May 6, 2012

The Spell of the Pyramids, 1956

Pyramids and Sphinx
The man-made mountains that are the Pyramids, and the great crouching figure of the Sphinx even when we come to them with present-day knowledge stun us. From the distance they are immediately familiar; close to, they become far huger than in our imaginations. The writer and broadcaster Leonard Cottrell summed up in 1949 and on later visits what many travelers have felt and feel about the Pyramids.

Pyramids and Sphinx
The Spell of the Pyramids, 1956 
Leonard Cottrell
The Giza Pyramids are beyond doubt the supreme expression of Pharaonic majesty and power, whether one sees them far across the valley, lifting their golden tips above the morning haze, or at glaring mid-day, when their huge limestone sides lean against the sky like a flight of heavenly stairs. ...”

Since I wrote those words, six years ago, I have had the opportunity to read far more about the Pyramids, and to revisit them on several occasions. In spite of the importunate dragomans and the troops of tourists, in spite of the touts and the souvenir-sellers , in spite of the efforts by scholars, cranks, by religious fanatics to explain away their mystery, each visit to the Pyramids only serves to deepen their spell.

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