjoy a delicious lunch and stay in a fabulous Cairo hotel with stunning Pyramids views. Don't miss out on the adventure of a lifetime! Book your Private Cairo 2 day Tour by plane from Hurghada today, and let us take care of everything else.Add to cart
Cairo Alexandria Private Tour HurghadaSale! "inc. Vat"Embark on a thrilling 2-day sightseeing tour from Hurghada and head north to explore the wonders of Cairo and Alexandria. Witness the grandeur of ancient Egypt as you visit the iconic Egyptian Museum, the magnificent Pyramids of Giza, the enigmatic Sphinx, and the Valley Temple. Relish a comfortable overnight stay before proceeding to the charming Mediterranean city of Alexandria to discover its highlights. With the convenience of an air-conditioned bus, you can enjoy the scenic journey back to Hurghada. Enjoy a delightful lunch and relish the included accommodation and hotel transfers, all while traveling in style on our A/C vehicle. Our tour offers a splendid opportunity to discover the breathtaking Pyramids of Cheops, Chephren, and Mykerinus, followed by an immersive experience with the Sphinx, a fascinating structure with a pharaoh's head and a lion's body. Satisfy your hunger with a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, then immerse yourself in the Egyptian Museum of Arts, which showcases a fine collection spanning over 5000 years of art, including a dedicated exhibit featuring Tutankhamun's treasures transferred from his tomb at temples valley. At the end of an exhilarating day, you'll be transferred to your hotel in Cairo for a well-deserved rest. As the sun rises, embark on a scenic journey towards Alexandria, the second capital of Egypt, where you'll be awe-struck by the legendary Alexandria Library, the Catacombs of Kom El Shokafa, and the unique catacombs in Egypt. You'll also visit the Qaitbay Citadel, a stunning 15th-century fortress built by Sultan Qaitbay on the ruins of Alexandria's ancient lighthouse. Our Cairo & Alexandria tour promises to be an unforgettable experience, and you'll stay overnight at a hotel in Cairo before travelling to Alexandria to visit Pompey's Column, Fort Qait Bey, and Alexandria Library. Finally, we'll drive you back to your hotel in Hurghada, leaving you with memories to cherish for a lifetime.Add to cart
Elite Cairo Tour HurghadaSale! "inc. Vat"Experience the captivating history and culture of Egypt's capital city with an expert guide on a full-day tour from Hurghada to Cairo. Embark on a high-class shared minibus journey equipped with air conditioning. Witness the grandeur of the Great Pyramid of Giza and the charm of the Great Sphinx, and visit the Valley Temple. Your Egyptologist tour guide will take you to the Giza Plateau, which houses the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Explore the Great Sphinx and the Valley Temple before indulging in a delicious lunch at one of the best restaurants. The renowned Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, popularly known as the Egyptian Museum, boasts over 100 exhibition halls that house a unique collection of approximately 150,000 pieces. Afterwards, take a relaxing felucca ride on the Nile River and enjoy the stunning view of the Nile Corniche for an additional fee.Add to cart
Showing 1–12 of 15 results
The great pyramids in Giza and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo are the most popular variety for Hurghada Tours to Pyramids. Drive from Hurghada to Cairo, where you can enjoy an exciting trip to the pyramids. Your guide will meet you in front of your Hurghada hotel with an air-conditioned vehicle and transfer you to Cairo.
Upon arrival in Cairo, you will be greeted by the Egyptologist, who will accompany you throughout the tour. Your tour starts in Giza, where you will visit the famous Pyramids of Cheops, Chephren and Mykerinos, and the Sphinx.
After lunch in Cairo, you will head to the Egyptian Museum. Here, you can see the treasures of the young pharaoh Tutankhamun. In the afternoon, you can go shopping in Cairo, if you wish. At the end of your day, you will be driven to Hurghada. Once there, you will be transferred back to your hotel.
Giza Pyramid Complex
Discover the Giza Plateau, the site of the ancient pyramids of Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus; and six little pyramids, the great Sphinx, the ancient world’s most giant monumental sculpture, carved from a single ridge of limestone and the Valley Temple, which belongs to the Pyramid of Chephren. The complex dates back to the 4th Dynasty, 2400 years BC.
The Egyptian Museum
The Egyptian national museum is the home to the most extensive collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts; The museum displays a rare collection of 5000 years of art, including treasures from Tutankhamun and artefacts dating back to 4000 BC. Over 150,000 genuine artefacts are presented .lies in busy Midan al-Tahrir.
There are some options to make the Hurghada excursions to the Pyramids:
One-day Hurghada Tours to Pyramids by Bus
Enjoy a day trip to Cairo to visit The Egyptian Museum, Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx, then return to your hotel in Hurghada by air-conditioned vehicle.
