Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt • 360° Aerial Panorama
This panorama can be opened in several different resolutions. High resolution panorama with the best quality is about 7 Mb large and it is suitable for fast internet connections and modern computers. For slower internet and old weak computers we created the smaller low resolution panorama. Some small details have been sacrificed but the size of low resolution panorama is nomore than 2 Mb.
Arabian proverb says, "Everything in the world is afraid of time, and time is afraid of the pyramids".
A year ago Sergey Semenov tried to rent a helicopter in Cairo to shoot the pyramids. It didn't work. "No photos allowed due of the close proximity of the military base" such was the explanation. However there was positive news - a story of a French science enthusiast, who bribed local guides and got on top of a pyramid with his equipment to measure some magnetic fields. We have to say that pyramids are surrounded by high fence with motion sensors; and special guards with machine guns and security dogs patrol the perimeter during non-tourist hours. Based on Sergey's story however we assumed that there was certain flexibility in Egyptian national security system, and that we might have a chance to fly there :)
We had to hurry up, because pyramid of Cheops was the only one of "Seven Wonders of the World" still standing; and the last "Transformers" movie made me think that the militant robots might actually destroy the pyramids for real next time :)
Frame from the movie «Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen»
Frame from the movie «Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen»
We assembled the team and sent it off to Egypt. This time we decided to shoot with the help of a radio controlled helicopter. It's worth mentioning that according to news reports, there were series of protests and street gunfire in Cairo, so our guys were not very happy about the trip. I called my friend in Cairo to see what was really going on there, and he said, "There is gunfire in Downtown of Cairo, but the outskirts, where all the tourists stay, are quite safe. Just watch out for Cairo taxi drivers. Don't let them rob you" :)
So the guys left for Egypt to photograph pyramids. Their SMS saying, "we took off, and got arrested" did not surprise me. I was not worried a bit, thinking "It's Egypt. They won't hurt a tourist, they like them there." So when they texted me "It will cost 1000 US dollars to get us out flash card with photos back and continue shooting", I replied "No way! Stay where you are and keep bargaining".
It is considered rather rude in Eastern culture to accept the first price offered, so your counterpart would appreciate if you bargain just a little. It turned out to be true in our case. However, our guys were probably very uncomfortable in these circumstances - surrounded by 20 policeman and military, so they dropped the price just a touch, settling on 800 US dollars.
This price included access to the photographic location and police escort for entire day. So the photoshooting began.
Before we let one of the group members, Stas Sedov, the pilot of our RC helicopter, continue with his story, I want to say that Egypt is a very unique country, where they love tourists in general, and photographers in particular. My father went there 14 times and wants to keep it the way it is ...
"Quit playing games, boys! - Oleg told us one day last fall, - it's time for you to go to Cairo to shoot pyramids"
"Which Cairo? The one with revolution, gunfire and barricades on the streets?" - went through my mind, but I said out loud "Mmmm... When is our flight?"
It took me two weeks to assemble and set up another radio-controlled machine, which would serve as a back-up in case the main helicopter fails. Each helicopter was packed in a separate suitcase in case one bag gets lost. The total weight of our luggage - two helicopters, repair kit, and photo equipment (3 sets of cameras and lenses) - was 80 kilos.
Here I am admiring desert beauty of Egyptian landscapes, passing by our airplane windows. "Those cities look so much alike" - says sleepy Sergey pointing out of the window, and I notice that we in fact have been circling above one spot for over an hour. In a few minutes our captain announces that the rebels have occupied the international airport of Cairo and that our plane must remain in the air until the situation is resolved. How interesting!
We safely landed after about an hour of hovering above the airport, and immediately got into rebels' hands. Just kidding! I didn't notice any signs of a takeover; it was a normal peaceful life of an international airport. As it turned out, traffic controllers were on strike demanding a raise in salary.
After spending so much time on the plane we were anxious to start shooting the pyramids; but due to the delay we arrived to the closed gates. The name of our guide - a beautiful local girl - was Hinda, which surprisingly means "100 camels" in Arabic. We told her that we would try to get there early in the morning, before the museum opens (we wanted to take few shots without tourists).
