Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sphinxes and Thinxes

Back from Cairo - an astonishing city. (And blog title completely stolen from a cute email from John.) More on Cairo itself later, but first, a wee account of pyramid hunting in Giza and Saqqara.

Saqqara is a huge ancient burial ground where the world's oldest step pyramid sits. The pyramid was built as the tomb for the pharaoh Djoser and dates from 2667-2648 BC. The photo below shows this pyramid as well as a remaining section of wall adorned with cobras that protected the burial grounds. Amazingly, our guide was this Indiana Jones type character - a real Egyptologist - who knew everyone guarding these monuments and was able to show us things the general public is forbidden to visit. I actually crawled into this tomb and down a ladder to see the mummy of Neffer, who was Djoser's singer. This tomb was discovered in 1965 and is one of the only tombs on the burial ground that still contains the original mummy.

When I visited Giza to see the three pyramids and the Great Sphinx, the private viewing miraculously continued. I was the only person standing next to the Spinx (photo above) and actually touched it (and made a wish). It was very difficult to get my head around the fact that I was in the middle of Egypt touching the Sphinx as the pyramids loomed over me - these larger than life wonders that I have seen in photographs for my entire life. And also unbelievable was seeing the hieroglyphics etched into stone, and wall paintings still holding brilliant pigment, that have survived for almost 5000 years. It was a sandy, dirty, exhilarating day.


rj'd said...

imagine what you could have experienced had egyptologist dr. joann fletcher been your guide

Hilaire said...

Oh my god...that's amazing!!

Sarah said...

Did you know that Joann Fletcher is now banned from working in Egypt by the antiquities council?

And yes, Hilaire - it was amazing!