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Giza is a city to the west of the Egyptian capital, now absorbed as part of the heavily-populated and sprawling Cairo metropolis. One of the premier attractions of Egypt, the Pyramids of Giza represent the pyramid structures of ancient Egyptian civilisation.

The city of Giza, or Gizah, is the third largest city in Egypt located on the west bank of the Nile River, some 20 km southwest of central Cairo. 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. 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.

Once thriving with the Nile that flowed right into the Giza Plateau, the pyramids of Giza were built overlooking the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, which was near modern day Cairo. The three main Pyramids of Giza are the focal point of the Giza necropolis, or cemetery, that served the elite of the Old Kingdom capital of Egypt at nearby Memphis during the mid to late 4th Dynasty (late 3rd millennium BCE). Three pharaohs were buried here in turn – Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure – their astounding burials attracted a number of surrounding associated burials of their queens, family members and nobility.

The city 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. , the long-awaited primary replacement for the long-standing Egyptian Museum.

Given the rapidly increasing population of Cairo in the 20th century, and the obvious tourist opportunities that the Pyramids provided, Giza has now been transformed beyond recognition to those pioneering Western travellers of the late 19th century. Major arterial roads, apartment blocks, retail strips, restaurants and night clubs now replace what used to be palm-fringed farmers’ fields, and the city has now spread to the very limit of the desert plateau.

EGYPT CLOSED – Chaos Across Egypt (Jan – Feb 2011)

Three hours into my flight the captain announces we are diverted to Athens. Later it is confirmed the flight landed due to a bomb scare as reported by the BBC. Rising unrest  and the peoples call to bring down the government brings disruption to tourism in Egypt, and the UK Foreign Office advises not to travel.

My trip to Egypt is cancelled. No CairoLuxorAswanAbu Simbel.

Giza • Egypt