May 6, 2012

Into a Egyptian Pyramid, 1737 | Walking Through Egypt

Into a Pyramid, 1737
Captain Frederick Norden

Great Pyramid Of Khufu Inside
The most agreeable way of seeing the Pyramids is with a party; they mutually excite each other’s curiosity. All the prodigies related by those who have seen them before are not to be too credulously swallowed. From Cairo the tour to them may be made in a day or two. Those who have a mind to spend two days, ride off on asses through the city, cross the canal, and afterwards traverse the isle of Rhoda; on the left of which they and their asses embark, and land at Gizeh, a village opposite to Cairo. There no stop is to be made for the curious, not until a league further, where there is the inn with some chambers to let. There a very disagreeable night is passed by the curious, without beds or other convenience, they are tormented by bugs, but one night is soon over and, when curiosity eggs, such difficulties are most easily borne. Next morning the road to the Pyramids is entered on, . . . two Arabs are taken as guides. ... At the opening of the first Pyramid fire some pistols in order to dislodge the bats, then order the two Arabs to clear away the sand, that almost chokes up the farther entrance to it.

This done, the next precaution is to strip to your shirt, on account of the excessive heat within the Pyramid; in this trim you get through, each person a bougie [candle] in his hand, for in this narrow avenue, it would be dangerous to use flambeaux [flaming torches] on account of the suffocating smoke. ... At the end of it there is a passage made by force, whose opening is scarce one foot and a half high, and the two Arabs, who have wriggled themselves through before, seize each leg, and drag their gentleman through this probation cleft, all covered with filth. Happily this narrow passage is not above two yards long, otherwise such tugging would be unsupportable to all . . . then a large space opens, where the traveller takes breath, and some refreshments. . . .

The progress continues with great difficulty until at last the traveller reaches a salon and their past difficulties are swallowed up with admiration.

Here, by way of amusement, pistols are fired, which excite a noise equal to that of thunder. No further objects to be seen, they return the same way with the same difficulty.

The first care of tourists when they come out of the Pyramid must be to dress instandy, cover themselves warmly, and drink a glass of generous wine, in order to prevent a pleaurisy, which they are very liable to, on account of the sudden transition from a very hot to a temperate air. This precaution observed . . . they ascend the Pyramid to contemplate the landscape all around, which is delightful. Thereon without, as well as in the chambers within, are described the names of many persons who have visited the Pyramid, and by so doing meant that their having travelled thither should be transmitted to posterity.

This first Pyramid well examined, go to the second which, being shut, is soon dispatched.

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