One of the first things tourists learn about the great Pyramids of Giza is how they are not far away in some remote location. Turns out they’re just photographed that way with the Western Desert as backdrop. Turn around and you’ll see not just the bustling city of Cairo, but a freakin’ golf course. The next thing tourists learn is that there’s a lot of walking if you want to take in both pyramids and the Sphinx. Hope you packed some good shoes!
Or you could sit back and watch this one-hour-and-50-minute walking tour, shot in 4K, on a chilly January morning in 2019. There’s not many tourists around for most of it, better to instill a sense of wonder and otherness as you encounter these 4,500 year old structures.
With its relaxing bobbing-head camera and its immersive field recording soundtrack—headphones are recommended—the video tours the entire ancient area, starting with the Mortuary Temple of Khafre, then moving to the two main pyramids, the cemetery, the smaller pyramid of Menkaure, and ending on the Sphinx. There’s even room for a horse ride, although as it’s sped up, it turns out to be rather comical. It’s also a delight to hear the occasional camel make themselves known.
Open Culture has written about the Pyramids of Giza several times. We’ve linked to the massive Digital Giza Project; shown a 3-D reconstruction of what the pyramids looked like when they were originally built (they were gleaming white, for one thing); followed a 3-D tour *inside* the pyramid that is quite spine-tingling; and highlighted an introductory course of Giza and Egyptology. The only remaining of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World continues to inspire a new generation of archaeologists, and this walking tour is as close as your browser can get to being there. ProWalk Tours’ YouTube site also offers many other pleasant walks, from the ancient to the modern. They’re worth checking out.
Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the Notes from the Shed podcast and is the producer of KCRW’s Curious Coast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, and/or watch his films here.