Giza Plateau, Egypt

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The Pyramids, Giza Plateau

Ancient Egyptians came up with inventive ways of burying their dead, preserving them for the afterlife. Starting with Mastabas, this method “burial chamber method” quickly changed and evolved to the building of the Pyramids. There are thought to be over 100 pyramids across Egypt, but the most famous are the pyramids on the Giza Plateau. These three pyramids sit next to each other on the edge of the ever encroaching, sprawling city of Cairo, and were built for Pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure. They are impressive to say the least and it’s quite overwhelming to stand in front of them and imagine how they were constructed.

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Khufu and Khafre’s pyramids
Pyramid of Mycerinus in Giza
Menkaure’s pyramid
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Khufu’s pyramid

Roads now wind their way around the plateau leading visitors from the pyramids, to high desert views and back to the funerary buildings and tombs. There are satellite pyramids by some of the main pyramids – these are smaller pyramids dedicated to the wives and other family members of the Pharaohs. There is also a small museum next to one of the pyramids that houses a boat called the Solar Boat that was found in a pit close on the site. It is thought to have belonged to Pharaoh Khufu.

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Satellite pyramids
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Rock cut tombs

On the Giza plateau  there is also a range of interesting funerary buildings, the Great Sphinx, Sphinx temples and a causeway that leads from the Sphinx to Khafre’s pyramid. The site is also home to three cemeteries; the Great Western, Eastern and Southern Cemetries where skilled workers who built the pyramids were laid to rest and a workers village.

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Funerary building
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Tombs
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Funerary buildings

Situated at the end of a causeway that leads to Khafre’s pyramid is the Sphinx, a well known monument the Sphinx is mythical depiction with the head of a human and body of a lion. Between it’s feet sit a stele, called the dream step, that is said to record a dream that Tuthmosis IV had about becoming Pharaoh.

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The causeway
Pyramid of Chephren and Sphinx
The Sphinx and pyramid

The Giza Plateau is fascinating, as it shows how Egyptian life worked thousands of years ago. How workers were looked after, both in life and death, and how important it was to pharaohs to show that in death they would be remembered for ever. Thousands of years later, tourists still visit the plateau and gaze in awe at the pyramids, taking in the surroundings. I feel privileged to have visited them and I was shocked at the sheer size of them, it’s something you can’t really understand until you see them for yourself.

Wind Across the Nile 

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The book description:

Can she survive where her ancestors failed?

Suffering with grief after the tragic death of her family, Cora Thomas flees to Egypt, desperate to escape the overwhelming loss.

In Luxor, she meets gruff Egyptologist Nick Foster who wants little to do with her, and his employee Sam, who instantly becomes a much sought-after friend.

As she settles into life along the Nile, discovering the country’s vast history and culture, Cora learns about the contents of an old diary discovered in her parents’ home. As the diary’s story unfolds, it reveals hardship, love, tragedy and a potentially life-threatening family feud spanning generations.

From the rolling hills of the Scottish Highlands to the ruinous sands of the Egyptian desert, Wind across the Nile is a story of unbreakable family bonds, adversity and self-preservation.

Wind Across the Nile is available on ebook and paperback.

 

Chrissie is an author who loves history and enjoys travelling and days out exploring. www.chrissieparker.com

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The beautiful capital of France

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Me looking out across the river Seine

Everyone says that you should try and visit Paris at least once in your life. A city full of famous sights, history, culture and romance, Paris is a place that I’ve been lucky to visit more than once and a city that I have fond memories of.

My first trip to Paris was with the school. At the age of fifteen a coach full of my friends and I, accompanied by our teachers, made the trip across the channel and spent a few days in the city visiting some well known sights such as Notre Dame, The Centre Pompidou and The Eiffel Tower.

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View from the Eiffel Tower on our school visit
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Notre Dame Cathedral on our school visit
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Gargoyles on Notre Dame Cathedral on our school visit

It was my first trip abroad and it was exciting to be away from home with my friends. Paris was an interesting place, we got to see some amazing things and try out our French language skills in preparation for our GCSE exams. We scaled the heights of the Eiffel Tower, to take in the views, before walking back down (not for the faint hearted especially if you don’t like heights!). We explored Parisian cafés and shops, and visited The Louvre to view the famous Mona Lisa. The most interesting part of the trip however, was getting stuck in a lift, and being rescued by firefighters. It wasn’t something I enjoyed that much and I’ve been petrified of lifts and getting stuck in them ever since!

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The Seine

My next visit to Paris were day trips for various events, and I never got to see much of the city but still enjoyed being there, it’s a relaxing place to visit and work. It wasn’t until December 1999 when I returned again, this time for a longer stay that included Christmas and New Year. My home for the next three weeks was in the area of Pigalle, just round the corner from the Moulin Rouge and I grew to absolutely love this part of Paris.

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The Moulin Rouge at night

I would pop out in the mornings to buy bread, croissants and other supplies. I explored the streets that wound up to the Sacre Ceour and the artists quarter, and discovered some lovely shops and cafés. Jumping on the metro I went further afield to Lafayette and other neighbouring stores to see the beautiful Christmas window displays, marvelling at the huge tree in Galeries Lafayette, before going up to the roof to view the expansive skyline of Paris; a view I highly recommend.

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View across Paris towards the Eiffel tower
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Galeries Lafayette at Christmas
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View across Paris to Notre Dame Cathedral

Christmas Day was celebrated by eating ham, egg and chips in a local Parisian café, and New Year’s Eve was celebrated on the steps of the Sacre Ceour, looking down upon the lights of the city, as the millennium arrived in a flurry of amazing fireworks.

Other trips during my stay were to the Champs Elyse, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame. My favourite trip out was on New Year’s day, catching the metro to Trocadero and walking over the River Seine towards the Eiffel Tower taking in the New Year date 2000, before walking along the river towards Notre Dame. It’s a lovely walk and you get to see so much of the city from the bank of the river.

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The Eiffel Tower, 01 January 2000
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The Sacre Ceour

I love Paris, there’s so much to see and experience, and I discovered that one of the best things you can do in the city is just to walk the streets, enjoy your surroundings and take everything in. There is always something interesting to see, or new to discover. Sadly I haven’t been for a while, but I do hope that I’ll get the chance to go back again very soon, it’s a city that still has so much to offer, even if you have been there many times before.

  • Have you been to Paris? If so which was your favourite part?

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Chrissie is an author who loves history and enjoys travelling and days out exploring. www.chrissieparker.com