Hours of operation of the local museum complex depend mainly on the timetable of tourist buses that bring most of the crowd to pyramids. The complex is open 8 am to 4 pm, and for the rest of the day it becomes a fortified military base, which we had no intentions to assault.
Early morning, 30 minutes before the opening, we are by the museum gate trying to convince the guards by money and speech to let us in. Absolutely useless! Against our expectations, gatekeepers are not interested in our money. I won't tell you how nervous we were while waiting for the beginning of our photo session. After one and a half hour we finally got to the first location only to face new difficulties.
Practically every local person living near pyramids makes his money here one way or another. We heard of camel drivers and other eclectic characters, but we had no idea about guards. It turned out that in addition to policemen in uniform there were policemen in plain clothes, military representatives in plain clothes, and the museum personnel near each pyramid. It would be hard to say who had more authority, perhaps, the army guys.
Hinda suggested talking to the military people right away to avoid further problems. We were prepared for that, and after a long conversation between Sergey and a tall camel rider in white robe and keffiyeh, we got permission to fly our helicopter. By that moment I was almost completely worn out by stress, uncertainty and heat, because there was absolutely no guarantee that our equipment will function properly in the condition of "over +35C in shade". Fortunately, everything worked fine, and we made two successful flights.
We moved to the second location, and when we took off our luck turned. One of the "plain-clothed" officers made a phone call and the whole army came to arrest us.
We were taken to the administrative building of the museum. There were about 20 people, some wore uniform, and some were obviously from the museum. It was rather difficult to figure out who was in charge in this crowd. At first there was a lot of shouting, our guide was very pale and hardly translated a word for us. Finally one of the museum managers demanded to see the photos and then took our flash card. After taking control over our most "valuable possession", the museum authority immediately changed his tone of voice, and the atmosphere around us relaxed. Everybody took turns checking out the "magic apparatus" that we flew near pyramids. It was a sign for us to begin negotiating terms of our photo project. Hinda translated the reply of the museum authority: "We'll sort everything out in 5-10 minutes".
These 5-10 minutes turned into about 4 hours of continuous negotiation; people were coming and going, making impossible requirements, calling the Minister of Culture, Minister of Police and who knows what else. Imagine the chaos of the Egyptian street market increased 10 fold, and you'll get the picture!
We had to go to the police office (Where we accidentally ran into the Prime Minister of the country. No kidding) to negotiate a police escort for the duration of our shooting - the museum people refused to give us their permission without the escort.
By the end of the day we managed to sort out almost all the formalities, and the conversation focused on the final fee for taking pictures. Egyptians asked about 1000 US dollars. Everything would be official, with receipts and other paperwork. Of course, there was no such thing as official permit for aerial photography, and so they offered us to buy a permit for professional photography: "if you shoot from the air, you must be a professional!" By the way, there is no problem to shoot with a regular pro photo camera around pyramids, but not inside. After some more bargaining we dropped the price to 800 USD, and finally purchased this precious piece of paper and a police escort.
Stas is reparing the R/C helicopter
I can describe the following day with only one phrase - we worked like plantation slaves!
Our permit covered practically the entire territory of the pyramids. The police protected us from annoing bypassers and local beggars. The museum management let us to the Sphinx 30 minutes before the main crowd, for which I am very grateful. Too bad we couldn't get on the archeological ramp by the feet of the statue, so we had to shoot from the side. Having very limited visibility, I was concerned that our helicopter could add another "special feature" to the Sphinx's face with already missing nose by hitting its eye; but everything went well.
By the end of the day we became such good friends with our escort that we didn't want to part. Only deputy director of the museum, rushed us: "The museum is a military zone." Last tourists leave the territory at 4 pm, and we must go by 4:30 pm otherwise our escort would have serious problems...
That day we also wanted to photograph the famous, beautiful old Mosque of Muhammad Ali, located in the center of Cairo. However because of the ongoing protests our guide refused to go there. After stuff of the museum confirmed her words we decided to skip it.
We were so tired that we fell asleep the moment our heads touched the pillows in the hotel, which was located just a couple of blocks from pyramids. Tomorrow we were going home.
