Bird's eye view of the Great Pyramids

The Great Pyramids of Giza sit near Cairo, the capital of Egypt. Cairo is home to more than twice as many people as Los Angeles, California.


Common Core: RH.6-8.1, RH.6-8.4, RH.6-8.7, WHST.6-8.4, RI.6-8.1, RI.6-8.4, RI.6-8.7, W.6-8.4

NCSS: Culture • Time, Continuity, and Change • People, Places, and Environments


Where Old Meets New

Ancient history and modern growth live side by side in Cairo, Egypt.

Jim McMahon/Mapman®

Imagine that you’re exploring Egypt. Do you picture yourself riding a camel across the desert to see the world-famous Pyramids of Giza? If so, you might be surprised to learn that they’re located right beside a densely populated city.

Those massive monuments, built about 4,500 years ago for ancient Egyptian kings, aren’t in a remote, exotic location. They’re right next to Cairo, Egypt’s capital—a bustling city of 10 million people. And you don’t need a camel to reach them. You can just hop in a taxi or tour bus.

hadynyah/Getty Images

To get images like this, photographers frame their shots to keep the city skyline out of view.

The pyramids have been a popular attraction for centuries. Today busy roads, crowded parking lots, and sidewalks teeming with tourists and souvenir vendors are just a short walk from the limestone giants.

But don’t worry: If you stand in just the right spots and hold your phone at just the right angles, you can frame some selfies that’ll make friends back home think it’s just you, your trusty camel, and those towering wonders of the ancient world.

Question: Why is the way we imagine historical sites often different from what they’re really like today?

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