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Cairo/Giza

4,048 bytes added, 15:09, 29 September 2013
Splurge
The city / district of Giza is important as a secondary - and increasingly popular - option for travellers for food, accommodation and entertainment beyond central Cairo. Most of these services are concentrated along the local transport artery, the Pyramids Road.
The desert plateau of Giza, adjacent to the Pyramids, will eventually form the site of the Grand Museum of Egypt [http://www.gem.gov.eg/] (the competition-winning design conceived by an Irish architectural team led by Shih-Fu Peng), the long-awaited primary replacement for the long-standing Egyptian Museum in [[Cairo/Midan Tahrir|Midan Tahrir]]. Completion has been projected for 20122013.
===Background===
===By metro===
Metro Line 2 now runs from Cairo into Giza, although it doesn't go all the way to the Pyramids. Get off at Giza station (not the terminus!). The pyramids are 8 km, 15-20 min trip due southwest on the long Al-Haram avenue that the train crosses over just before stopping at the station. That's effectively a 'right turn' from the line you've just been taking. Any number of minibuses and buses go to the site (known as 'al-haram' in Arabic'); they include the green public 900 and 997 busesbut i wouldn't recommend taking public transportation because you can get ripped off and recently Egypt hasn't been the safest place.a taxi to the pyramids wouldn't be so expensive and if you take the white taxis they should have a meter, if the driver doesn't run the meter just open the door and pretend like you are getting off and he should run it (he should turn it on before the car moves).
===By taxi===
The Pyramids may be nearer than you think, so it's possible to take a tax taxi to the Pyramids from any part of Cairoat a reasonable cost, and it's certainly the fastest and easiest method. There are essentially two options for this, unmetered & metered:
Older black & white taxis - meters are not used, so don't forget to [[haggle]]. Taxi drivers will nearly always want to take you to see their "brother's" perfume shop, or their "father's" carpet warehouse on the way - if you don't want to waste time doing this, and being put on the spot to make a purchase - just make it very clear that you only want to see the antiquities.
Even cheaper and more interesting is taking the ordinary buses 900 or 997, costing 50 piastres, from the big central bus station under the overpasses, close to the museum. There are three lanes, and they leave from one closest to the rundown controllers' booth (as of late July 2010). Be careful when about getting down, most people will be honest and help you, but you may encounter scammers who take you to their camels instead of to the pyramids. For 997, the correct spot is along a long avenue, after you're spotted the Pyramids and the bus has done a U-turn and then turned left — get off when you a see a blue sign for the Light and Sound show.
 
==Get around==
 
There is a restroom located to the right of the ticket booth just before you enter the pyramids. The attendant will demand LE 1 from all foreigners. Another restroom is located near the gift shop in the Solar Barque Museum, though there is no sign and you will have to ask the shopkeeper to open the bathroom door for you. A "W.C." sign located outside of the Sphinx exit will direct you to the right, where a restroom attendant charges foreigners the exorbitant price of LE 3. You can avoid this if you simply go straight and exit the pyramids and use the free bathroom located opposite of the exit on the third floor of the Pizza Hut/KFC restaurant.
==See==
All the worthwhile attractions within the Giza area are concentrated on the '''Giza Plateau''' at the end of Pyramids Road. Some people are shocked to travel down a street in Giza and see the tip of a Pyramid rise up over the golden arches of a McDonalds with a sign in Arabic - your idea of pyramids rising up out of an empty desert might not match the reality.
There are two ticket offices: the first is near the main entrace, the second - near Sphinx, in the eastern part of the Plateau. If you use the second one in the morning you will avoid crowds of tourists and will have a possibility to explore the Sphinx area all alone in silence. Entry to the site is LE 6080, and to enter the pyramids themselves costs another LE 30 40 for the Pyramid of Menkaure and LE 100 120 for the Great Pyramid of Khufu. Student IDs will come in handy, giving you a 50% discount. The interior of the pyramids is hot, humid and somewhat claustrophobic, with the passages steep, dusty and hard to move through, and those with any heart or lung issues or a physical handicap will want to steer clear. There are only 2 pyramids open to the public at any given time, while the third pyramid is being restored and they rotate every 2 years. For those willing to brave these conditions, however, it may be an interesting and educational experience. Personally witnessing the interior walls and passage ways of the pyramids gives one an even deeper appreciation of the tremendous achievement accomplished by the builders of these ancient structures. No cameras are allowed into the pyramids. For those on a tight budget, visiting the Pyramid of Menkaure is a very similar experience to visiting the larger pyramid and cheaper.
