The Pyramids of Giza

The Pyramids of Giza

Rtes 23--27 (total distance 80krn) are contiguous and between them cover the vast necropolis of the ancient city of Memphis. All are within an hour's drive from Cairo. As with all sites, the time needed varies with the aims of the visitor, but as the distances between monuments are considerable it is really only practicable to vjsit two sites in one day. Saqqarah, however, needs a whole day. Only Giza and Saqqarah have rest-houses and therefore the visitor is advised to take food and drink to the other sites. Some of the sites may be under military occupation (check with a travel agent) and special permission is needed to visit these. Rte 23 (18km) includes the most famous monuments of Egypt, the pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx. They are only a short distance from Cairo and can be reached  (Nos 8, 9 and 900) from Tal'.trir Square.

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From S Giza the She. al-Ahram passes under a railway bridge (Giza Station 25m to the left, mainline to Southern Egypt) and runs due W. lkmfurther, to the S, is the Sff. GAMALAL-DiN AL-AFGHANi with the Sayyid Darwish Concert Hall, which has been enlarged and serves as the Opera House since that in the al-Azbakiyyah Garden burnt down in 1972. Performances are given by the Arabic Music Troupe, Cairo Symphony Orchestra and visiting foreign and local dance and music groups. At 4km the Madinat al-Fanan (City of Artists) lies S of the road. The gate and the island in the centre of the road are marked by giant contemporary limestone statues. It is a higher institute dealing with fine and applied arts, music and dance. Large areas on either side of the. road are being opened and developed as residential estates, while the road itself is lined with clubs, casinos, bars and three film studios. At Bkm a road crosses the She. al-Ahram (N to the Delta, S to Saqqarah) as does another after a further 2km (N to Abii Ruwash, S to Saqqarah).

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This road leads N to the village of Kirdissah (15km). Here are two workshops specialising in weaving tapestries, other materials and dresses. S of the She. al-Ahrim lies the village of al-llarrinlyyah (6km) with the renowned tapestry workshops developed around the natural talents of the inhabitants by the architect Ramsis Wissa Wassil and since his death managed by his wife. The tapestries from this village have found their way into many art collections.

At 2km a main road branches off to the NW This is the Hl 1, the desert road to Alexandria (Rte 41). SW is the H22 to al-Fayyiim (Rte 29) and al-Balµiyyah Oasis (Rte 48). At the junction of these roads lies the village of Nazlat al-Samman, the residential part of which lies to the S.

Nile cruise

The village is dominated by the pyramids which tower overhead. On the right is the Mena House Oberoi Hotel (5*) incorporating the Mena House Hotel; to the left of the road are the Post Office, Tourist Information Office and the Tourist Police Office (tel. 850251). The area is dotted with traders and kiosks selling souvenirs and refreshments. At weekends and public holidays it becomes extremely crowded and should be avoided. Many vendors offer camel and horse rides (stables also in the village) and this can be a very pleasant way to see the area. However, it is essential to ensure that your bargain with the dealer includes the return journey; unprepared visitors may find themselves with a couple of kilometres to walk back across the dunes.

The Pyramids stand on the limestone plateau which here rises about SOm above the flood plain. Two roads climb to the summit, one from the Mena House and one from the village. The former ascends the escarpment. Tickets for admission to the monuments can be bought at the kiosk on the left of this road, although access to the site is free. The site is very popular with Egyptians, especially on Fridays and public holidays, when it becomes very crowded. A visit in the early morning is recommended.

Except for the very energetic, a visit to the interior of only one of the pyramids is recommended. The Great Pyramid is structurally the more interesting, but the second is less tiring. Because accidents were frequent, climbing the pyramids is forbidden except with special permission.

These pyramids were constructed between c 2589 and 2530 BC by three of the rulers of the 4 Dyn., Khufu (Cheops), Khafre (Chephren) and Menkaure (Mycerinus), of whom very little is known, though their monuments have survived virtually intact.

