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Video:Top Tips for Visiting the Pyramids of Giza

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One of the most famous tourist attractions in the world, The Giza Pyramids, resides in the Southwest of Cairo. In this About.com video, learn about the history of the pyramids, and the best way to get around this historical site.See Transcript

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Transcript:Top Tips for Visiting the Pyramids of Giza

History of the Giza Pyramids

Quite possibly the most famous tourist attraction in the world, these three great pyramids stand above the city of Giza an enormous suburb to the southwest of Cairo.All three of the pyramids were built in the Old Kingdom starting with the Great Pyramid of Khufu, built in 10-20 years and completed around 2560BC.

For the first 3800 years of it's existence it was the tallest man-made structure in the world and it is the oldest, and only remaining Ancient Wonder of the World. The Pyramids were built as great tombs to a succession of 4th dynasty Pharaohs starting with Khufu, his son, Khafra and grandson, Menkaure. They dominate the Giza Necropolis, high on a plateau overlooking Cairo, a complex that also includes the Sphinx and several smaller pyramids and tombs.

Getting Around the Giza Pyramids

So there are a number of ways that you can get around the pyramids of Giza: you can take a camel, or you can walk - or you can do what we're doing - which is, my friend Mohammed and I are taking a horse and carriage. And it works pretty well - it's a little bit bumpy though. To hire a camel, the minimum you can expect to pay for an hour is 50 Egyptian pounds, and for a horse ride it is best to go to one of the stables in the town of Nazlet-as-Samaan which is right next to the secondary entrance close to the Sphinx.

Expect to pay about 100 pounds for an hour. So in the old days people liked to come here and climb up the pyramids but it's not really allowed now. But you can kind of get an idea how tough it must be - these blocks are just huge. No one knows definitively how these huge 25-80 ton granite and limestone blocks were put in place but to really gain an appreciation for the architectural genius of the pyramids it's worth going inside to see the precision engineering of these huge blocks close up.

Cheops Boat Museum

It is also worthwhile to visit the Cheops boat museum, which features an original wooden funerary barque discovered in a pit at the base of the Great Pyramid.To get to the pyramids many visitors choose to take a taxi from central Cairo. Depending on the time of the day, however, this can be quite congested. An alternate way is to take the metro from, for example, Tahrir Square which will get you as far as Giza Station. From there you will still need to take a taxi along Pyramid Road, which itself can take 30-40 minutes in heavy traffic. Make sure you buy your tickets only from the Main Ticket office at the entrance to the Pyramids. A ticket will give you access to the entire Giza Necropolis, including the Sphinx. However, if you wish to visit the boat museum, or go inside the pyramids you will need to buy extra tickets.

And that was some information about visiting the Pyramids of Giza. To learn more please go to About.com.

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