*'''Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops)''' - the last surviving representative of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, originally 146 m (479 ft) high but now slightly reduced to a still awe-inspiring 137 m (449 ft). Over 2 million blocks of stone were used to construct this edifice, all through manual labour.
*'''Sphinx''' and the '''Temple of the Sphinx''' - the colossal, recumbent human-headed lion was conceived of by the ancient Egyptians as the sun god Re-Horakhty - "Horus of the horizon". The Egyptians call it ''Abu el-Hol'', the "Father of Terror", and even the Greek name Sphinx is the less than pleasant "Strangler". 45 meters long, 22 meters wide, and carved from a single giant block of sandstone, the Sphinx is considerably smaller than the Pyramids around it. The missing nose is blamed on target practice by bored troops, commonly blamed variously on British soldiers in World War I or Napoleon's troops in 1798, but 18th-century drawings showing the nose already missing, pointing the finger towards the occupying Turks.
*Various '''Queens' Pyramids''' and '''Nobles' Tombs''', located in regimented cemeteries surrounding the royal pyramids. Especially the Tomb of Seshemnufer IV which you can explore from the inside, where you can descend to the sarcophagus and get an idea, how it looks like. Since this is not the main object, there are few tourists and it make this visit very interesting.
Not all the Pyramids are equally accessible for interior exploration, the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities closing them to the public at least one at a time for conservation and renovation measures.
Climbing the Pyramids, although once a popular tourist activity, is both now officially forbidden and extremely dangerous - several tourists have met an untimely death attempting to. Some Pyramid guards have been known to turn a blind eye in return for baksheesh in less frequented areas, but this practice has a very negative impact on the pyramids and is strongly discouraged.
It's wise to arrive at the Pyramids at the moment they open, as tour bus activity and (in the summer) the heat quickly make the attractions overrun and difficult to fully enjoy. Since tourism has taken a major hit after the 2011 revolution, many who used to make a living off of this industry are extremely desperate in this day/age. It is a great time to visit as prices are lower and crowds less than in the past, but be prepared for extreme measures such as kids jumping on your car to get you to stop and hire them as a tour guide. It's sad to say, but best option is probably to come as a large group in bus since you'll be better shielded from the hassle.
Do not give up your ticket to anyone outside of the gate checkpoints. You will need to show it to enter through the metal detectors at the entrance to the Pyramids area, Sphinx area, and to enter the Pyramid if you choose to pay for that ticket. There are many folks who will walk up and claim (true or false?) to work for the government and ask to see the ticket/grab it, then take it and try to start a tour for you. Don't think that just because they are doing this in front of the police they are legit. They want to explain things at a fast pace, and then demand a tip. Do not give up your ticket and do not be afraid to stand up for yourself and refuse tip. If you want a tour, better ones can be booked in advance and will offer more accurate details of what you are seeing. (A favorite place for them to lurk is beside the tombs outside the Great Pyramid.)
==Do==
'''Before you get on the back of a camel or horse''' have a look around how they treat their animals. You might change your mind. If you anyway decide to take the offer of one of the horsemen or camel guys, make sure you discuss the price and where you go first. Ask to confirm it covers two people/two horses. Negotiate the price you want. At the end of the trip, when you get back to where you had agreed, get off the horse/camel, hand the man the agreed money and walk away. They will try to come up with all sorts of scams to get more money out of you. If you are happy and wish to give a tip, do it because you choose. Don't feel pressured into giving extra. Just walk away. They won't follow you. 100 EGP/person is a good price for this.
*'''Camel Rides'''. Avoid succumbing to the temptation of taking a camel ride around the Pyramids, if you can, the practice is noisy, smelly and overrated. Basically, there are many better places in Egypt to take a camel ride, if you must. Things are a little better run than they used to be, and the practice of taking tourists out into the desert and refusing to return unless "tipped" is rather rare now.