Each of these structures is a complex of buildings, rather than just a pyramid. The site was prepared by removing the thick layers of sand and gravel, then levelling the rock, smoothing the uneven surface and constructing a limestone platform, which extended beyond the projected pyramid on all sides. Finally, round this was built an enclosure wall. The pyramid was orientated to the cardinal points. The core was built of the local limestone, but faced with finer limestone from quarries at Turah (S of al-Ma'adi on the West Bank) and red granite from the Aswan quarries. Each pyramid had to the E a small mortuary temple built against the structure and, at a greater distance, a valley temple joined the latter by a causeway. This served during the construction of the pyramid as a slipway to bring the casing stones up to the pyramid and, when the building was finished, as a ceremonial route between the two temples. In addition each had subsidiary pyramids; to the E in the case of Khufu, to the S in those of Khafre and Menkaure. These are thought to have been the burial places of the principal queens. Each of the pyramids was given a name. Around all the pyramids were mastaba fields where the relations and nobles were buried close to the kings' tombs. Many attempts have been made to prove that the pyramids were not bwial places, but there is no evidence to support this.

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The Great Pyramid

(called 'Khufu is one belonging to the horizon') now stands 131m high but was originally 140m (indicated by a survey point erected on the summit). Each side once measured 230m (440 cubits), but due to the loss of casing blocks they are now only 221m. The angle of the sides was 51°50'. A visit to the interior takes about one hour.

Khufu (the Horus Medjedu) seems to have been an absolute ruler with complete control over the administration which was largely in the hands of his immediate family. Beneath the structure is a knoll of uncertain size. This makes an exact calculation impossible, but an estimate has indicated that at least 2,300,000 stone blocks averaging 2.5 tons were used, although some were much largerup to 15 tons. Herodotus (Book II, 124) estimated that 100,000 men were required to built the pyramid, but some American engineers have suggested that this large work force would have been unmanageable and that no more than 4000 could be employed at any one time. This smaller number includes the quarry men at Aswan, as well as the boatmen and the men dragging the blocks into position by means of ramps. The whole project was the work of skilled craftsmen, not untrained slaves, as has been so often suggested, and would have been undertaken during the months of the inundation.

There are three chambers within the pyramid, two inside the built section and one underlying the structure; thes~ are thought to mark changes in the plan of the whole building. The Burial Chamber (B) was originally the unfinished chamber cut in the natural rock, reached after a descent of about 120m, but now inaccessible as the excavators Perring and Vyse filled the descending passage with immovable blocks. The original entry (A) to the pyramid was in the centre of the N face in the thirteenth course of masonry, and about 20m from ground level, but this is also now inaccessible.

The present Entry, forced by the Khalif Mamfm in the 9C when he visited Egypt, is cut in the sixth course of masonry, below and to the W of the original. After descending 36m the passage reaches the junction of the original a!lcending and descending passages. The ascending passage (36m long and about lm high) leads to a horizontal passage 35m long and 1.15m high which leads in tum to the chamber called the Queen's Chamber' (C) (incorrectly; there is no evidence that the queens were ever buried within the pyramid during the Old Kingdom period). It is built entirely of limestone and measures 5.2m by 5.1m. The roof, c 6.13m high, is pointed, but the pavement of the chamber seems never to have been laid. On the E side of the chamber is a large recess, the purpose of which is uncertain. On the N and S walls are two rectangular openings made in 1812 •by a British engineer for the purpose of locating the ventilation shafts (D) from the room. This, with the unpaved floor, is evidence that the chamber was never finished (some Egyptologists think that these were not ventilation shafts, but had some religious significance).

After the construction of this second burial chamber the builders seem to have changed their plans again; the main structure was further enlarged and a third burial place constructed at a higher level. To reach this visitors pass through the Grand Gallery (E), the most impressive part of the construction of the pyramid, over 41m long, and 8.5m high in the centre with a corbelled roof similar to those in the internal chambers of the pyramids of Maydiim and Dahshflr. On each side are rectangular holes, perhaps for holding beams to retain the plug holes intended to block the gallery. The whole is built of fine-grained Muqattam limestone, so well cut that it is almost impossible to insert anything in the joints.

