There's something mysterious about the pyramids, and about what can be found inside of them. The pyramids are mostly solid on the inside, but there are passageways, rooms, and burial chambers, some open to the public, and some yet to be accessed. Visiting the pyramids on the inside is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and gives some insight into the sheer size as well as the immense construction feats of these structures.
Read on to find out more about what you can find inside each and every one of the pyramids at Giza, and how to visit and enter the pyramids on your trip to Egypt.
Inside the Great Pyramid of Giza
To get into the Great Pyramid of Giza, originally the entrance was on the north side, approximately 17 meters (or 56 feet) above the bottom of the pyramid. Through the entrance, there is a network of passageways that take you through to the Grand Gallery and eventually the King's and Queen's Chambers. Apart from air vents there is unfortunately not much else (that we know of!) inside the pyramid.
At the moment, you would enter through a different entrance, one that takes you through to the King's Chamber which houses the most interesting object to see inside of the pyramid: the large granite sarcophagus believed to have been home to Khufu's remains before the pyramid was looted. The sarcophagus is made out of a solid piece of granite, and an interesting mystery surrounds how the sarcophagus got inside the pyramid. Since the passageways are much smaller than the object, it is unsure whether the pyramid was built around the King's Chamber or whether there would've been another entrance for the sarcophagus to get in at the time.
While nothing else is left out of the treasures that would've once been inside this chamber along with the king's remains, entering the pyramid is interesting because it gives you some insight into the structure of the pyramid, and allows you to see how small the passageways are. Given that false doors and traps were also set up, it definitely would've taken looters some time and insight to empty out the treasures from the Great Pyramid of Giza.
As there remain some areas of this pyramid that aren't fully explored and excavated, teams continue to work with radiography to try and x-ray the pyramid, in order to see whether there are any other rooms or cavities that aren't obvious to the naked eye. One such cavity was discovered a few years ago, but the COVID-19 pandemic slowed further investigation, so work is still to be carried out.
Relative reading: The Great Pyramid of Giza (Khufu Pyramid): How to Visit It
Inside the Pyramid of Khafre
The Pyramid of Khafre is the second-biggest pyramid at Giza, and it is simpler on the inside than the Great Pyramid of Giza. The pyramid measures 136.4 meters (448 feet) tall, and is built using limestone blocks, as was common at the time.
There's one burial chamber inside the Pyramid of Khafre, which was carved out of a pit in the bedrock. This burial chamber also contains a large sarcophagus as well as the vessels in which the internal organs of the rulers were kept, which is more than what was found inside of Khufu Pyramid.
There are two entrances and passageways to the burial chamber, which would've at the time given easier access to tomb robbers, who definitely emptied out the majority of the chamber apart from the items mentioned above. The pyramid was likely opened up and robbed during the First Intermediate Period (circa 2181 to 2055 BC, after the end of the Old Kingdom).
Relative reading: The Architecture of Egypt's Pyramids: Secret of Outside and Inside
The two entrances have openings at 11.54 meters up the pyramid (37.9 feet), and at the base of the pyramid. These do not align with the centerline of the pyramid, but are slightly offset to the east. One of the theories about why there are two entrances, which was unusual, is that the pyramids' base was intended to be extended north to make Khafre's pyramid larger than his fathers'. In the end this didn't happen.
The chambers and passageways are made out of enormous blocks of granite, which is interesting to see on your visit. Inside, you'll also find a hall in the center of the lower corridor, which historians haven't been able to agree on the use for. It's not a burial chamber but could've been a treasury of the pyramid or a serdab chamber (for cold water, or a cellar).
Suggested reading: Where are the Pyramids of Giza? Ways to Get There from Cairo
Inside the Pyramid of Menkaure
The Pyramid of Menkaure is the last pyramid built on the site at Giza, and the smallest of the three. It stands at 61 meters (or 200 feet tall), and part of the granite used to build the pyramid was left rough, giving experts great insight into the methods used to build pyramids.
The pyramid was built during his reign, but Menkaure passed away before completion. An inscription at the entrance of the pyramid confirms that Menkaure was the builder of the pyramid, as well as his date of passing. It is believed that his son finished construction of the pyramid after his death. Supporting evidence of this theory has been found inscribed in the walls at the valley temple.
Relative reading: Top 22 Pyramids of Giza Facts to Share with Kids
In 1837, the antechamber was discovered inside the Pyramid of Menkaure, including a wooden coffin inscribed with Menkaure's name and human bones of a young woman. After research this is now known to be a substitute coffin, and experts have determined the age of the bones is less than 2,000 years so this could not be Menkaure's remains. The bones are more likely dating back to the Roman period.
The lid of the coffin was transported to the British Museum in London, where you can see it today, but unfortunately the sarcophagus sunk on a ship on its way to Great Britain in 1838, so you cannot see this when you visit the inside of Menkaure's pyramid.
Visiting the inside of the pyramid is still worth it, especially if you'd rather avoid crowds and not visit the inside of the Great Pyramid of Giza (or if you didn't manage to get tickets for that one since ticket numbers are capped daily to avoid overcrowding and damage to the pyramid). It gives wonderful insight into how the pyramids were built, and a unique experience of seeing how the passageways and chambers were built. You'll also be able to see niches in a room referred to as the cellar, in which canopic jars with Menkaure's internal organs were most likely kept.
Visiting the Inside of the Pyramids of Giza
The opening times of the pyramids are between 8am and 5pm in the summer months, and 8am and 4pm in the winter months.
The ticket price for the Giza Pyramids is 200 Egyptian pounds (or 10.2 US dollars), and it costs extra to either enter the Great Pyramid, the Pyramid of Khafre or the Pyramid of Menkaure. You can see additional costs for these below:
Entry to the Great Pyramid: 400 EGP or 20.4 US dollars
Entry to the 2nd or the 3rd pyramid: 100 EGP or 5.1 US dollars
Suggested reading: How to Visit the Pyramids of Giza: Top 10 Travel Tips
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