DAY 13 – SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29: CAIRO: MEMPHIS, SAKKARA, PYRAMIDS & SPHINX
Today was our full day here in Egypt and of the tour. The weather was remarkably clear here in Cairo, with great air quality and perfect temps in the 60s.
We all enjoyed a later breakfast and departure. Leaving the hotel at 8:30, we drove to Memphis. On the way we read from Jeremiah 46 who mentions this ancient city. Memphis was the capital of the Old Kingdom. The drive to the site was a cultural experience, seeing the poverty of most Egyptians in this area. Memphis was the capital of the Old Kingdom. At the site we saw an alabaster sphinx and a large statue of Ramses II.
Nearby is the site of the oldest pyramid of the 113 so far discovered here in Egypt. Sakkara served as the burial ground for ancient Memphis. Here we first went into the tomb of Teti, the last king of the 6th Dynasty. It is unique in that it has inscribing on the walls of the inner chamber consisting of 228 prayers. It dates to 2230 BC. Next, we went into a mastaba tomb of a nobleman named Ka-Gmni. The reliefs inside the tomb depicted his daily life. It was done with great detail. We also saw a mud brick wall that had straw in it. It predates the Israelites by about 500 years. Lastly, we saw the famous Stepped Pyramid of Djoser. This dates to around around 2,700 BC. It was designed by Imhotep. It stands 200 feet tall and is made of smaller stones.
“Today blew me away with seeing the pyramids! Having read about the pyramids since I was a kid, it was surreal to stand beside the big ones. Even the Sakkara stepped pyramid was impressive. And to think these pre-date Abraham by about 600 years!” -Tour Member-
We drove to Giza where we stopped briefly in a papyri store. We were shown how parchment from papyri is made. We also grabbed a quick lunch at an On the Run “7-11” type gas station.
The Pyramids & Great Sphinx
The highlight of the day was to visit the Pyramids. The three seen here (plus a few smaller ones and others seen on the horizon) served as burial chambers during the Old Kingdom. The pyramids were built by Pharaohs Khufu (or Cheops, the tallest one at 450 feet), Khafre (447 feet high), and Menkaure (218 feet high). Khufu’s pyramid dates to around 2,550 BC. This one consists of about 2.1 million stones and was built over about a 20 year period. We got several great perspectives of them, including a panoramic view. Here many in the group rode camels back to the 3rd pyramid. It was lots of fun. Down on the lower slope below the pyramids we saw the Great Sphinx. It measures 240 feet long and 66 feet high.
We drove back to Cairo and our hotel along the Nile River for dinner. We retired early in anticipation of our early wake-up call at 3:15 am. We plan to leave for the airport at 3:45 for our morning flights home.