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Saqqara, Memphis, and the Pyramids of Giza

This was a really amazing day.  We hired a car and driver and a guide for the day to see the monuments.  The guide was a real Egyptologist and had TONS of information about ancient Egypt.

Or first stop was Saqqara which lies a few miles south of Cairo.  Here the monumental Step Pyramid of Djoser was built around 2650 BC.  This was important because is was the first Egyptian pyramid built of stone and it set the precident for all the other pyramids, including the Great Pyramid of Giza.  While we were there, we also went to the tomb of Unas.  The walls of this tomb contained the first Pyramid Texts, which were used to decorate the tombs, as well as providing instructions to the desceased on how to navigate the afterlife.  This later was used in scrolls and became the “Book of the Dead”.

Our next stop was Memphis, which used to be the old capital of Egypt.  When the Pharoah Narmer unified Upper and Lower Egypt, he moved the capital to Memphis.  When the city Alexandria was formed, Memphis fell into decline.  Today it is an open air museum.

The most memorable part of the day, of course, was seeing the Great Pyramid of Giza.  I heard it was big, but I was unprepared for how huge it is.  When new, it was over 490 feet tall, which is comparitive to the Washington Monument in Washington D.C.  It was made of some 2.4 million stone blocks weighing roughly 2.5 tons each.  Unbelievable!  We also saw the other two pyramids of Giza, as well as the famous Sphinx.

We also made two other stops.  One was to a place where perfume was made using only pure essential oil.  I got some Jasmine oil that smells heavenly.  We also went to a place where we were taught how papyrus is made.  There are quite a few Egyptian artists that are getting in touch with their ancestors by producing paintings on papyrus.  They were so beautiful that we decided to get one as a sovenir.

Today was a very wonderful day!!!

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