Bedouins At The Pyramids

Bedouins At The Pyramids.

Approach To The Pyramids

Approach To The Pyramids.

Section Of A Pyramid

Section Of A Pyramid.

At length, the disappointed ones, seeing a new party of travelers approach, started off like a troop of wild beasts to meet them, thus giving us an opportunity to look up quietly at the prodigious structures, which are apparently destined to perish only with the world.

No view does justice to the Pyramids, but the world contains nothing of human workmanship quite so imposing. They stand upon the border of the desert, as other ruins lie beside the sea. Their vast triangular forms, with bases covered by the golden sand, and summits cleaving wedgelike the serene blue sky, exceed, when seen thus close at hand, the most extravagant expectations. A comprehensive idea can not be obtained from statistics, but one must make use of figures and comparisons to give to those who have not seen them some adequate conception of the immensity of these masses of stone. The original height of the Pyramid of Cheops was four hundred and eighty-two feet. About thirty feet of its apex has disappeared, but even now it is higher than the top of St. Peter's; and if this pyramid were hollow, the vast basilica at Rome could be placed within it, dome and all, like an ornament in a glass case! St. Paul's in London could then in turn be easily placed inside of St. Peter's, for the top of its dome is one hundred feet lower than the summit of the Great Pyramid. Each of its sides measures at the base seven hundred and sixty-four feet. If its materials were torn down, they would suffice to build around the whole frontier of France a parapet ten feet high and a foot and a half thick. Think of a field of thirteen acres completely covered with eighty-five million cubic feet of solid masonry, piled together with such precision and accuracy that astronomical calculations have been based on its angles and shadows, since the mighty pile was built exactly facing the cardinal points of the compass! This solidity of structure and immensity of mass would seem to assure to the Pyramids a well-nigh endless existence. "All things," it is said, "fear Time, but Time fears the Pyramids."

A Corner Of Cheops

A Corner Of Cheops.

An Egyptian Sheik

An Egyptian Sheik.

Village Near The Pyramids

Village Near The Pyramids.

Among the various conflicting theories regarding the origin and meaning of the Great Pyramid, one thing may certainly be affirmed : its royal builder did not intend to have it used as a gymnasium by tourists, though scores of them ascend it every day. The difficulty in climbing it is owing to the height of the steps to be taken, varying as they do from two to four feet, according to the broken or perfect condition of the stone. In ascending it, I made my two Arab attendants fully earn their money. Giving a hand to each, and stipulating that we should go slowly, I was pulled quite comfortably to the top of Cheops in about fifteen minutes, and found the summit to be at present a rocky platform about thirty feet square. One should not grumble, however, at the difficulty of making this ascent, for it is owing to their broken surfaces that one is able to climb the Pyramids at all. On near approach they seem like gigantic flights of stairs. But originally each presented a perfectly smooth exterior, the spaces between the steps being filled with stone blocks, fitted with the utmost nicety. The whole pyramid was then covered with cement and beautifully polished. In fact, the second largest pyramid, Cephren, - almost a rival of Cheops, -has still around its apex a remnant of the polished coating, which makes it very difficult to reach the summit. Centuries ago, however, most of these covering blocks were carried off to build the mosques and palaces of Cairo.

Pyramid Of Cephren

Pyramid Of Cephren.

The Base Of Cheops