The Gallery ends in a Horizontal Passage or antechamber 8.4m long, lined with granite, slotted for the insertion of portcullises of the same material. The portcullis plugs were very little narrower than the passage and must have been difficult to manoeuvre into position. Beyond is the main burial chamber usually called the King's Chamber (F), also lined with highly polished red granite slabs, measuring 5.2m by 10.8m and 5.8m high. It contains two ventilation shafts set in the N and S walls about lm above pavement level; these were also located by Perring and Vyse in their pyramid survey. The lidless sarcophagus of red Aswan granite stands at the W end of the room, finely polished but uninscribed. It is 2.24m long, 0.96m wide and 1.03m high; the' lid had vanished before the first scientific examination of the pyramid was made. Above this room are the five relieving chambers (G) designed to take the weight of the upper part of the pyramid, and prevent it crushing the burial chamber; the first was found by Davidson in 1165, and the other four were recorded by Perring and Vyse in 1831. They can only be reached by ladder, from a passage cut in the upper part of the Grand Gallery, where Perring and Vyse found an inscription bearing the name of Khufu, the builder of the pyramid.

Khufu's Mortuary Temple

Stands to the E of the main structure and i.s closely associated with it. Unfortunately little remains but the foundations and part of the basalt pavement, but it is quite unlike the other mortuary temples at Giza, or those at Maydiim and Dahshr. The entry led into a colonnaded court, orientated N to S; the roof of the portico was supported by granite pillars of which little remains. The W side of the temple has been entirely destroyed. Ricke has suggested that there were five statue niches, but there is no certain evidence for this number.

This temple was joined to the Valley Temple by a Causeway still largely intact in the middle of the last century, though now only a few blocks remain. The Valley Temple is situated under the modem village of Nazlat al-Samman and there is little hope now of finding it even partially untouched.

In 1938 Selim Hassan found some blocks of the causeway decorated with reliefs, but at the time they were not thought to be contemporary, in spite of the fact that Herodotus said that it had been decorated with sculptures. Not until similar sculptured blocks had been found at Dahshir in Snefru's Valley Temple was it recognised that temples and causeways were decorated before the time of Khufu.

To the N and S of this building are two boat-shaped pits cut in the rock, lying slightly outside the E enclosure wall of the pyramid. They were empty when found, as was a third on the N side of the causeway near the temple. However, in 1954 a fourth boat-pit was found to the S of the enclosure wall, containing a partly dismantled boat of cedar, 43m long. Inscriptions on the roof of the boat-pit suggest it was completed by Redjedef. This boat has been reconstructed and it is now housed in a specially air-conditioned Solar Boat Museum. Judging by an analysis of the mud, it seems that the boat had been used on the Nile. A further pit containing another boat has been• identified but not opened.

These boat-pits, usually found empty, are known from the time of the 1 Dyn. royal mastabas, but the exact function of the boats has not been determined. Some may have been used for the funeral procession, others ~erhaps were intended for the king in the afterworld when he voyaged with Re .

On the S side of the causeway is a row of three smaller Subsidiary Pyramids which probably belonged to Khufu's queens. To the E of each of these is a small mortuary chapel. The North Pyramid also has a boat-pit and probably belonged to his principal wife and full sister Meritites. The Middle Pyramid has no name, though the queen's titles were found in the mortuary chapel. She was probably the mother of Redjedef, the third king of the dynasty who was buried at Abii Ruwash. The South Pyramid was the burial place of Hensutsen, another of Khufu's queens and the mother of Khufu-Kaf who is buried nearby; she may also have been the mother of Khafre. In the 21 Dyn. the Chapel of this pyramid was enlarged and used as a temple for Isis, Mistress of the Pyramid, by which the name of its original owner was long forgotten.

It used to be possible to ascend the pyramid (20-30 minutes) from the NE corner but, due to the large number of accidents, this has been forbidden to tourists. From the top there is a splendid view of the desert and the cultivation.

