Egyptian Man Climbs Great Pyramid of Giza, Throws Stones at Security Trying to Stop Him

By Margaret Wollensak
Margaret Wollensak
Margaret Wollensak
May 3, 2019 Updated: May 3, 2019

An Egyptian man who climbed the Great Pyramid of Giza Wednesday, allegedly throwing small stones at security who attempted to stop him, was arrested, Egyptian officials say.

“On Wednesday morning, the man climbed the largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Pyramid Complex after he entered the pyramids area of the main gate as an ordinary Egyptian visitor with an entry ticket,” a news release from Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities says.

The news release explained that the man went to the entrance of the pyramid, like any other visitor, but then tried to climb to the top of the pyramid, which is when security tried to stop him.

Archaeologists and security with the tourism and antiquities police tried to prevent him from climbing, but the man “resisted them and threw stones.”

The man then climbed to the top of the pyramid, where he grabbed the wooden mast that ha been placed there in modern times to show the original height of the ancient structure, the news release said. The pyramid originally stood at 146 meters (479 feet) but, due to erosion and missing its capstone, it now stands at just 139 meters (456 feet) high.

Police with the Ministry of Antiquities arrested the man and forwarded the case to the Public Prosecution office for further investigation. It is unclear whether the man will be charged with anything.

The Great Pyramid of Giza, also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops, is the oldest and largest of the three Great pyramids at Giza, and the only remaining wonder of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Climbing of the pyramids is prohibited by the Ministry of Antiquities, and climbers may break a number of antiquity laws by doing so.

Talking to Egyptian television channel Al-Hayat about the case, Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that, while the young man did climb the pyramid, he did not spoil any antiquities. He said the wooden mast is a modern object that has to be replaced every few years due to erosion and sunlight, Egypt Today reports.

“Spoiling it is not considered a crime according to the law of antiquities or the law protecting the antiquities,” Waziri stated, according to Egypt Today.

Under the Egyptian Law on the Protection of Antitquities, known as Law No. 117 of 1983, all antiquities are regulated and considered the property of the state, and it is prohibited to trade or smuggle antiquities, or to remove or detach publicly owned or registered antiquities without permission. In addition, anyone who destroys, damages, or spoils an antiquity may be punished.

A video on Facebook supposedly shows the man standing on top of the pyramid.

Related Incidents

Pyramid of Khafre in Giza
Tourists ride camels past the pyramid of Khafre in Giza, southwest of central Cairo, on Oct. 11, 2012. (KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

It is not the first time that someone has attempted, or succeeded, in climbing the Great Pyramid.

Late last year, two Danish tourists reportedly climbed the pyramid and allegedly took nude photos at the top of the pyramid, causing international outrage. Andreas Hvid told Danish news site Ekstra Bladet that he attempted the climb the pyramid twice; the first time he was stopped by guards and interrogated at the local police station before he was released. The second time he succeeded in climbing to the top, where he took the controversial picture of him and a naked girl posed in a sexual position along with a video of the climb.

He told Ekstra Bladet that the two of them had not had sex at the top of the pyramids, and that it was all just for the picture.

The photo stirred up a lot of local and international outrage, as Egypt is a fairly conservative nation, and many people found the picture disrespectful. At the time, Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anani said that the ministry would open an investigation into the video and picture to verify whether they were real or not, according to BBC.

In a separate case from 2016, an 18-year old illegally climbed the Great Pyramid in broad daylight, documenting the experience in a video.

Andrej Ciesielski, from Germany, was given a lifetime ban from Egypt after he climbed the pyramid to take photos from the top. According to a Huffington Post blog article that he wrote, the climb took him about eight minutes while the descent took him about 20.

“At the halfway point, some people saw me and looked up. That’s how the police spotted me. They shouted something in Arabic, I think, but I didn’t care and kept going while listening to music,” he said in the post.

After his climb, Ciesielski posted his two minute video on YouTube, where it was received nearly 3.5 million views. It shows him arriving at the base of the pyramid and then cuts to him climbing up the side, and finishes with a view from the top.

He was arrested after he climbed down.

Margaret Wollensak
Margaret Wollensak