Leave a day for Cairo and head to Cairo on a luxury tour. Accompanied by your Egyptologist tour guide, who will pick you up from the hotel around 02:00 am to start the journey to Cairo, driving 335 KM on the coast of the red sea towards Suez, then moving 120 KM from Suez towards Cairo, Approximately 5 hours driving plus a rest stop in the middle of the way in Zafarana rest house for 30 minutes for breakfast, coffee and bathrooms use, then continue driving to Cairo for two more hours to reach Cairo around 09:00 at morning.
One-day Private Hurghada Excursions to Pyramids
Suppose you would like to do it privately; in that case, we recommend enjoying a private over-day trip to Cairo from Hurghada to visit The Egyptian Museum and Giza Pyramids, then return to your hotel in Hurghada by a private air-conditioned vehicle. The price includes lunch and entrance fees.
Head to Cairo in luxury on a private tour. Accompanied by your private Egyptologist tour guide, who will pick you up from the hotel around 03:00 am to start the journey to Cairo, driving 335 KM on the coast of the red sea towards Suez, then moving 120 KM from Suez towards Cairo, Approximately 5 hours driving plus a rest stop in the middle of the way in Zafarana rest house for 30 minutes for breakfast, coffee and bathrooms use, then continue driving to Cairo for two more hours to reach Cairo around 09:00 at morning.
Hurghada Excursions to Pyramids by Air
Enjoy a tour of Cairo by flight from Hurghada to visit The Egyptian Museum, Giza Pyramids and Khan El Khalily, then catch your flight back to Hurghada.
Leave the beach for a day and fly to Cairo in luxury on a private day trip. Your tour guide will pick you up in a private air-conditioned vehicle at Hurghada International Airport to fly to Cairo.
Upon arrival at Cairo Airport, you will be met by your private Egyptologist tour guide, who will join you to explore Cairo.
Private Two-day Hurghada Tours to Pyramids
Enjoy a tour to Cairo from Hurghada for one Night/two days to discover Cairo highlights. You will visit the Giza pyramids and the step pyramid, then overnights at the 5-star hotel. The next day, you will see the Egyptian museum, the citadel and Khan EL Khalily bazaar then we will drive you back to your hotel in Hurghada.
Two-day Hurghada Tours to Pyramids by Flight
Enjoy a tour to Cairo from Hurghada for 1 Night / two days to discover Cairo highlights. You will visit the Giza pyramids and the step pyramid overnight at the 5-star hotel. The next day, you will see the Egyptian museum, the citadel and Khan EL Khalily bazaar then we will drive you back to your hotel in Hurghada.
Find and book top tours in Hurghada and select the best activities in Hurghada and top things to do. Read customer reviews and plan lovely day trips from door to door. All our tours included transfers from Hurghada.
Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx are among the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and indeed already were even in Roman times. Each of these spectacular structures served as the final resting place of a king of the 4th Dynasty (c.2613–2494 BC). The Great Pyramid of Giza was built for King Khufu (c.2589–2566 BC), and the other two were for Khafre and Menkaure, his son and grandson. Khufu’s Pyramid is the oldest and largest of the three, and the first building to exceed its height would not be built for another 3,800 years!
Although the three pyramids dominate the plateau, they are surrounded by many other monuments. Every king’s Pyramid was just one element, albeit the most important of a larger complex that included more minor, subsidiary, queens’ pyramids; an additional one that acted as a second, symbolic tomb for the king, called a satellite pyramid; mastaba tombs for nobility and other family members; burials of actual and metaphorical boats; and a pair of temples linked by a richly decorated causeway.
One of these temples, called the valley temple, led into the pyramid complex, and was located on or near a body of water where boats could dock. The other, the funerary (or upper) temple, stood near the Pyramid’s base. Priests maintained the mortuary cult of the deceased king in these temples, where his divine aspect was worshipped, and rich and diverse offerings were presented to his soul so he could have a peaceful and luxurious afterlife.
The Great Pyramid
The Great Pyramid, the tomb of King Khufu (c.2589–2566 BC), with its original height of 146.5 meters, was the tallest structure in the world for 3,800 years. It remained the last surviving member of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and took an estimated 10 to 20 years to build. To this day, it is not entirely sure how this was done.
The Great Pyramid is made of local limestone, but its exterior was once entirely covered with high-quality limestone. These casing stones were brought by ship from Turah, south of Maadi. The Pyramid has three chambers, one cut into the bedrock underneath and two high up within the masonry itself, a feature no other pyramid possesses. The coffin in which Khufu was once laid to rest can still be seen in the upper of these two rooms, the King’s Chamber. This room is accessed through the Grand Gallery, a majestic corbelled ascending passage and a masterpiece of ancient engineering and architecture.
