Of course, who can go to Egypt and not see the pyramids? Thus we booked a day of seeing ancient Egypt, or at least what remains. Now, when people say they saw the pyramids, most people imagine the pyramids of Giza. Along with the most well-known pyramids, the Giza pyramids, we saw many other pyramids and artifacts that are equally as important. The pyramids we saw were called the Bent Pyramid, the Red Pyramid, and the Step Pyramid.
From where we were staying in Cairo it was a one and a half hour drive to our first stop, the Bent Pyramid. We made it through the crowded city and started to drive through the middle of nowhere. In reality we were driving through barren desert, otherwise known as the Sahara. We arrived at the Bent Pyramid a while later and despite the fact that here we were around this famous pyramid, we owned the place! It was just us and another couple. Plus, the place was very picturesque. The Bent Pyramid is called bent because, well, it’s bent! The reason for this however, is not because it began to cave in on itself but rather because there were changes and problems with the plan midway through construction. You see, the sides of the bent pyramid were at first meant to be around a fifty degree angle but that turned out to be too steep and it would not be strong enough so they had to adjust it to forty five degrees half way through the building of it. But that didn’t matter to us because no one can go up to the top anyway. Of course, Connor and I climbed up a few meters of the pyramid where the blocks were still steady and safe.
On the way back to the car, our guide, Sehamgabr (Sue), pointed out a small hole near the top of the pyramid. She explained that the ancient Egyptians believed in life after death and that there were five things that must be done to the body of the person to ensure the soul would live on in the afterlife. The first is called the ‘ba’. The belief of the ancient Egyptians was that the ba, or the spirit of the person would leave the body, take the shape of a bird, and fly to the sun god, Ray. Without the hole there, for the ba to leave the pyramid, the person would be alone and not anointed with his father, therefore having a terrible life in the afterlife.
Already our heads were filling with loads of information but Sehamgabr, or Sue, just kept it coming! Not one second passed when there was no information being processed in my brain and I’m sure that was the case with Connor and my parents as well.
Next, we went to the red pyramid, which was right beside the bent pyramid. (When I say right beside, I mean, like a kilometre).
The red pyramid got its name because they used red limestone, not because it was distinctly red. This pyramid we were able to go inside!
When we first entered through the hole in the pyramid, we just walked down and down, and down and down. We then entered a room that was very small but high. It was, of course, empty. This was not because of tomb robbers however. This was the fake burial chamber to misdirect the tomb robbers. We then headed up some stairs that had been placed there for our convenience, to the real burial chamber, which this time was empty because of tomb robbers, except for the large sarcophagus still left in the room.
We headed back the way we came and exited the pyramid. This was a great start to the day and an amazing experience you certainly can’t get from a textbook.