“It was absolutely surreal standing on top of one of the wonders of the world, and something that I will never forget.”
German teenager Andrej Ciesielski faced three years in jail for climbing the Great Pyramid of Giza. He says it was worth the risk.
Yes, we know it’s wrong. Yes, we know it’s illegal. Yes, we know the rules are there for a reason. But who doesn’t have a pang of envy at the German teenager who decided to never die wondering; he was going to climb the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Teenagers are usually known for impulse decisions, but on January 18, this year, Andrej Ciesielski, from Munich, arrived in Cairo with one purpose in mind – to climb a 4,500-year-old pyramid.
Three years ago a group of Russians climbed to the top of Khufu’s Great Pyramid, as well as the Third Pyramid at Giza, Menkaure’s. They did it after dark to avoid the attention of the guards. Andrej however, did it in broad daylight for the best photo opportunities. It took him just eight minutes to climb the 146 metres to the top.
The 18-year-old said, “I listened to music on the way up. After a few minutes climbing, I started to attract a bit of attention and some of the security shouted to me to come down in Arabic.”
Rules against scaling pyramids are to protect them from excessive wear and tear, and to protect climbers from themselves – a wrong step halfway up a pyramid could prove fatal. Climbers face up to three years in an Egyptian prison. Andrej says that the photographs were worth the risk – of both the bodily harm and the prison term.
Would you like to climb with him? Andrej didn’t just take photos; he videoed the journey up the pyramid. Click here to watch it and feel what it’s like to climb the Great Pyramid of Giza.
"I had asked locals what they thought of my attempt and they warned me that it was illegal to climb the pyramids, although I thought it would be fine, what with Egypt's dependence on tourists."
It's not easy to hide on a giant pyramid in the middle of the day and he was spotted by police when he was around halfway up.
“'When I got back down, the police were quick to take me to the station and question me. At first, they wanted to take me to the German embassy, but after a while I was released without anything further happening.”Andrej was released without charge.
Naturally we don't encourage anyone to break the law. Andrej's photos, however, are certainly amazing, and yes, probably worth the risk!
To check out Andrej's blog with even more photos from the top, visit his blog here.