The Pyramid of Khafre

(called 'Great is Khafre'), preserving a considerable part of the limestone casing near the top, has the most complete complex of them all. The height of this structure is 136.40m (originally about 145.15m) and the base was 214.80m sq. although the outer casing here has almost entirely disappeared. The angle of the side was 53°8', slightly steeper than that of Khufu. This pyramid appears larger than the Great Pyramid but it is actually slightly smaller, the illusion being caused by its position, higher on the limestone plateau. A visit to the interior takes about half an hour if the pyramid is entered through the lower passage. It was first entered in recent times by Belzoni in March 1818.

The two entrances on the N side belong to different stages in the construction of the building; the Lower Entry (A) now in use is 2.6m from the base of the pyramid, the Upper Entry (B) is 11.35m above the base. The original rock-hewn Burial Chamber (C) was 10.42 by 3.14m with a roof only 2.6m high, pointed but never finished and not centred beneath the apex of the pyramid. Later the upper passage was constructed and the Second Burial Chamber (E) made part of the built pyramid, again not centred but slightly to the N. Measuring 4.97m by 14.13m, with a roof of pointed limestone blocks, it is entered through a granite-lined passageway (D) 60m long, and partly rock-cut. At the W end of the burial chamber is the uninscribed red granite sarcophagus, empty when found by Belzoni, who has celebrated his discovery by writing his name in lamp-black in the chamber. The sarcophagus is 2.62m long, 1.06m wide and 0.96m high. Set into the room's granite pavement, it is still in its original position with the lid nearby. Against the S wall of the room is a square cavity in the pavement, which may have marked the position of the canopic chest, now missing.

On the E side of the pyramid is the Mortuary Temple measuring 1 lOm by 45m. It is much larger than that of Khufu, but unfortunately over the centuries it has served as a quarry for local building and has lost much of its outer granite casing. It was excavated by Von Sieglin in 1910 and is unlike the mortuary temples that preceded it, being much more complex. The core of the walls is of limestone, cased with granite, some of the blocks unusually large (between 100 and 400 tons), and the floors of alabaster. It is entered from the causeway to the E by a narrow door, leading to two rooms on the S and a vestibule on the N, the roof originally supported by two pillars, long since robbed, and beyond that, on the N, a series of store rooms and the remains of a stairway leading to the roof. The main passage leads to a large hall, the roof of which was held up by 14 square pillars. At the N and S. sides of this hall are two long narrow chambers intended for statues. This first hall leads to a long and narrow second hall, also with 14 square pillars, and on into the great court of the temple surrounded by a colonnade supported on heavy rectangular pillars, against each of which was a large statue of the king. On the W side of this court were the five niches (which became an invariable feature of later mortuary temples) and S of this a corridor leads to five small storerooms lying directly behind the niches. At the W end of the temple is a long narrow shrine in the centre of which was a large granite stele. A passage on the N side connects the central court with the pyramid court.

Flanking the mortuary temple are what appear to be six boat-pits, two pairs lying parallel to the N and S walls of the temple. No boats or wood were found in these pits which contained only pottery and statue fragments.

At the centre of the S side of the pyramid is a Small Pyramid, originally some 20.lm sq. Most of the superstructure has been quarried away and practically nothing is now to be seen except the entry passage. W of the pyramid, outside the main enclosure wall, were many rectangular rooms (26.75m by 2.90m) thought to have been the barracks block of the workers employed on the structure.

It used to be possible to walk from the Mortuary Temple down the Causeway (550m), the walls of which have disappeared except near the Valley Temple, sometimes called the Granite Temple. It was discovered in 1852 by Mariette and partly cleared by him in 1860 and again in 1869. (A wall now prevents access to the Valley Temple from the Causeway.) This is the most complete of all the buildings in the complex, standing up to roof height. The core is limestone lined with red granite, finely polished and closely jointed, and giving the temple its alternative name. The temple faces E and opens on to a quay fronting a canal (never excavated). It is 45m sq. with the 13-m high walls still standing. There are two entrances on the E side, each with an inscription giving the royal titles of which only part remain. The entrances lead into a narrow antechamber and then into a T-shaped room where, in front of the pillars, 23 diorite statues of the king stood. Broken fragments of these were found in a pit in the antechamber but one was complete and is now in the EM. Enough of the walls remain for the slit windows at their tops to be still visible. Three side chambers on the S side of the main hall may have served as store rooms, and a further chamber leads off the passage which was in line with the causeway leading to the mortuary temple. Probably flanking each of the outer doors was a pair of sphinxes.