*See the '''sunrise''', the first sun beams colouring the Pyramids from the terrace on the third floor of a cafe or from the roof terrace of the hostel situated near the second western entrance and ticket-office.
*<do name="FB Stables" alt="" address="Gamal Abdul Nasser St, Sphinx" directions="Turn left after the sphinx KFC, then right in Gamal Abdul Nasser Street. FB is the last stables on the left" phone="(+20) 016 0106 507 0288" url="http://www.fbstables.comnet" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Popular with expats who keep their horses at livery, Karim at FB Stables is also great for a 'tourist' type ride to view the Pyramids and Sphinx from the desert. Longer rides to Saqqara and Abu Sir can be arranged in advance, as can sunrise, sunset and moonlit rides. Other than the horses and good company, one of the best things about FB is their amazing rooftop terrace (with bbq) with unrivalled views over the Pyramids - a great place to relax with a drink whilst watching the Sound and Light shows.</do>
great horses - no beating or slapping at FB stables and besides an amazing trip the shisha and Karim's amazing support it was a place to safely say yes without gettin ripped off afterwards!!!!! FB's Abu Sir second stables are very relaxing too!
*'''Pyramids Sound and Light Show''' (''Son-et-Lumière'') [http://www.soundandlight.com.eg/Default.aspx], admission: foreign languages shows LE 60130, 90, 75 with discounted 45 ticket only available in the 75 section. The LE 130 and LE 90 tickets are for the 1st and 2nd-3rd rows respectively and may not be worth the added expense. Arabic show LE 11, private shows in foreign languages, LE 65 + LE 300 (covers operating expenses), Arabic private show, LE 16.50 + LE 150. More than slightly kitsch and frequently inaccurate in historical detail, but a worthwhile evening activity nonetheless. The "voice of the Sphinx" narrates the history of the Giza Plateau and its place in Egyptian history, as a dazzling laser display picks out the details of the Pyramids and displays historical scenes on the side of the Great Pyramid itself. If you eat at the Pizza Hut restaurant just outside the entrance to the Sound and Light Show, there's a good chance you'll be offered to watch the show from the roof of the restaurant for a small tip. While it's not as good as watching it from a front row seat inside the fences, it's excellent value for money. As of November 2009, extremely bright lights have been pointed at the roof of the Pizza Hut and various other buildings to get tourists to attend the show. They put projection lights towards the Pizza Hut so it's not easy to see much. Pizza Hut has replied by putting up a barricade on the roof to try to block the light.
<br>
==Buy==
*<buy name="Al Amir Perfume Palace" alt="" address="9 Abu el Houl St." directions="" phone="+202 385 4963" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">An overwhelming smell will hit you as soon as you walk inside, if you can stand the smell for more than a few minute you can find some great deals on perfume.</buy>
*<buy name="Legends and Legacies" alt="" address="20 Abuu Hazim St." directions="Off of Pyramid Road" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">An A relaxed indoor bazaar.</buy>
*<buy name="Beymen" alt="" address="FourSeasons Nile Plaza" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Chic Designer Shopping including brands such channel,prada,gucci,christian dior,tods and many others</buy>
*<buy name="City Stars" alt="" address="Nasr City" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Largest Shopping Mall in Egypt includes many international brands such as massimo dutti , zara , hugo boss, bcbg , polo, nike, adidas, joop,calvin klein, levis,ect</buy>
==Eat==
A number of Western fast food options exist immediately opposite the main ticket gates to the Pyramid enclosure, Pizza Hut and KFC included, so you can munch on a Tower burger and sip on a coke in air-conditioned comfort whilst gazing on the 4,000+ year-old Sphinx across the road! Many may prefer a more authentic experience, that said - the novelty of the situation could be interesting.
