Giza Necropolis | The Site of the Pyramids of Giza

Pyramid of GizaGiza Necropolis

The Giza Necropolis is one of the most popular attractions in Egypt, with millions of visitors each year. It is an iconic archaeological site, famous for housing the three massive pyramids, the Great Sphinx, and a variety of other structures and monuments that are some of the most recognizable and historically significant in the world. Before you plan a visit, read on to find out more about what you will find at the Giza Necropolis.

What is the Giza Necropolis?

Giza Necropolis

When was the Giza Necropolis Built?

The oldest of the pyramids, the Great Pyramid of Giza was built during the reign of the Fourth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, between 2550 and 2560 BC. That makes it about 4,500 years old. The second pyramid to be built, the Pyramid of Khafre, was completed in 2570 BC, and the last pyramid to be built was that of Menkaure between 2510 and 2500 BC.

Many of the tombs and cemeteries at the Giza Complex were added to after the construction of the pyramids, even during the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties (c. 2500 - 2180 BC).

Who built the Giza Necropolis?

Giza Necropolis

History of the Giza Necropolis in a Nutshell

c. 2600–2500 BC

The Giza Necropolis was once situated near the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis. During the Fourth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, beginning with the Pharaoh Khufu, a series of rulers, their families, and courtiers began to build tombs there. 

The ancient Egyptians believed that when a pharaoh died, they would live on in the afterlife as gods. However, first, their spirit needed to be able to reunite with their body. To ensure this, they built enormous pyramids so that their spirits would be able to find them again. They also served as a place to store all the luxuries they wanted to use in the next world.

A number of pyramids were constructed before the mighty Pyramids of Giza. Early Egyptian rulers were buried in flat mounds known as mastabas. The mounds gradually grew taller and taller. Eventually, the Pharaoh Djoser built a Step Pyramid at Saqqara around 2670 BC. Around 2630 BC the Pharaoh Snefru, father of Khufu (who built the Great Pyramid) built the first true pyramid, the Red Pyramid at Dashur. 

Inspired by this, Khufu, and later his son Khafre, and grandson Menkaure, built the three largest pyramids at the Giza Necropolis.

Giza Necropolis location

Giza Necropolis attractions

The Giza Necropolis, or the Giza Complex, includes many ancient wonders, including the three Pyramids of Giza, temples, burial tombs, and more.

Giza Necropolis
Giza Necropolis
Giza Necropolis
Giza Necropolis
Giza Necropolis

Queen’s Pyramids

Near the Pyramids of the three Pharaohs, there are smaller pyramids belonging to the pharaohs’ wives, mothers, and daughters. Important ones are the tombs of Queen Khentkaus I, and Queen Hetepheres.

Giza Necropolis

Valley Temples

Every pyramid has a valley temple connected to it by a causeway. This was where the bodies of the pharaohs were prepared for burial and mummified. Today you can still see those of Khafre and Menkaure.

Giza Necropolis

Mortuary Temples

Attached to each pyramid is a mortuary temple, or a funerary temple. This was where priests performed daily funerary rites to worship the deceased pharaohs, and priests presented offerings of food and other items to them.

Giza Necropolis

Worker’s Village

The thousands of workers who spent years building the pyramids also built a small community for themselves. Here you will find their barracks, as well as bakeries, breweries, kitchens, and even a rudimentary hospital.

Giza Necropolis

Solar Boat Museum

Near the Great Pyramid of Khufu is the Solar Boat Museum. Also known as “Khufu's Boat Museum,” it houses a reconstruction of the pharaoh’s solar barque, the ship buried with the king to use on his journey across the heavens.

