Daily Archives: March 27, 2009

Memphis and its Necropolis: the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur

Posted by on March 27, 2009

World Heritage Site #57: Memphis and its Necropolis: the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur

Memphis and its Necropolis: the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur: My 57th UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for Memphis and its Necropolis: the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur:

The capital of the Old Kingdom of Egypt has some extraordinary funerary monuments, including rock tombs, ornate mastabas, temples, and pyramids. In ancient times, the site was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

There isn’t much I can say about the pyramids because everyone has seen at least one National Geographic special on them and probably did a presentation on them in 4th grade. Visiting the pyramids was one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve ever had from a tourist perspective.

Overview

Memphis and its Necropolis: the Pyramid Fields from Giza to DahshurMemphis and its Necropolis: the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur is a cultural site inscribed into the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Egypt in 1979. The secular structure and burial site is not just a popular tourist attraction, it is also an important cultural site that shaped the history of this country. The Pyramids have earned universal recognition for its exception construction methods. In addition, it also represents an important civilization that is deeply embedded in Egypt’s history.

Memphis is the capital of the Old Kingdom of Egypt. It was founded in 3100 BC and served as capital until 2200 BC. Memphis and its ruins are located south of Cairo and on the western bank of Nile River. Among these ruins are temples, pyramids, rock tombs, and other funerary monuments.

How to Get Here

If you want to visit Memphis and its Necropolis: the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur, your best jump-off point is via Cairo. Once in Cairo, you can take a bus at Midan Tahrir in order to get to the pyramids. Mida Tahrir is a public square located in the central part of Cairo. Once you arrive, you can ride a horse or camel to get to the pyramids. When you ride with animals, make sure to pay only when you arrive or else you will be forced to pay for another ride if your first option goes lame.

Another option is to ride a taxi to the pyramids. The taxis in Cairo are black and white in color. Important reminder when riding a taxi: single women should sit on the back. Sitting in front would be seen as sexual invitation.

Finally, you can purchase a tour bus ticket through your hotel. You will be picked up at your hotel and be taken to the pyramids. In addition, a tour guide will accompany you to the Pyramids.

Giza and Dahshur

Memphis and its Necropolis: the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur

Giza is composed of ancient monuments with the Pyramid of Giza being the most popular one. Within Giza, you will find historical structures and monuments. The Great Pyramids of Giza consist of three pyramid complexes. There is also a massive sculpture known as the Great Sphinx. Other features within the complex of ancient monuments in Giza are worker’s village, industrial complex and several cemeteries.

Dahshur is home to a royal necropolis located at the heart of the desert. It is located roughly 40 kilometers from Cairo. Like Giza, Dahshur is also home to several pyramids. Two of these pyramids are the oldest and largest in Egypt: Red Pyramid and Bent Pyramid.

About the Egyptian Pyramids

Memphis and its Necropolis: the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur

When it comes to the Egyptian pyramids, they do not need any introduction. This is the only structure from the list of ancient Seven Wonders of the World that still exists until today. It is also Africa’s most popular monument and tourist attraction. These massive structures are tombs of pharaohs and their antiquity is one of the most interesting features about them. In fact, it is not only the largest stone monument in the world, but also the earliest.

Memphis and its Necropolis: the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur is a collection of the best and most enduring structures. Hence, UNESCO together with the Department of Antiquities of Giza (made up of Egyptian conservators and architects) are working together to build a site management plan focused on conservation of the key structures within the ancient city of Memphis, as well as Giza and Dahshur.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Egypt.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Apr 21, 2017 @ 7:32 am

Shalom! First Thoughts of Israel

Posted by on March 27, 2009

I have arrived Israel.

40 years ago, Apollo 8 took the famous photo of the Earth rising over the surface of the Moon. After that photo, many people ooohed and aaaahed about how when you look at the Earth from space, there are no borders or countries and everyone is really just part of one big human race.

I get what they are trying to say, but the reality is we do live in a world with borders and those borders can mean a great deal. Life on one side of an arbitrary line in the dirt can be totally different than life on the other. That really hit home when I started my trip on an Amtrack train and was about 100m from the Mexican border outside of El Paso, TX.

I am sitting only a few miles from where I was last night, but it seems like a world away. I can literally SEE Aqaba from where I’m sitting. It is right there. I can see the hotel I was at last night. If Aqaba and Eilat were in the same country, I could probably walk there in under an hour. Yet, that line I crossed today has changed a lot.

The border crossing was strange. I was the only person crossing during the entire time I was there. Leaving Jodan was very professional and straight forward. The crossing is a few miles out of Aqaba, but not too far. I had to pay a 5 dinar exit fee which I didn’t know about, and was glad I still had a few dinars on me.

Once the Jordanians let me go, I walked with my backpack alone down the middle of a 100m road between the checkpoints with fencing and razor wire on each side. It was the sort of scene you’d see when trading prisoners of war. (I don’t want to give the impression the border was hostile or militarized. It was actually very casual on both sides. I’ve seen US/Canadian border crossings which seemed more tense.)

Where as the Jordanians were in military uniforms, the Israelis were dressed very casually. Also, most of the security team on the Israeli side were female. The security check was very straight forward and quick. They did go through my camera and lenses, but nothing else out of the ordinary.

The passport control desk is where I expected problems. They asked why I was in the UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar. I said, “I am traveling around the world”. They then preceded to ask me a ton of questions including the name of my father and his father (who passed away 40 years ago). They also asked me if I had an email address, and I used that opportunity to give them my URL and to tell them about my website and that they should check it out. I think it helped.

I assume they sent the information to some office somewhere, where they ran a check on me. I’m sure if they looked at my website, it added credibility to my story and help convince them I was not a terrorist. The total time from crossing the line to being given the OK to leave was about 90 minutes. Most of the people I asked on Twitter assumed it would take about two hours. Some guessed seven to eight hours.

Life on this side of the line is very different. Different language, system of writing, religion, ethics, morals, politics and aesthetic. I should note that Aqaba is a very nice city. I enjoyed it very much. I didn’t move from the third world to the first. It was a lateral move in terms of the development levels between the two cities. Also, Jordan is probably the most liberal Arab country I’ve visited.

While Aqaba is a resort town, Eilat is really a resort town. You look in the water and there are tons of sailboards and jetskis, hundreds of people sunning themselves on the beach, and swimsuits. Girls in swimsuits. Having mostly seen women in hijabs for the last three months, it was sort of jarring to see that (but welcome!)

Eilat is certainly more expensive than Aqaba. I poked my head in a McDonald’s in a mall across the street from where I’m staying to look at the menu. About $7 for a regular size value meal.

I should also note on this inaugural post from Israel that I am not going to write about the political problems between the Palestinians and Israelis while I’m here. I’m planning to visit some Palestinian communities in the West Bank and I may write about it more in depth once I’ve left the region and have had some time to think about it. Suffice it to say I’m not ignorant of what is happening and I am not going to ignore what is happening while I’m here, even if I’m not writing about it every day.