To the N of the causeway just where it leaves the temple is the figure of The Sphinx (Ar. Abu 1-hawl; the wonderful, or terrible, one), the mythical animal with the body of a lion and head of a man, partly fashioned out of a natural knoll and partly built-up.

This figure has been cleared by various people starting with the French engineers of Napoleon's expedition. In 1816 Captain Caviglia excavated the Sphinx, starting on the N. He noted the double casing on the body and paws and the remains of red pigment with which one side had been painted, but he had great difficulty clearing the shifting sand from the front, where he found the stele of Tuthmosis IV. By the 18 Dyn. the small 4 Dyn. temple in front of the Sphinx was totally covered and had been forgotten while later, in the Roman period, a stairway and ramp were built over the whole thing. Mariette failed to clear it when dealing with the valley temple in the 1860s and the work was carried on by Maspero who again had neither the time nor the money to finish it. This activity led to many stories of hidden entrances, treasures and trapdoors, all without foundation. Nothing more was done until 1925 when Baraize was entrusted with the task of clearing away the sand which had again covered the Sphinx and he built large coffer-like walls (demolished by Selim Hassan in 1936-37), cleared th~ whole area and repaired the various holes that his predecessors had made in the monument. It is now more or less complete except that the beard and part of the ureaus and nose are missing.

The Sphinx dates to the period of Khafre (4 Dyn.). Although it has his face, it does not represent him but rather a guardian deity of the necropolis, a god known variously as Hwron or Rwty. During the Middle Kingdom it was, with other sphinxes, known as seshep-ankh (the living statue) and by the New Kingdom it was associated with the sun god and regarded as a version of Hor-em-akhet or Hor-akhty (Horus of the Horizon), an appropriate name as the whole cemetery was called Akhet Khufu or the Horizon of Khufu. During the Ptolemaic period the Sphinx must have been freed from sand as a poem was found scratched, in Greek, on its toes; in part it reads:

Our ornaments are festive clothes,

Not the arms of War,

Our hands hold not the scimitar,

But the fraternal cup of the banquet;

And all night long while the sacrifices are burning

We sing songs to Harmakis (Hor-em-Akhet)

And our heads are decorated with garlands.

(from Selim Hassan, The Sphinx and its Secrets)

The Sphinx, being made of soft stone, has suffered considerably from erosion. Blocks of limestone used for restoration, probably in the Ptolemaic period, may be seen on its paws, tail and flanks. It is now suffering great damage from the rising water-table and parts of it have become detached. In front of it is the granite stele placed there on the orders of Tuthmosis IV (1423-1417 BC).

He rested in the shade of the Sphinx one day while hunting in the Valley of the Gazelles and because he had a dream which promised him the throne if he cleared it of sand, did so. This stele was not the only one discovered in the area. It was apparently a standard practice to erect a stele worshipping the Sphinx and the other gods of the locality and it seems to a certain extent to have been a place of pilgrimage, particularly frequented in the 18 Dyn. The earliest of these stelae was one of Prince Amen-mes, a son of Tuthmosis I (c 1525--1512 BC). However, the most interesting is a series of stelae which may have been erected by the brothers of Tuthmosis IV, of whom he may have had to dispose before the prophecy of the Sphinx could be fulfilled. Amenhotep II is known to have built a temple here, and erected a large stele. The 19 Dyn. kings continued to erect monuments here, including Ramesses II.

Beyond the paws is the Temple of the Sphinx, a solid structure of limestone faced with granite, also of the 4 Dyn. In the facade are two entrances leading to a colonnaded court. The pillars must each have been fronted by a statue probably also of Khafre, and there was a large offering table in the middle of the Courtyard.

