NileGuide Expert Says:
Many tourists skip the Solar Boat Museum, which is a huge mistake. Pay close attention to the actual construction of the boat: it is made of hundreds of pieces of shaped wood that were sewed together, making it all the more remarkable to think that it may once have sailed the high seas!
Giza Pyramids Plateau
12561 Cairo, Egypt
+20 (0)2 391 3454 (Tourist Information)
The ancient Egyptians believed the dead pharaoh would join the Sun God in his solar boat to sail through the underworld. In 1954 an actual solar boat (or barque) was found in a sealed pit next to the Pyramid of Khufu
. The boat was made of cedar wood and almost perfectly preserved, although disassembled in to over 1000 pieces. A team of archaeologists spent over 10 years reconstructing the boat, which is now on display in the Solar Boat Museum, next to the Great Pyramid
The boat is a remarkable feat of engineering – about 40 m long and with a displacement of around 400 tonnes! It is not known whether the boat played a purely symbolic function, or whether it actually served as Khufu's ship of state. There is some physical evidence that suggests the boat actually sailed at sea!
The Solar Boat Museum houses a number of artefacts found in the pit, as well as the reconstructed boat itself. It also has an interesting photo exhibition detailing the immense amount of work that went into the salvage operation. The best way to visit the Giza Plateau
is by taxi.