Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day Three-The Pyramids, Sphinx, Memphis and Saqquara

Our first real day in Egypt was absolutely incredible! We got up bright and early and headed over to the great pyramids of Giza. There are actually over 100 pyramids in Egypt, but these three are the largest and the most famous. In fact, they are the only remaining wonders of the ancient world. They are 5,000 years old and absolutely massive-each one is made of over 3 million 2 ton stones and is over 450 feet tall! We got to go inside one them and discovered that the ancient Egyptians must have been very short because the tunnel was only about three or four feet high and required some serious ducking to get through. Once inside we visited the burial chamber and got to lay inside the tomb that once held the mummy of King Khufu-pretty cool! The pyramids were definitely one of the things I was looking forward to seeing most in Egypt and they were everything I was hoping they would be.

After the pyramids we made the quick trip over to the sphinx. The sphinx is smaller than you think it is going to be, but considering it was carved out of a single mass of rock it is still pretty impressive. And yes, its nose is still missing!

Next we went to Memphis-the capital city of Old Kingdom Egypt from 3100 BC. A ton of Egyptian history happened there and from the gospel standpoint it is important because Abraham, Sarah, Joseph, and Moses all spent significant time there. There were some awesome statues there, a smaller sphinx, and a massive statue of Ramses II.

me trying to be statuesque haha

After Memphis we stopped by the papyrus institute where they taught us how to make papyrus which was fascinating. The process is genius and the papyrus paintings they had there were absolutely gorgeous. (sorry no pictures) Our last stop of the afternoon was Saqquara-the famous Egyptian steppe pyramid and the main cemetery of Memphis. The pyramid itself was cool, but the tombs inside, were even cooler! The painting reliefs inside were scenes of daily Egyptian life and our tour guide Islam pointed all of the interesting details out to us.

After Saqquara we rushed off to the airport and got on an hour long flight to Luxor and checked into the Sheraton Hotel. The hotel was super nice (five stars) with huge bedrooms and only two to a room. The JC knows how to treat its students well! It was nice to be feel like we were sleeping in a clean bed after feeling so dirty in the city all day. It was weird to still have to be super careful not to get any water in my mouth or eyes in the shower at such a nice place, but some things in Egypt never change!

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