The third pyramid to the S is

The Pyramid of Menkaure

(called 'Menkaure i'° divine'). It is the smallest of the group and was built between 2533 and 2505 BC, although finished by Menkaure's son Shepseskaf. The lower 16 courses were cased in granite, but the rest was never completed. The main pyramid is built on the edge of the sloping plattau and originally stood 66.5m high and 108m sq. at the base. The angle of the sides is 51°. The Entry (A) is in the N face about 4m above the surface of the limestone platform; the descending passage (B) with a slope of 26°2' is 31m long, faced with granite blocks. It leads, after passing through a panelled vestibule (the original burial chamber) and a horizontal passage with three portcullises, into the underground Burial Chamber (D). This is lower than the earlier chamber (C) and is cut entirely in the' rock, but lined with granite.

Here Colonel Vyse found a panelled basalt sarcophagus which was lost at sea off the Spanish coast when the ship carrying it to England sank during a storm. He also found some bones, and the fragments of a wooden coffin inscribed with the name of Menkaure, at first thought to be his original coffin dating to the 4 Dyn. However, the type of inscription suggests that it was a 26 Dyn. replacement (now in the BM).

S of the pyramid stand three Subsidiary Pyramids, none of which has been completed; each with a small mortuary chapel on the E, finished in mud-bricks, probably the work of Shepseskaf. The largest of these, the East Pyramid, cased in granite blocks, was probably intended for Queen Khameremebty 11, Menkaure's principal wife. It is 44.3m sq.

by 28.27m high. The Mortuary Chapel is relatively large-21m by 25m. The Central Pyramid was used and the burial chamber contained a granite sarcophagus with an inner coffin which contained the bones of a young woman, probably another of Menkaure • s wives. The West Pyramid was perhaps never used. The Mortuary Temple of Menkaure's pyramid is on its E side. It is well preserved; the walls of local limestone, intended to be lined with granite, were finished off instead in mud brick with a thin limestone facing. A long entrance corridor leads from the causeway to the central court, on the W side of which are six square red granite pillars and in the centre a basin and drains. Behind the W side is a long narrow room, and, on the N side, reached by a narrow passage, are five small rooms but, to the S, the temple never seems to have been finished. At the W end is a small sanctuary set right against the pyramid, paved with red granite with traces of an offering table before a false door.

This temple is linked to the Valley Temple by a Causeway (660m) passing the curious Tomb of Queen Khentkawes on the left (see below). The Valley Temple now buried under sand, though originally cleared by George Reisner, lies very close to the Muslim cemetery of the village of Nazlat al-Samman and is, to a certain extent, covered by the modem graves.

It was built of mud brick, with only the thresholds and paving in stone. The E entrance opened into a small vestibule, with storerooms on either side, four in all. A door in the back of the vestibule leads into the main courtyard which had a mud-brick wall decorated with niches, a mud-brick pavement and a limestone basin and drain. A gangway led to a hall, with the roof supported by six pillars behind which was the sanctuary, with six chambers on one side and five on the other. In the S room were found the complete and fragmentary triads in alabaster and slate representing Menkaure, Hathor and the gods of the various nomes (now in the EM and the Boston Museum). The causeway was paved with limestone blocks covered with mud brick, as were the walls. It was roofed with palm logs and joined the enclosure wall, although Reisner found no direct connection with the main part of the temple.

S of the pyramids is the Tomb of Queen Khentkawes, shaped like a giant sarcophagus, excavated by Selim Hassan in 1931-32. It is built on a limestone outcrop into which the Mortuary Temple is also cut.

Queen Khentkawes seems to have been the bridging figure between the 4 and 5 Dyns and may have been the wife of Shepseskaf. She appears to have been the mother of at least two kings, judging from her titles, and to have reigned at a time when the male line was almost extinct. Her husband may not have been royal, perhaps a priest of the sun god, and she is probably the inspiration for a story found in the Westcar Papyrus about the throne leaving the direct family of Khufu. This queen may also have had a small pyramid built at Abiir (Rte 24).

