Today we took a full day tour seeing several ancient Egyptian sites! After getting picked up in the morning by our guide, we first drove to Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt. There, we went to an outdoor museum containing several ancient statues!
The first one we saw was of Ramses II and it was massive! The red granite statue weighs over 80 tons and used to stand upright. Did I also mention that like most objects we saw, it is over 3,000 years old?
I also really enjoyed this small sphinx from the New Kingdom. It is built in the likeness of Queen Hatshepsut. When she became Queen, she apparently declared herself a pharaoh, dressing in men’s clothes and ruling as a man. She is known for building many temples and other structures. However, after her death, her husband attempted to have her name erased and all of her buildings and statues, destroyed.
We saw several other statues and sarcophagi, each with detailed hieroglyphics depicting the gods or scenes from everyday life.
Once we left Memphis, we drove to Saqqara to see the first pyramid ever built in Egypt, the Pyramid of Djoser (also known as the step pyramid). It was built by Imhotep for Pharoah Djoser around 2600 BC.
Nearby are the tombs Djoser built with the pyramid. We were able to go in and see 3 of them!
On the walls on the inside, we were still able to see some of the original colors used to paint the detailed pictures! It was amazing seeing the work of people almost 5,000 years ago, still intact in its original location!
Our next stop was a shop where we watched and learned how to make papyrus paper! While there, we purchased this artwork on handmade papyrus! They also included our names in hieroglyphics!
We then drove a little ways to a shop where they sell natural perfumes from different flowers! The man explained that they had been doing this for 5 generations. We got to smell different combinations and learn about traditional Egyptian scents. I bought two different small perfumes, both Egyptian scents that I fell in love with! One is a sweet one from the lotus flower and the other is a mixture called Arabian Nights.
Then, it was time for lunch! We ate at a small nearby restaurant with a traditional meal! We had Egyptian pita bread with grilled chicken, rice, veggies, and hummus-like spreads! Man was it all good!
From the pictures below you can see the middle pyramid (the one with the little cap). It looks like it is larger than the one on the left, but it is just up higher on a hill! It was built by the son of the pharoah who built the Great Pyramid. Instead of building a larger one, the son just wanted his to be higher and look bigger than his father’s.
The third pyramid that you can see on the right is built by the son of the second pyramid pharoah. His is significantly smaller than the other two. On the far right of the picture are 3 little tiny pyramids. They are for the wife and children of the third pyramid pharoah.
Next, we visited the building where Pharoahs and Queens were mummified. It is built out of giant red granite stones brought all the way up the Nile from the south of Egypt!
Then, finally, we saw the Sphinx! It was built by the second pyramid pharoah to protect the entire area. The body of the lion represents power, whereas the human head represents intelligence.
From Giza, we drove back to our hotel!