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Africa + Middle East,



See + Do

The Pyramids, Egypt

Giza, Egypt

There are actually more than 100 pyramids scattered along the west bank of the Nile across from Cairo—ancient Egyptian burials were always made on the western, sunset side of the river—but they all pale in comparison to Giza's three massive wonders. The smaller two pyramids, dedicated to Menkaure and Khafre, are respectively 203 and 471 feet high; they flank the 4,500-year-old Great Pyramid of Khufu (better known by his Greek name, Cheops), sole surviving Wonder of the Ancient World. The Great Pyramid's sheer numbers boggle the mind: It covers 13 acres, is 483 feet high, measures 760 feet along the base, and is made up of 2.3 million stone blocks. Every visitor should do the bent-over shuffle into the burial chamber deep in the heart of the Great Pyramid—it's just a small, bare stone room, but irresistible all the same. Access is limited, with just two sets of admission issued: 150 in the morning, 150 more in the afternoon. The best bet is to be at the main gate when it opens, then charge up the hill straight to the separate ticket office next to the Great Pyramid and get in line to buy early-afternoon entry (if you get a taxi here from your hotel, have the driver take you right up to the ticket booth inside, otherwise tour buses will beat you to it). Then you can spend the whole morning wandering the Giza plateau, checking out the extraordinary Sphinx, examining the other pyramids and necropolises, and shelling out a few dollars to jump up on a camel and be led across the sand so you can pose for the requisite photo against a backdrop of pyramids. The park is open daily 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (to 5 p.m. in September).

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.