* <eat name="Andrea" alt="" address=""" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">This is a well-known restaurant on the road back to Cairo from Giza, popular with both locals and tourists (busloads will pull up after visiting the pyramids). Specializing in pigeon and chicken grilled a la plancha. Any taxi driver will know where it is..</eat>
*<eat name="Fish Market" alt="" address="26 Shar'a al-Nil" directions="Along the Nile, in the same 'boat' as TGI Fridays" phone="+20 2 570 9694" url="" hours="" price="Moderate to High" lat="" long="">This eatery is located on the Nile, in a docked ship, sharing space with a TGI Friday's below. Popular with locals and tourist visitors, but the food is mediocre, overpriced, and service is haphazard.</eat>
===Splurge===
* <sleep name="Mena House (formerly Oberoi)" alt="" address="Pyramids Rd." directions="" phone="+20 2 383 3222" url="http://www.oberoimenahousemenahousehotel.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">Built in 1869 as a royal lodge for King Ismail the Magnificent, this magnificent palace has housed guests including Empress Eugenie and Prince Albert. Tastefully restored and located very close to the Pyramids. Rooms in the newer Garden wing from $150, Palace wing rooms from $210; be sure to ask for a room with a view of the Pyramids. The main Pyramids gate is only a 5 minute walk away. The Mena House as of December 31, 2012 is no longer managed by the Oberoi Group.</sleep> ===Moderate===* <sleep name="Pyramids View Inn" alt="" address="10 Sphinx St. Sound and Light Plaza, Giza" directions="" phone="+20 01-009761770" url="http://www.pyramidsviewinn.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="" email="[email protected]" fax="">This bed and breakfast was the owners childhood home and converted into a hostel after the revolution. It boasts a friendly staff who help travelers new to the region with everything from assistance in local shopping (including price negotiations with locals) to organizing tours to the pyramids and other locations. It is a very international friendly environment, with English, German and Spanish all spoken by the staff. There is free wifi and magic jack (which permits free international calls) services. Prices vary but 31 Euro per person double occupancy is common. Easy walking distance from the pyramids and great view of pyramids from the roof. Simple breakfast included and free pickup from the airport.</sleep>
==Contact==
==Stay safe==
The Giza Pyramids , being the main tourist attraction in Egypt, attracting attract millions of tourists each year. They likewise attract a large number of the most-determined opportunists for miles around--report . Report any instances of harassment by camel drivers and tourist touts to the black-uniformed (or white-uniformed in the Summersummer) Tourist Police immediately, and be prepared for all manner of potential [[Common scams|scams]] , possibly including "advice" from official-looking individuals that an attraction is closed or has an alternate entrance. Also be aware that any "favour" of any kind (offering directions, being shown something, etc) is might be done in expectation of a tip, so do not accept be cautious when accepting unsolicited help from locals(although don't let your holiday be spoiled by overzealous caution, you also might encounter genuine help). Also note that the some Tourist Police are less than honest, and might routinely offer to help you in the expectation of a tip, many . Many known scammers will operate right in front of the tourist police to , who are either in on it, or not bothered don't bother to stop it!intervene.
Tips to avoid harassment:
* If on your own, headphones make the incessant "Hello , where are you from my friend" conversation -starters easier to ignore, smiling and pointing at the headphones seems to do the trick.* Avoid making eye contact, starting conversation conversations or accepting any help with taking pictures or posing for pictures for you, -- they will see you as an easy target for harassment.* Say "La Shukran" (No thanks) as you do this, it shows you know a bit more than the average tourist and will not be seen as aggressive or rude. Smiling as you say it doesn't hurt as it doesn't seem to be seen as an invite to talk etc, but shows you are not trying to offend.
Additional useful safety tips:
* Don't Be cautious when choosing a local horse or camel ride horses or camels with the local touts, ; you will may be ripped off and will be or put in dangerous situations (riding at high speeds without . The 'donkey-mafia' that operate by the doors of the main entrance will adopt the most 'persuasive' and often bullish techniques to get you onto their animals, and they do not appear to understand the meaning of the word 'No'. They will cause such a helmet scene when you say no and have to get off them, which will result in you having to pay for example)the privilege of refusing their hospitality. NOTE: Some of these people were involved in the Battle of the Camels during the revolution, in which innocent civilians were killed. Use as your conscience dictates. *Don't climb any of the Pyramids--officially forbidden and extremely dangerous!*As anywhere else in Egypt, in hot months especially, take plenty of bottled water with you (and drink it!), wear a hat and wear sunscreen--sunglasses are also definitely a good idea! 
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