Plan Your Visit to the Giza Necropolis

Opening Hours
Getting There
Visitor Tips
Giza Necropolis
Giza Necropolis
  • Accessibility: While the interiors of the Pyramids of Giza are not accessible to visitors in wheelchairs, they can stroll right up to the entrance of the Great Sphinx of Giza for a closer look at the architecture. Visitors with limited mobility can also ride on camelbacks to reach the Panoramic Point, a scenic viewpoint within the Necropolis that offers the best views of the Giza Pyramids.
  • Restrooms: There are two public toilets at the Pyramids of Giza, available for a small fee. One of them is located near the tick booth right before the Great Pyramid entrance and another is situated near the gift shop in the Solar Barque Museum. 
  • Shops: Visitors can purchase gifts and souvenirs from the shops located near the Pyramids of Giza. Please carry cash as most of these small vendors do not accept card payments.
  • Photography: You can use your mobile phone to click pictures within the Giza Necropolis. You have to pay a fee to carry tripods and other commercial equipment if you want to shoot footage.
Giza Necropolis
  • Carry cash: It is best to carry cash when visiting the Pyramids of Giza because most small vendors outside the Necropolis do not accept card payments. 
  • Bring a photo ID: If you have purchased Giza Necropolis tours online, you may be asked for an identification card. You must display it at the entrance along with your ticket to enter the complex. 
  • Wear modest clothing: Although there is no mandated dress code to enter the Pyramids of Giza, it is best to wear clothing that covers your knees and shoulders as a sign of respect for the antiquity of the Giza Necropolis. Also, prioritize light, breathable fabrics to protect yourself from the sun. 
  • Wear comfortable shoes: You need to walk across uneven terrain to explore the interior passageways and sarcophagus of the pyramids. Wear comfortable, closed shoes so that your feet do not hurt. 
  • Book guided tours: We recommend you book Giza Necropolis guided tours to learn more about the historical and cultural significance of the Pyramids. 

Quick facts about the Giza Necropolis

  • The Pyramids of Giza, built during the Old Kingdom period in Egypt, around 4500 years ago, are one of the last surviving ancient wonders of the world.
  • The Pyramids and surrounding cemeteries hold immense historical significance not only because they reflect the engineering expertise but also the religious beliefs and burial practices of ancient Egyptians.
  • There are smaller pyramids surrounding the bigger pyramids, known for keeping the remains of the wives and sisters of renowned Pharaohs. These are also known as the Queen's Pyramids.
  • The exact height of the Pyramids of Giza when it was built is not known. While the Great Pyramid of Khufu measures around 146.6 meters in the present day, scholars suspect that much of its height has been weathered away over the centuries.
  • The pyramids were once covered in polished white Tura limestone casing stones, reflecting sunlight and giving them a radiant appearance. The Pyramid of Khafre is the only pyramid in the complex that still retains some of its original shiny appearance.

Frequently asked questions about the Giza Necropolis

Where is the Giza Necropolis located?

The Giza Necropolis is located on the outskirts of Cairo, around 15km away from the Cairo city center. The most convenient and budget-friendly way to reach the pyramids is to get a metro from Line 1 of Cairo. Upon reaching Giza, you can take a microbus or a tour bus to reach the Pyramids.

Why is the Giza Necropolis important?

The Giza Necropolis houses the world-renowned Pyramids of Giza, which is celebrated as one of the seven wonders of the world. These pyramids represent the engineering achievements of ancient Egyptians. The Giza archaeological site also reflects the cultural, religious, and funerary practices of the ancient Egyptians, providing insights into their beliefs, rituals, and society.

Why was the Giza Necropolis built?

The Giza Necropolis was built around 4500 years ago during the Old Kingdom period in Egypt to house the tombs and treasures of their Pharaohs. The Pyramids were constructed to provide the Pharaohs with the necessary provisions for their journey into the afterlife.

Who was the Giza Necropolis built for?

The Giza Necropolis was built under the supervision of three Pharaohs- Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure. These monumental Pyramids were constructed to house the tombs and treasures of these Pharaohs and to provide the necessary provisions to guide their spirits in the afterlife.

How old is the Giza Necropolis?

The Giza Necropolis is around 4500 years old, having been constructed during the Old Kingdom period in Egypt. The Pharaoh Khufu first laid the foundation of the Great Pyramid, the northernmost structure in the complex, and the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure were built after.

How many pyramids are there at the Giza Necropolis?

There are three big Pyramids- the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure, the Great Sphinx of Giza, smaller pyramids like the Queen’s pyramids, cemetery tombs, Valley temples, and more inside the Giza Necropolis.

What is inside the Pyramids of Giza?

Inside the Pyramids of Giza, you will typically find a series of chambers and passageways designed for the burial of the pharaohs. The interior structures can vary somewhat from one pyramid to another, but typically there is a burial chamber, King’s chamber, Queen’s chamber, ascending and descending passageways, antechambers, and ventilation air shafts inside.

Can you go inside the Pyramids at the Giza Necropolis?

Yes, you can explore the interiors of the Pyramids of Giza at the Giza Necropolis. You must book Pyramids of Giza tickets online in advance to avoid standing in long lines on the day of your visit. You can also secure Giza Necropolis tours that include professional Egyptologist guides to learn more about the history and architecture of the Pyramids.

When is the Giza Necropolis opened to tourists?

The Giza Necropolis is open from 7 AM to 6 PM during the peak tourist season, from April to September. They are open from 8 AM to 4 PM from October to March.