A German teen, calling himself an “urban explorer,” climbed the Great Pyramid in Giza, travelling over 3,000 miles from Munich to Egypt to commit a crime in broad daylight. The 18-year-old risk taker managed to make it to the top of the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex in just over eight minutes. After descending, police took the teen into custody.
According to USA Today on Jan. 29, Andrej Ciesielski “describes his incredible, yet illegal, climb to the top of the Great Pyramid of Giza in broad daylight on Jan. 18.” The German tourist “first visited Cairo before hiring a taxi to take him to Giza. Though climbing the oldest and largest of the three pyramids could result in a three-year jail term, or something far worse if he lost his footing,” he said the experience and photos would be “worth it.”
Ciesielski wrote about his experience on his blog, and included a number of stunning aerial photos (dubbed “roofing”) from other landmarks he had climbed. An abridged video of his ascent up the 4,500-year-old monument was uploaded to Daily Motion.
“I can’t describe it in words… It was really unbelievable for me. It was absolutely amazing,” Ciesielski wrote. When he was about halfway up the steep, 455-foot pyramid, he was spotted by officials. He pressed on, knowing he would be taken into custody. “At the half, some people got attention on me and looked. 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.”
The Great Pyramid, the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is fenced off to prevent individuals from climbing it. Decades-old preservation laws are in place to prevent damage to the structure and injuries to tourists. Violators face up to three years in an Egyptian prison. Ciesielski said he was detained, but ultimately released under one condition – that police be allowed to delete all evidence of his ascent.
“At first, they wanted to take me to the German embassy, but after a while I was released without anything further happening,” Ciesielski says, adding that the officers thought they had deleted all photographic and video evidence of his climb.
But never underestimate the electronic acumen of a teenager. Ciesielski was able to recover his files, and his photos and stunning video are now going viral.
“It was absolutely surreal standing on top of one of the wonders of the world and something that I will never forget. I wanted to experience Egyptian culture and I definitely managed that,” Cieselski told the UK’s Telegraph. “Some people were really angry but I don’t care. I didn’t destroy anything. I didn’t hurt anyone.”
Stunning, or stupid? What do you think of this German teen’s Great Pyramid climb?