Climbing the Pyramids

Photo: Vitaliy Raskalov

When Russian photographers Vadim Makhorov and Vitaliy Raskalov went to the Pyramids at Giza, Egypt, the duo couldn't resist embarking on a great adventure: climbing to the top of the Pyramid and taking photos of the world below.

Problem was, it's illegal to do so. Makhorov explains to CNN:

"No words can express the fascination I felt when seeing my childhood dream come alive. Probably this very feeling made us climb onto the top of the Pyramid and see the the panorama of the whole complex, the desert and Cairo itself.

"It was already pitch black and nobody paid us any attention. We started climbing as fast and as soundless as we could. You have to be quite strong and agile to climb onto a meter-high block covered with dust.

"It was exhausting, but the thought that we were going to witness something spectacular pushed us forward.

"It took us around 20 minutes to get to the top. We were taken breathless by the view.
"What we saw from up there was the seventh wonder of the world. We tried to capture the beauty of the scenery in the photos, so that the others could also see this magnificent panorama.

We're left with the magnificent photos from the duo's criminal adventure, which you can see over at CNN: Link

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I had the same reaction as you did while walking through the halls in the British Museum. It's a mixed feeling of "wow, I'm thankful that I can look at all these antiquities" and "they plundered their colonies."

Thanks for letting us know about Tut's tomb!
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I visited Tut's tomb and that was amazing. It's one thing to see a picture of walls and ceilings painted 3000 years ago and it's really another to view it for yourself. I also visited the museum in Cairo, and flew down to the temple at Luxor. Someone else mentioned that people can't hurt stone-- they really can. Sand had covered the columns almost to the top. You can see graffiti with the oldest at the top and it gets more recent toward the bottom. As the ruins are being excavated, the sand is chiseling away the hieroglyphics, so they are almost gone at the top. Interestingly, I think what made the trip for me was a layover in I had in London on my way back to the States. I lived in the British Museum the whole time. I was thrilled to see the missing items from Egypt, while at the same time horrified at how so many artifacts had been taken.
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Good point. I've seen Egyptian artifacts in three different venues - Seattle, Denver, and the Met in NYC. In Seattle it was the first time they brought the Tutankhamun exhibit to the U.S. The Denver exhibit was laid out to show the ancient Egyptian's philosophy of preparing for the afterlife. I can't remember how much of that was original and how much reproduction. Ditto with the Met. My inclination when I see anything in an exhibit that patrons can actually touch (or damage) is to assume it's a reproduction, or one of thousands and of a non-critical nature.

Meanwhile, regarding those pyramids outside the city of Cairo... did you know that you can still see the chisel marks in those enormous stones? Consider the level of metallurgy at that time; how often they would have had to resharpen their tools. My husband is a woodworker with a large collection of antique hand tools, and the idea of seeing the evidence of those long dead stonecutters still visible in the stone blocks fascinates him. Such evidence fascinated British archaeologists too and for decades, which is why the British museum is swimming in artifact inventory.
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I'm sure that the Pyramids are closed to the public for good reasons, but sometimes there's vastly different attitudes toward "interacting" with historical objects.

Case in point, my wife and I spent two hours in line to see an exhibit on Egyptian artifacts in a California museum (items lent by the British Museum) and when we got inside we only got a glimpse of small items behind plexiglass and velvet ropes. Then a few years later, we went to the British Museum where they've got halls of the stuff in direct view.
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