At the airport screening a security officer told us that in Egypt it was prohibited to carry helicopters in one's luggage. After a short negotiation I took out 20-dollar bill and he politely let me though. Our second suitcase with the helicopter was received much better and cost only 10 bucks.
Here we were - Sergey and I - sitting in a café with the notebook, going through the images while waiting for our flight; and on the news they were saying that 19 people were killed yesterday in Cairo during protests on Tahrir Square... Egypt is an amazing country. It is very friendly to tourists. As one of the museum authorities put it, "Egypt has only two commodities: tourism and Suez Canal".
Arabian proverb says, "Everything in the world is afraid of time, and time is afraid of the pyramids".
And now you can look down at these pyramids, from the bird's eye view.
You can watch the short video from the above of Pyramids.
Photo by Sergey Semenov, video and pilotage by Stas Sedov.
Amira Saied, Egypt
"Very nice! I was glad to hear my music in this panorama. However, the license my music is published under requires you to give a credit, without it your work is copyright infringing . Please make sure to include the following credit in the description: Music: 1000 and 1 Nights by SaReGaMa saregama-music.blogspot.com Thanks."
Sarva Mangalam, Antarctica
AirPano: Dear Sarva, if you put your mouse over the melody selection button in the bottom left control block, you will see credits to the music. Is it OK or you need something else?
"I have viewed only a few, I think as a commoner I have not ever viewed such a fantastic sites,wish I could visit such sites once in our life times,really fascinating & fantastic. Wish u all the best 4 the future."
RASHID MOHAMMAD MALIM, Albania
"Gracias por ste excelente trabajo"
Angeles Ruiz, Spain
Brian Steven, Australia
"Fabulous work! Loved so many .... esp Angel Falls, Egypt! .... and what a writeup goes with it! - all very beautiful. Will you share the name of the CD used for the Egypt video? It's lovely and so fitting. Thank you all for your talents and efforts to creates these works of beauty to share with so many."
Virginia Hans, Canada
Alina, AirPano: Thank you, Virginia! The music tracks are - SaReGaMa - "One Thousand and One Nights", DiDuLa - "Mirazh", Omar Faruk Tekbilek - "Whirling Dervish".
"I always wanted to see and experience the Pyramids but never got to Egypt. I am sure you have brought a lot of pleasure to a great many people viewing your excellent work. Well done and congratulations!"
eduard goldschagg, South Africa
"Thank you so much, you made me see the Pyramids like I never seen before. you are no#1. it feels like I'm in the air with your helicopter. it's so pleasant and amazing photography. Thanks again."
Taha Aladawi, Egypt
"Absulutly FANTASTIC.!!!!!!!!! its a never seen before...... well done."
Serge Funel, USA
Laura Exner, Canada
Norma E Leibold, USA
"Fantastic work. All kudos for your work. Please keep it up. Thanks a lot for giving the wonderful experience..."
Satya Prakash, India
"Any chance of the Parthenon Athens ?"
alan corsane, United Kingdom
Alina, AirPano: Alan, the Athens panorama is getting ready, will be published soon.
"Thank you for the opportunity to see the Pyramids in your panoramic views.Thank you for persisting in this endeavor to make it possible for many to appreciate these ancient wonders. Lydia, USA"
Lydia Stevick, USA
"Excellent work. thanks"
christopher charles, Qatar
"I love the History and Pictures Egypt has. Charles Miller."
Charles Miller, USA
amir amiri, Iran
"We are supposed to leave Oct.14th. Alexandria is our first port but with the unrest in Cairo, the cruise line suspended stops there through Sept. I will be so disappointed if the unrest continues and our cruise by passes Alexandria also. We have reservations to stay one night in Cairo and have a two day tour planned of the pyramids, etc. Sue Ann McClutchey Oconomowoc, WI., USA"
Sue Ann McClutchey, USA
"Iґve been there. your panorama give me now another perspective. I appreciate your work. Just find in your photos the perimetral stone wall almost hide in the sand I did not see when i was there. Thanks a lat for this and for de others too, are really amazing."
Audrey Sagols Ruiz, Spain
"I would like to visit this wonderful place- The Emerates.But I cant afford it."
