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from January/February 2005
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Then & Now Photo Gallery: The Pyramids, Egypt
How classic destinations have changed over the years.
Then & Now Photo Gallery Then & Now Photo Gallery

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THEN: Fashions may change, but the Pyramids endure: Here, skylarking tourists take tea atop the Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt. The 481-foot-tall monument was built by Pharaoh Khufu around 2550 B.C. In the background stands the pyramid of Khufu's son, Khafre. Though not wanting to show disrespect by building his pyramid taller than his father's, Khafre nevertheless chose a site with a slightly higher elevation. As a result, even though his tomb was ten feet shorter it actually rose above his father's.

Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis
NOW: When the Pyramids were built on the barren Giza Plateau, the capital of Egypt was Memphis, some 13 miles to the south. The foundations of Cairo—a dozen miles east of the Pyramids—would not be laid for another 3,500 years. Today, the suburbs of Cairo have crept to within a few thousand feet of the monuments, and you can gaze at the Great Pyramid of Khufu while relaxing on the grounds of the Mena House Oberoi Hotel, as a young woman does here. "It's a strange juxtaposition," says photographer Richard Nowitz, "to see the centuries-old icon and this luxury beyond the imagination of the pharaohs—a swimming pool in the desert."

Photograph by Richard Nowitz

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