The entry to the substructure is to the W from the second room of the temple. The rock foundations are almost square, measuring 45.5m each way, and 10m high. The superstructure is much smaller-27.5m by 21m and 7.5m high. The outer walls were recessed like the palace fac;ade and later they were lined with fine limestone blocks, but these have now fallen away leaving the skeleton of the structure exposed. It was enclosed by a mud-brick wall, and has at least one rock-cut boat-pit in the SE comer.

rock-cut tombs, usually associated with the king whose pyramid they surround (most are inaccessible to general visitors). One of those which may be seen near the pyramid of Khufu is the Tomb of Meres- ankh m (G.1530),..wifeofKhafre, whichliesunderthatofhermother

Hetep-heres II (daughter of Khufu and wife of King Redjedef), and dates to the end of the 4 Dyn. It consists of a small ruined interior chapel and inscribed niche. Under the chapel is a large subterranean rock-cut tomb-chapel of three rooms. The doorway has her name and titles and probably dates to the time of Shepseskaf. It is interesting in that it gives the time taken to prepare the mummy after death. Inside scenes show sculptors and metal smiths at work and on the left the deceased is shown with a lotus flower. There are three registers of offering bearers, officials and funerary priests. The false door, almost opposite the main entry, shows the deceased at table and on the pillar in the centre is the offering text,Meres-ankh in a papyrus boat with her mother Hetep-heres pulling the papyrus. Other registers show mat-making, birds in cages, men bringing birds and cattle and boatmen fighting; usual scenes in Old Kingdom tombs.

(1) Titles on lintel. (2) Occupations: scribes, sculptors, goldsmiths, carpenters. (3) Deceased with officials. (4) False door. (5) Offering texts on lintel. (6) Mother, Hetepheres II with children. (7) On pillars, deceased with two young sons. (8) Father, Kawab and mother in boat; agricultural scenes. (10) Offering lists. (11) False door flanked by rock-cut statues of deceased and mother and stelae. (12) Deceased with musicians and wine-making scenes. (13) Agricultural occupations. (14) Deceased with accounts. (15) Niche with ten rock-cut statues: from left, three of daughters, four of deceased, three of mother.

Just S of the causeway of Khufu's pyramid is another easily-visited tomb, the Tomb of Meryre~ufer, called Qar (G. 7101), overseer of the pyramid towns of Khufu and Menkaure. This dates to the beginning of the 6 Dyn. and is a stone-built mastaba. His wife was Gefi, a priestess of Hathor. The mastaba consists \of a staircase passage, a court room and an offering chamber. On the stairway the deceased is shown at table and there are remains of a marsh scene. In the court are depicted funerary priests, offerings and a good funeral scene. On the pillar in the centre of the first room are the names and titles of the deceased and pictures of him in a chair with his dog, accompanied by his sisters. Some of the reliefs from here are now in the Boston Museum.

(1) Deceased at table. (2) Hunting with son, Idu. (3) At table. (4) Funerary rites. (5) Deceased at table with wife, Gefi. (6) Architrave, titles of deceased. (7) Sister of deceased. (8) Deceased carried by attendants. (9) Five statues of Qar and one of his son, Idu. (10) Offering texts with deceased as priest. (11) Offering list. (12) Deceased and wife at table. (13) False door.

Slightly to the E and also dated to the early 6 Dyn. is the stone-built Mastaba of ldu (G. 1102), son of Qar. Idu was inspector of the w'b-priests of Khufu and Khafre and overseer of scribes. The doorway leading from the court has biographical details on the jambs. The narrow chapel contains a bust of ldu with a list of the sacred oils and offering bearers, butchers, dancers and a scene• of hunting in the marshes. A niche contains five rock-cut statues of ldu and his son, Qar.

(1) Biographical text, deceased with son, Qar, funeral scenes. (2) Deceased with wife, Meri.totes. (3) False door. (4) Offerings. (5) Deceased and register of entertainments and occupations. (6) Men in boats, animals. (7) Niche with four statues of Idu and one of Qar.