ALFRED FARRUGIA, Malta
""Awesome"....exclusive....a must see for all who want to travel but cannot.....Lovely, must say...."
Iris Fernandes, India
"simply fantastic!! the trips of a life time!!!~! thank you"
bobby turua, Cook Islands
"a must see"
George Wiebe, Canada
"Great Photography and a good sense of humor despite of the exaggeration"
Mohamed Eisa, Egypt
"Beautiful photography!! Reminded me of my visit in 2006"
Jatinder Peters, India
"just unimaginable. mind shattering. such a wonderful idea of photographing & presenting with a bird's view.awesome,wonderful... no words to describe the feeling."
mihir patel, India
"Just great I dont think you could make it any better."
Tom J h Wilson, Australia
"Thank you for this presentation. It gives me more reason to want to see this place."
aurora lambino, Canada
Alina, AirPano: It's must to see, Aurora
Thao Dang Dinh, Vietnam
"LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this. After being in Egypt in Nov. 2010, seeing the Pyramids at this perspective was fantastic. Keep up the great work. I'd really rate this a 10!"
Nancy Geraci, USA
Alina, AirPano: Nancy, your 5 is like 100 for us :)
"KEEP UP THE EXCELLENT WORK! I ENJOYED EVERY MOMENT OF THE WORLD TOUR YOU HAVE GIFTED US.THANX FOR SHARING IT WITH THE WORLD."
VIDYA THACKER, India
Ramуn Cano, Mexico
"Thanks for the good work guys keep up and stay blessed"
Henry Nyakudya, Zimbabwe
"Thanks, for the wonderfull Work,giving all us, to feel, how is grandious the capacity of the People of this Wordl."
Armando Estrуcio, Portugal
Alina, AirPano: Thanks for looking at our work from such interesting point of view, Armando!
"From the comfort of my room through my PC I was engulfed with an aura of a tourist to this beautiful site. Everything from the zenith of the pyramid to the chopped nose of great Sphinx was awesome. Your panoramic works are really inspiring and I share in the pains and frustrations you always encounter while preparing for your fans the memorable gifts. May these works live beyond you."
Kamil Alabelewe, United Arab Emirates
"Reading about what you have to going through, to get such magnificent photos make them more fascinating . . . thanks"
Guillermo Medina, Mexico
"Thank you , you allowed me to see stuff I would NEVER have got to see any other way and I appreciate all the risks you took to do it! Enjoy your adventures and share more with us please"
Anita Corbett, New Zealand
Alina, AirPano: Anita, thank you for travelling with us, watch for updatings and enjoy it!
"Awesome.Is better than the view that I was physically there. Visit it on 07Aug12."
Fun Chong, Malaysia
"What a wonderful world."
William Poole, Australia
""Absolutely amazing, great graphics. Thank You!""
Gloria Charles, Cayman Islands
"Very interesting, visited the site in 1997!"
charmaine botha, South Africa
"Amazing.Thank you for giving these wonderful spectacles to the world for free. Samuel.M.G"
M.G. SAMUEL, India
"Congratulations for your amazing and perfect job."
Javier Escobar Arce, Mexico
"This is really a great work. And this is the way our future generation will know about the history. Great and kudos to all those involved."
ANANDA VARDHANA N V, India
"Hi Guys, My wife Janette who is an amateur Egyptologist and I go regularly to Cairo and stay at the Mena House Hotel with a balcony just across the road from the Pyramids so we know the area well. But your photos and website are simply amazing. The best view of the pyramids we have ever seen. Where did you buy your helicopter? I want one! Regards, David and Janette"
David Waddington, United Kingdom
"Thank you for sharing these stunning photos. Music is lovely too....takes me away to a magical place...:)"
Debra Lawrence, United Kingdom
"Ver las pirбmides de nuevo ha sido maravilloso, extraordinario. Muchas gracias, espero volver a Egipto."
ELENA FRANCO, Egypt
"What asight to behold!!!"
Marian Hemming, United Kingdom
"Your pictures are beautiful! .... Amazing and beautiful photography!"
Maged Nabawy, Egypt
arun brahmbhatt, India