As a consolation for lack of in-person travel, this summer the Arts Blog will take you on a global tour of museums, monuments, and other locales from the comfort of your own home. This week’s stop: Egypt.
By Leigh Houck, UC Davis Media Relations Intern
Did you miss our previous trips? Visit London, England here, and Paris, France here. Explore Italy here and Spain here. Now, we’re leaving Europe behind and heading to Africa. In our journey through Egypt, we’ll visit both modern museums and ancient monuments.
First we will visit ancient sites in the Egyptian city of Giza, and then we’ll cross the Nile River to explore a museum of antiquities in Cairo.
See the human-headed lion, the Great Sphinx of Giza
This ancient limestone statue is of a Sphinx, a mythological human-headed lion. This Great Sphinx of Giza dates back to between 2575 and 2465 BC. The sheer size of the statue alone is an impressive feat, measuring 240 feet long by 66 feet high. But there’s no need to go traipsing about the desert to get a 360-degree view of the statue. Save yourself the walk and view the Great Sphinx of Giza virtually.
- Google Arts and Culture offers a virtual view of the Great Sphinx of Giza here. Use your mouse to click around and explore, just like you would in Google Maps Street View. In addition to the impressive Sphinx statue, you’ll catch a glimpse of the Great Pyramids of Egypt in the background. All around you people ride camels and horses, bringing life to your virtual experience.
Pyramids of Giza
No trip to Egypt would be complete without a trip to the Pyramids of Giza. This trio of pyramids, built over 4,000 years ago, is located just over a kilometer from our previous stop, the Great Sphinx. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, the pyramids were originally built as tombs for Egyptian rulers. The Great Pyramids are the only surviving wonder of the ancient world, and are now designated as a UNESCO world heritage site.
- Google Arts and Culture offers views of the pyramids here and here. Click around to see the impressive and imposing pyramids. Tourists around you look like ants in comparison to the pyramids. The largest of the three is the Great Pyramid of Giza which stands at 481 feet tall.
- Watch a BBC video here to go inside the Great Pyramid of Giza. In this video, explore a virtual recreation of the interior of the pyramid, from the King’s chamber to the Subterranean chamber. You can even use your cursor to pan and get a 360-degree view.
Tomb of Queen Meresankh III
Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has partnered with The Giza Project at Harvard University to offer a virtual 360 degree tour of the tomb of Queen Meresankh III. The tomb, like our previous stops, is also located in Giza.
- Click here to explore the tomb of Queen Meresankh III, an Egyptian royal who lived approximately 5,000 years ago. Click on the blue circles along your tour for more information on what you’re seeing.
- The same website offers virtual tours of other historic Egyptian sites and monuments here. Some of the most exciting offerings include tours of religious sites pertaining to Islamic, Christian, and Jewish traditions. Visit the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Barquq, the Red Monastery, and finally the Ben Ezra Synagogue, where legend says baby Moses was found.
Across the Nile to the Egyptian Museum
Now, we travel to Cairo, only 10 minutes away by car. However, we do have to cross the Nile River. Use the Qasr El Nil Bridge to see the famous four lion statues on your way to the Egyptian Museum. The museum houses almost 160,000 Egyptian antiquities.
- Watch a video overview of the Egyptian Museum here, produced by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. The video is in Arabic, but has English subtitles.
- Enjoy a travel blogger’s personal account of the Egyptian Museum, complete with photos, here.
Itching for more virtual travel? Stay tuned to the Arts Blog for tours in more countries around the world. Next up: South Africa.