The smallest of Cairo’s three main Giza Pyramids, the Pyramid of Menkaure stands with its two counterparts on the Giza Plateau on the southwestern edges of Egypt’s capital. As part of Cairo’s most-visited attraction, this 4,500-year-old tomb is seen by millions of tourists each year.The Basics
Built by the 4th-dynasty pharaoh Menkaure as his own tomb, the Pyramid of Menkaure was completed in 2,490 BC and originally stood 213 feet (65 meters) tall. Constructed from limestone and granite, it now measures 204 feet (62 meters) due to the removal of its limestone casing. It stands just southwest of the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) and the Pyramid of Khafre, constructed in turn for Menkaure’s grandfather, Khufu, and father, Khafre.
There are various ways travelers can experience the Pyramid of Menkaure and its two companion tombs. Take a private trip that covers Giza before continuing to other Cairo must-sees such as the Egyptian Museum, or choose an in-depth tour that focuses on Giza alone. Alternatively, book a tour that calls at Giza, ancient Saqqara, and Memphis or see it as part of a multi-day Cairo break or guided journey around Egypt.
Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- The Pyramid of Menkaure is a must-see for Cairo newbies and history fans.
- Bring sunscreen, a camera, and water.
- Wear closed shoes to cope with the hot, sandy plateau.
- Use the restrooms at the main Giza Pyramids gate before entering; the site itself has no facilities.
The easiest way to travel independently to the Giza Pyramids, about 12.5 miles (20 kilometers) from downtown Cairo, is by cab. Allow a 60- to 90-minute journey to negotiate Cairo’s traffic. Another option are the buses to Giza that leave from Abdel Menem Riyad Station in Tahrir Square—look for the white coaches marked CTA.
When to Get There
The Giza Plateau is open from 7am to 5pm daily between October and March and 7am to 7pm from April to September. Times are subject to change, so check locally beforehand. Interior entry to the pyramids involves an additional cost and depends on which pyramids are open on the day. To explore the pyramids at their quietest, avoid the 9:30am–10am rush of tourist coaches. Explore Inside the Pyramid of Menkaure
If it’s open, it’s worth exploring inside the Pyramid of Menkaure. Descend the passageway to the antechambers—one with decorative panels and another with niches used for storing treasures—and view the vaulted chamber that held Menkaure’s sarcophagus. Be sure to view the hieroglyphics at the pyramid entrance: They spell out the date of Menkaure’s death.