You’re probably familiar with those sweeping, romantic shots of the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. In photos, movies and textbooks, there’s sand as far as the eye can see — and maybe a figure in the distance obscured by haze. It must surely take a train or a bus to get there. At least a camel ride.
Well, for those who have never visited the Pharaonic structures or thought about what may surround them, this might come as a surprise: The pyramids are flanked on three sides by the roads and neighbourhoods of Giza, a major city with a population in the millions.
The same goes for the Great Sphinx. A mere quarter-mile or so away sits a Pizza Hut with expansive views of the historic site.
Hundreds of feet northeast of the pyramid complex is the Oberoi golf course, where you can take in views of the Great Pyramid, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, while you tee off. Just to the north is Mena House, an upscale hotel with similar views.
The road that brings you to the pyramids, Al Haram Street, has long been known for cabarets and other forms of risqué Cairene night life.
The images most people are familiar with are shot from a specific angle and include an expanse of sand to the south. The pyramids can look remote because they sit on a limestone plateau and are on a higher elevation than their surroundings. But if you look closely, you’ll probably see city lights in the background of many pictures.