West of Cairo, the three pyramids of Giza rise from the edge of the Nile's west bank in perfect geometric form. Thought to be the work of Egyptians from around 2500 BC, the pyramids are massive structures of unbelievable technical achievement. They are the only remaining of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
"Time laughs at all things, but the pyramids laugh at time," revealed an old Egyptian proverb.
The Great Pyramid, the largest one, was built for the pharaoh Khufu (called Cheops by the Greeks). The structure features sophisticated chambers and passageways and was a tomb to protect the King's body and belongings for afterlife. Some say the architectural wonder was a symbol of the rays of the sun god Ra shining through the clouds.
About the need of mankind to build to the sky, brilliant architect Philip Johnson observed, "What is there about the desire for domination, or to reach God, or for private pride--the pyramids are an example of that."
Florence Nightingale said about the amazing structures in the 1840s, "The pyramids looked as if they would wear out the air, boring holes in it all day long."
Thirty times larger than the Empire State Building, the Great Pyramid rises 478 feet (40 stories) high with 2.3 million limestone blocks and weighing 6.5 million tons. Thousands of Egyptians spent 23 years building this remarkable architectural achievement.
Monument and solar celebration, the Pyramids are precisely aligned, each side aimed at the four cardinal directions.
Nearby, the enigmatic Sphinx, with its lion's body and human head, guards and protects the way in the beautiful, but mysterious desert, fronting the setting sun.
As Zen Master Taisen Deshimaru has said, "Keep your hands open, and all the sands of the desert can pass through them. Close them, and all you can feel is a bit of grit."
Beauty is incomprehensible.