Early tourists clambered to the top of Egypt's pyramids in fancy dresses and suits

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Since the visit of Herodotus in the 4th century BC, the enduring monuments of Ancient Egypt have drawn tourists across the Mediterranean from Europe, most of all to the towering pyramids of Giza.

With the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, visits by wealthy tourists increased. That same year, travel mogul Thomas Cook offered his first tour of Palestine and the Nile, and launched regular steamer trips on the great river in the following years.

The discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922 spurred a renewed Egyptian fascination among Europeans.

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Tourism in Egypt back when the Pyramids were climbable
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Tourism in Egypt back when the Pyramids were climbable
Tourists sunbathe and take tea at the top of the Great Pyramid.
Camel tour in front of one of the Pyramids of Giza, Egypt, c1920s-c1930s(?). (Photo by The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) European Tourists At The Pyramids (Photo by � Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Edwardian tourists pose with camels and their drivers in front of the great pyramid and sphinx at Giza, Egypt. (Photo by Chris Hellier/Corbis via Getty Images)
'Tourist's Corner', the Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt, 20th century. Stereoscopic card. Detail. (Photo by The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)
EGYPT - CIRCA 1930: The Prince of Wales and his brother the Duke of Gloucester during their visit in Cairo, Egypt. Photograph. Around 1930. (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images)
Egyptians clambering up the rock slabs of a pyramid. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Egypt Gizeh Gizeh: Climbing the Pyramid of Cheops - undated- Photographer: Walter Gircke- Vintage property of ullstein bild (Photo by Gircke/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
(Photo via Library of Congress)
(Photo via Library of Congress)
(Photo via Library of Congress)
(Photo via Library of Congress)
(Photo via Library of Congress)
(Photo via Library of Congress)
(Photo via Library of Congress)
(Photo via Library of Congress)
(Photo via Library of Congress)
(Photo via Library of Congress)
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Though many tourists were content to pose for photos in front of the Great Sphinx and pyramids, some of the more adventuresome types were determined to see the view from the top of the 455-foot Pyramid of Cheops.

The smooth white limestone which had once encased the pyramid had long since been torn off for use in buildings in Cairo, leaving the massive structural blocks for tourists and local guides to clamber over.

These photos from the decades-long British occupation of Egypt record tourists exploring the awe-inspiring ruins, from the buried Sphinx to the graffiti-covered summit of the Great Pyramid.

(Climbing the pyramids is very much illegal today.)

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