Between the Sph 'nx and the Pyramid of Khufu is the Tomb of Pakap (LG. 84), good name Wehebre-emakhet, overseer of scribes at the king's meal, of the 26 Dyn. It is also called 'Campbell's tomb', as it was discovered by Colonel Vyse in 1831 and named by him after the British consul-general in Egypt. The superstructure has been destroyed but there is a line of text round the substructure. The shaft, just over 16m deep, leads to a vaulted burial chamber which contained two sarcophagi (the inner one of basalt is now in the BM). In the subsidiary chambers are other burials of the 26 and 21 Dyns.

The Tomb of Hetepheres I cannot be visited, but the material (now in the EM) from here is so important that a word must be said about the circumstances of its discovery.

In 1925 the photographer of the Boston Museum Expedition, under the direction of George Reisner, was working near the N end of the row of small pyramids attached to that of Khufu when his tripod sank. Investigation showed a shaft, but no superstructure. The shaft had been carefully filled with limestone blocks and was about 30m deep. The small burial chamber (Sm by 2.Sm) was packed with a sarcophagus and canopic jar, both of alabaster, the frame for a canopy, a bed, chair, carrying chair and a mass of pottery, stone vases, silver bracelets, toilet objects such as razors and perfume vases, but there was no body. The arrangement of the objects was the reverse of that usually found in unplundered graves with the sarcophagus put in last.

It is possible, though not certain, that this was a reburial of Hetepheres, mother of Khufu, builder of the great pyramid and wife of Snefru. She had obviously died during the reign of Khufu as the inscriptions call her 'Mother of the King' and the tomb had clay seatings bearing the impressions of his funerary officials. One theory accounting for her reburial is that she was originally interred at Dahshiir near her husband's pyramid, but this tomb being robbed soon after, she was reburied for greater security near her son's pyramid. This presupposes that the body was destroyed during the tomb robbery and that Khufu's officials were afraid to tell him of this destruction. No tomb that can be attributed to her has been found at Dahshur though this area has not been completely investigated.


Ancient wonders. Hidden treasures. Endless seas and golden sand. Make lifelong memories on our Egypt tours.

Once a land of dynasties and decadence; now a land where time stands still. Our Egypt Journeys sets you in the shadows of history. At the foot of the legendary Great Pyramids. In the heart of the tomb-strewn Valley of the Kings. Or before the mighty temples of Abu Simbel.

That's not all. Our tours to Egypt offer what money can't buy. Like once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Rare experiences. And life-long friendships with your fellow travellers


A-8 days in Egypt, including a Nile River cruise and professional, private guides, will cost approximately $1,500 per person. Not bad considering this estimate also includes private guides for all of the sites and attractions.

A-There is no FCO advice against travel to Cairo, Alexandria, the tourist areas along the Nile, and the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada. The section of the country between the Nile and the Red Sea is also considered mostly safe.

A-If weather is your primary concern, the best time to visit Egypt is during the northern hemisphere fall, winter or early spring (October to April), when temperatures are lower. To avoid the crowds at ancient sites like the Pyramids of Giza, Luxor, and Abu Simbel, try to avoid peak season (December and January).

A- An Egypt visa is required for most travelers including American and British passport holders. Americans and citizens fro 40 other countries can obtain an Egypt visa on arrival at the Cairo International airport at the bank kiosks before the immigration counters for $25 USD and are valid for visits up to 30 days.

A-Pants, Capris, Leggings, and Shorts...Basically, as long as your knees are covered, you are good. So whether you choose pants or capris, you will feel comfortable and remain respectful. Local women wear long pants or skirts.

A-On our Egypt tours that travel south to Aswan, include 3 or 4 night Nile cruise as standard. There is always the option to upgrade to a 5 star Luxury Nile cruise, which offers well–appointed and outward facing cabins.

A-The fixed deposit amount is 25% of the tours total price Except for Egypt Christmas tours, new years and other peak seasons where the deposit goes up to 50%.