Two large and impressive ships were discovered in pits on the south side of the Pyramid in a dismantled state. These are believed to have been used to transport the royal mummy and burial equipment to the tomb.
Tomb of Queen Meresankh III
Under the shadow of the Great Pyramid lies the mastaba of Queen Meresankh III, the wife of Khafre and granddaughter of Khufu. Both very large and exquisitely decorated, this is indeed a tomb worthy of her rank and, fortunately, contains the best-preserved wall reliefs in the Eastern Cemetery.
These are decorated with diverse scenes, including bread baking, beer brewing, fowling, herding, mat making, metal smelting, and the sculpting of statues, apparently of Meresankh herself. These, along with the elaborate scenes of offering-bearers bringing all sorts of gifts to Meresankh, were intended to magically provide her soul with a continuous stream of food and goods in the afterlife. Interestingly, among the objects brought to her are a canopy with a bed set up, an armchair, and a carrying chair. Actual examples of similar things were discovered in the tomb of Hetepheres I, the mother of Kufu, and can be seen today at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Among the most striking features of Meresankh’s tomb chapel is a series of ten giant statues of women that are carved out of the northern wall. It is believed that they represent, in addition to, Meresankh herself, her mother, and her daughters as well.
Eastern and Western Cemeteries
Two of the largest preserved Old Kingdom cemeteries form a part of the pyramid complex of King Khufu (c.2589–2566 BC) in Giza. Called the Eastern and Western Cemeteries after their positions relative to the Great Pyramid, they include the tombs of members of the royal family and the highest-ranking nobles. As such, they contain some of the most beautiful tomb decorations from this period.
The cemeteries consist mainly of mastabas, but rock-cut tombs are also attested. The term mastaba (Arabic for “bench”) refers to a type of funerary structure that was generally rectangular and built over the tomb proper, which was underground. Most of the mastabas of the Eastern and Western Cemeteries were constructed during the reign of Khufu, in tandem with his pyramid complex, whereas the rock-cut tombs were mainly built later.
Most of the Eastern Cemetery’s tombs dating to Khufu’s reign were intended for his closest relatives. The rock-cut tomb of his mother, queen Hetepheres I, and her funerary equipment, was discovered here. It is the site of the mastaba of his half-brother Ankh-haf, who had an important administrative position in constructing the Great Pyramid. On the other hand, the mastabas of the Western Cemetery, which are primarily arranged in an orderly grid, were reserved for very high-ranking noblemen that were not as closely related to the king. Among them is the monumental mastaba of Hemiunu, who oversaw the building of the Great Pyramid.
Workers’ Town and Cemetery
The remains of an extensive settlement site, Heit al-Ghurab, were discovered in the southeastern area of the Giza Plateau. This was where the workers who built the pyramid complexes of Khafre (c.2558–2532 BC) and Menkaure (c.2532–2503 BC) lived. The tantalizing remains of an even older settlement underneath may date to Khufu’s reign (c.2589–2566 BC). Houses, magazines, three main streets, and a royal administrative building were discovered within the city walls, as were four huge galleries. These may have been the barracks where workers who built the pyramids slept and prepared food. An enormous amount of fish, bird, cattle, sheep, goat and pig bones were found, revealing that the state ensured the workers were in good health to fulfil their physically demanding responsibilities.
The town’s cemetery is on the hillside immediately west of Heit al-Ghurab. Low-ranking overseers of workers were buried in modest mastabas on the low slopes of the hill, surrounded by even smaller mastaba or domed tombs, possibly those of their extended families and the workers they supervised. These were built mainly of mudbrick, whereas the higher-ranking overseers and skilled artisans were buried in large stone mastabas higher up the slope. Among these is the beautifully decorated tomb of the overseer of linen, the overseer of the royal house of purification, Nefertheith. Most of the bodies discovered show evidence of hard physical labour, many even featuring broken bones. Most of these had healed correctly, indicating that the workers received excellent medical care and were well-fed.
Tomb of Khufukhaf I
The term mastaba (Arabic for “bench”) refers to a type of funerary structure that was generally rectangular and built over the tomb proper, which was underground. The mastaba tomb of Khufukhaf I is located in the Eastern Cemetery of the complex of the Great Pyramid of King Khufu (c.2589–2566 BC) at Giza. This cemetery was reserved for the closest relatives of the king and contained some of the largest mastabas on the Giza Plateau. The mastaba of Khufukhaf I includes two burial shafts, one for him and another for his wife, Neferetkau.
The chapel of Khufukhaf I, inside the mastaba, where his funerary cult was conducted, is well preserved. Many beautiful scenes survive that show him and his wife receiving a wide variety of offerings, which they would both need in the afterlife.
