Giza is the third-largest city in Egypt. It is located on the west bank of the Nile, some 20 km (12.43 mi) southwest of central Cairo. Along with Cairo Governorate, Shubra El-Kheima, Helwan, 6th October City and Obour, the five form Greater Cairo metropolis. The city of Giza is the capital of the Giza Governorate, and is located near the northeast border of this governorate in coordinates. It is located right on the banks of the River Nile. The city's population was 2,681,863 in the 2006 national census, while the governorate had 6,272,571 at the same census. Its large population made it the world's second largest suburb in 2006, tied with Incheon, South Korea and Quezon City, Philippines, second only to Yokohama, Japan.
Giza is most famous as the location of the Giza Plateau: the site of some of the most impressive ancient monuments in the world, including a complex of ancient Egyptian royal mortuary and sacred structures, including the Great Sphinx, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and a number of other large pyramids and temples. Giza has always been a focal point in Egypt's history due to its location close to Memphis, the ancient capital.
The Great Pyramid of Giza at one time was advocated (1884) as the location for the Prime Meridian, a reference point used for determining a base longitude.
|FOUNDED :||642 AD|
|TIME ZONE :||EST (UTC+2)|
|LANGUAGE :||Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes|
|RELIGION :||Muslim (mostly Sunni) 90%, Coptic 9%, other Christian 1%|
|AREA :||1,579.75 km2 (609.94 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||19 m (62 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||30°01′N 31°13′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 50.22|
• Female: 49.78
|ETHNIC :||Egyptian 99.6%, other 0.4%|
|AREA CODE :|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||(+20) 2|
|WEBSITE :||official website|
The city of Giza is important as a secondary - and increasingly popular - option for travelers 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 (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 Midan Tahrir. Completion has been projected for 2015.
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 entrance, 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 60, and to enter the pyramids themselves costs another LE 30 for the Pyramid of Menkaure and LE 100 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.
- Solar Barque Museum - located immediately alongside the southern face of the Great Pyramid, an exceptionally well-done museum showcasing an excavated and reconstructed "solar boat", buried along with the Pharaoh for use on his daily journey with the sun across the sky.
- Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren) - slightly smaller than the Great Pyramid, though appearing from some angles to appear larger owing to a better position on the desert plateau
- Pyramid of Menkaure (Mycerinus) - the smallest of the Giza Pyramids at 62 m (203 ft) high (originally 66.5 m)
- 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. 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. However, it is easy to trespass into the Giza complex at night, and Khufu's Great Pyramid can be climbed relatively easily from the South-West corner. However, this is still still dangerous and illegal.
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.
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.)
The area in what is now Giza served as the necropolis of several pharaohs who ruled ancient Egypt, during the 2nd millennium BC. Three of these tombs, in the form of giant pyramids, are what is now the famedThree Pyramids of Giza.
Classical to medieval era
As ancient Egypt passed under several conquests under the Persians, Greeks and Romans, so did the area in what is now Giza. A Roman village named Teresa, located south of Giza, existed before the Muslim conquest of the region.
As Muslims of the fledging Islamic caliphate went on with their conquest of Egypt from the Roman Empire beginning in 639 AD, three years after their victory at the battle of Yarmouk in 636 AD, they conquered all of the land by the time they have captured the city of Alexandria in 641 AD. A year later in 642 AD (year 21 in Islamic calendar), they founded the city of Giza. Its name, al-Jizzah in Arabic, means "the valley" or "the plateau", pertaining to the area's topography.
Giza experiences a hot desert climate like arid climate . Its climate is similar to Cairo, owing to its proximity. Wind storms can be frequent across Egypt in spring, bringing Saharan dust into the city during the months of March and April. High temperatures in winter range from 16 °C (61 °F) to 20 °C (68 °F), while nighttime lows drop to below 7 °C (45 °F). In summer, the highs are 40 °C (104 °F), and the lows can drop to about 20 °C (68 °F). Rain is infrequent in Giza; snow and freezing temperatures are extremely rare.
|Climate data for Giza|
|Record high °C (°F)||28|
|Average high °C (°F)||19.3|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||13|
|Average low °C (°F)||6.8|
|Record low °C (°F)||2|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||4|
|Source #1: Climate-Data.org|
|Source #2: Voodoo Skies for record temperatures|
Industries here include movies, chemicals, machinery and cigarettes. In addition, Giza has many luxury apartment buildings along the Nile, making it a popular place to live.
- Dokki District: 93,660 93,025
- Agouza District: 174,460 162,851
- Giza District: 180,568 246,325, Kism Al Jizah 238,567 248,897
- Bulaq ad Dakrur: 453,884 564,791
- Imbabah: 287,357 389,049, Kism Imbabah 523,265 597,160
- Haram District: 200,076 295,704
- Kafr Tuhurmus
The centre of the city is Giza Square.