A scene in the chapel depicts him holding his mother’s hand. The hieroglyphic inscriptions beside her reveal that she was the mother of a king, but her name is missing. It is thought that this is Henutsen, one of Khufu’s wives, who is believed to have been buried in one of the three queens’ pyramids next door. The inscriptions in Khufukhaf I’s mastaba also identify him as a vizier, the highest-ranking official in ancient Egyptian administration. As a vizier and the son of a queen, there is no doubt that Khufukhaf I was one of the most influential people in the kingdom during his lifetime.
Pyramid Complex of Menkaure
Menkaure (Mykerinos to the ancient Greeks; c.2532–2503 BC) is the builder of the third of the three large Giza Pyramids. He was most likely the son of Khafre (Khefren) and grandson of Khufu (Cheops). With a base area that is less than a quarter of their pyramids’ and with an original height of 65 meters, Menkaure’s is by far the smallest of the three. This size reduction is due to several factors, including the limited space left on the Giza Plateau. The material used for the outer casing of Menkaure’s Pyramid is another. Whereas his predecessors had used limestone, Menkaure employed granite quarried in Aswan, over 800 km away. In addition to the logistics involved in transporting the granite blocks, the material itself is much more complex than limestone. However, only the bottom quarter of the casing stones is granite. However, the rest is limestone.
Like the Great Pyramid, three smaller pyramids can be seen next to Menkaure’s as well, which were used for the burials of his queens. No satellite pyramid has been discovered, but it is believed that the largest of the three queens’ pyramids was initially intended to have been the satellite pyramid.
Menkaure died before his pyramid complex was completed, and much of the Pyramid’s granite casing blocks were not smoothed. His mortuary and valley temples were intended to consist of colossal limestone blocks encased in granite but were completed with whitewashed mud brick. Despite this, however, the mortuary cult of Menkaure was practised for another 300 years after his death.
The Great Sphinx
Colossal statues are one of the hallmarks of ancient Egyptian civilization, and the Great Sphinx of Giza is the most famous. It was carved directly from the bedrock during the 4th Dynasty (c.2613–2494 BC), making it the oldest. Ancient Egyptian sphinxes represented the king with the body of a lion in a clear demonstration of his power.
The evidence points to the Great Sphinx being carved during the reign of Khafre (Khefren to the ancient Greeks; c.2558–2532 BC), the builder of the second of the Giza pyramids. The Great Sphinx and the temple in front of it, the Sphinx Temple, lie directly next to Khafre’s valley temple and the lower portion of the causeway leading up to his mortuary temple and Pyramid. Careful archaeological analysis revealed that the valley temple was finished before work was begun on the Great Sphinx and its temple. Research of the Great Sphinx’s facial features has also shown striking similarities with those of Khafre’s statues.
The Great Sphinx has captured the imagination of travellers and explorers for millennia, even in ancient Egyptian times. During the 18th Dynasty (c.1550–1295 BC), it came to be seen as a manifestation of the sun god and was called Horemakhet, “Horus in the Horizon”. King Amenhotep II (c.1427–1400 BC) built a temple next to the Sphinx, which he dedicated to this god. His son, Thutmose IV (c.1400–1390 BC), erected a monumental stela between its front paws, called the Dream Stela, on which he recorded a fascinating event.
Pyramid Complex of Khafre
Khafre (c.2558–2532 BC), whom the ancient Greeks knew as Khefren, was a son of King Khufu (Cheops), the builder of the Great Pyramid. He built the second pyramid complex at Giza and constructed his tomb on slightly higher ground, making it appear just as tall as his father’s. At 143.5 meters in height, however, his Pyramid is only marginally shorter and a tremendously impressive monument. Its core masonry is made of blocks of local limestone. The top of the Pyramid still preserves the beautifully polished blocks of high-quality limestone that once encased most of the structure’s towering height. This white stone was quarried in Turah, south of Maadi, and transported here by ship.
Another development in the reign of Khafre is the complexity of their layout, with the elements constituting his mortuary temple becoming the new standard that its later Old Kingdom counterparts would follow. The mortuary temple of Khafre at the foot of his Pyramid and the valley temple at the end of the causeway is more significant than any of those older pyramids and among the best preserved of the Old Kingdom. The valley temple comprises massive limestone blocks encased in granite, floors made of alabaster, and its vast hall features monolithic granite pillars. A unique feature of Khafre’s complex is the inclusion of a colossal statue beside his valley temple, the Great Sphinx.
The symmetrically arranged niches along the hall’s walls once accommodated statues of the king, some of which are currently on display in the Egyptian Museum. One of these, the famous granodiorite statue of Khafre with Horus as a falcon perched behind his head, is widely considered one of the masterpieces of ancient Egyptian art.
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