Russian Photographers Sneak to Top of Great Pyramid and Capture the View


Russian photographer Vitaliy Raskalov recently visited the Great Pyramid of Giza with two of his adventuring photography buddies: Vadim Mahorov and Marat Dupri. Unlike most camera-toting tourists visiting the famous site (the pyramid is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), the trio was not content with sticking to visitor-approved areas: they decided to risk prison time by sneaking to the top of the pyramid and photographing that rarely-seen view.


The complex is open to tourists from 9am to 4pm. Raskalov writes that at 4pm, the three of started hiding from the armed guards and waiting for an opportunity to sneak up. They spent 5 hours waiting and shivering from the cold.

When they finally got their opportunity, they began the 146.5 meter (481ft) ascent.


At the top, they found many paintings and inscriptions in different languages (including Arabic, French, and Russian). From that vantage point, they were able to snap nighttime photographs of the landscape that most photographers can only dream of:



The three photographers could see the armed guards from the top of the pyramid, so they had to be careful not to be seen. Here are a couple of photos of the members of the group by Mahorov:



According to Raskalov, the stunt could have resulted in jail time of 1 to 3 years had they been caught.

Once they had the photographs they wanted, the trio descended and then disappeared under the cover of darkness:


You can find more (and higher-res) photos from this adventure over on Mahorov’s LiveJournal blog.

You may recognize Mahorov’s name from a precious post here that featured his photography. He’s one of the Russian daredevils that has made a name for himself across the Web as a thrill-seeking skywalking photographer who shoots death-defying photographs.

Image credits: Photographs by Vitaliy Raskalov/Vadim Mahorov/Marat Dupri and used with permission

  • Tommy Sar

    And then they were cursed by King Ramses IV.

  • Brian Lovelace

    While I don’t condone trespassing or doing illegal things… This is awesome!!!

  • Isabella Grey

    So, you’re promoting an illegal act, just because they managed to get good photos? Yeah…way to persuade people that breaking laws is a good idea, because they might get their photos on this website.

  • Isabella Grey

    So, you’re promoting an illegal act, just because they managed to get good photos?

  • Mikael Gramont

    Not cool, there’s a reason those things are off-limits.

  • ATrapAtNoon

    I was in Cairo in 2006 and climbed one of the queen’s pyramids…just paid off one of the armed guards (seriously like $5) and he escorted me to the back side of the pyramid and kept watch while I climbed it to the top. Just warned me not to be seen! One of the coolest experiences I’ve had.

  • MrQuibble

    Granted I haven’t check the liveblog (blasted work restrictions), but one hopes that if they risked of 1 – 3 years porridge they got some better pics than the ones shown here…

  • Vlad Dusil

    Legality aside, sometimes you need to take the risk to get the shot you want. Many urbanex guys trespass to gain access to forbidden areas to get incredible footage.

    I applaud their courage!

    The severity of the infraction is relatively minor, yet there are plenty of self-righteous commenters who will get their panties up in a bunch of this.

  • Swade

    1 to 3 years is a minor infraction?

  • Vlad Dusil

    I consider trespassing a minor infraction, the punishment seems unreasonable. That’s just me.

  • agour

    Not sure why their photos went viral, plenty of other people have done it already (and produced far better photos).

  • Renato Murakami

    I can’t condone to such actions, but the images are great, yes.
    But it’s not because of the law, it’s all about the consequences and the reasoning behind such laws.
    They are that severe and they exist because it’s a hard effort to preserve such an important and historic landmark.
    Because some people might not understand this, but this is the exact reason why some sites just like this one ceased to exist, damaged by daring tourists and such.
    While it’s open to discussion as to the possibility of opening the site to supervised visits to take similar shots, who knows what people who are going there against the law are doing? Littering, making graffiti and trashing the place, leaving marks in some egotistical way, damaging it, etc.
    We’re not talking about some private building with uneeded security here… it’s a world wonder site that has to be preserved because it belongs to and is important to world’s history.
    The reasoning is close to that of climbers – we have to go the extra mile to preserve it.

  • Dave Robertson

    I am usually not very critical, since I thrive everyday to make better photos, but I kind of agree with some on this post.. all that and the pictures are meh, if you are going to risk 1 day in jail, best to have a slamming photo.

  • Guest

    you can’t seriously compare u-turns to climbing the pyramids? the first gets you a traffic ticket while the later helps destroying a thousands of years old landmark (it’s not only them, there are a lot who (try to) do it) and possibly gets you jail time.

    they could have just asked the government if they’d get an allowance to get those pics – then they’d not have to sneak around and they’d be guided by someone who can take care that they don’t destroy anything

  • Mansgame

    The problem with these sorts of braggings is that it will make it harder for other tourists to get pictures. They’re probably on a list somewhere now too and next time they visit, who knows what might happen to them. Pictures are very amateurish by the way. There is one with their foot in it even! Very dull exposure and soft pictures.

  • kirk benton

    Who said these were good? They got photos, thats about it. Could have been done a lot better. Based on the linked work, the photographer does not know how to handle low light situations.

  • Jake

    Wow, it’s not impressive enough to accomplish something that virtually nobody else has done for the sake of having an adventure while providing people like you with a rare glimpse of this landmark? It needs to be a work of art to boot?

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    because governments are famous for giving out favours? ha. also – the people in charge of the pyramid site are famous for not letting anyone do anything there, it takes years for archaeologists to get permission for even the smallest dig site – and I’m sorry but climbing the pyramids is not going to destroy it.

    If you’re worried about the pyramids getting destroyed go and complain about houses being built so close to them, in 20 years the pyramids will be surrounded by houses and will no longer be worth visiting since the views in every direction will be houses for miles around – that is more criminal than some boys getting some photographs when guards aren’t around.

  • dannybuoy

    Google should have got their map car up there…

  • Burnin Biomass

    Yea, because its about how you take something, not the actual image, right?

  • ninpou_kobanashi

    I think we’re close to a point where immigration could say, I’m sorry, your visa’s been revoked, due to a facial recognition hit – we don’t allow stupid people to visit our country. Some folks in the US are on no fly lists, just by having the wrong name.

  • 34324342

    just like using warez….. not allowed but fun.

  • 534543543

    well you can get 3 years for using warez you would othwerwise not buy.

  • Vlad Dusil

    What does illegally ripped software have to do with this?

  • FT

    What disrespectful idiots. These structures are thousands of years old and deserve better than a bunch of dimwit thrillseekers out for a lark.

  • Stan


  • Chad

    Too bad this wasn’t written in ‘Arabia’ might of been written better.

  • Jake

    Sometimes, yes. In this case, even if they’d been masterpieces, I’d be more impressed that he went there at all. A masterpiece can come from anywhere.

  • The all mighty

    Then again if you would have read the article, it cleary says they had to avoid the gaurds once they were at the top. I doubt they could have set up everything they wanted to use once they began shooting.

  • Daniel Kocian

    “Image credits: Photographs by Vitaliy Raskalov/Vadim Mahorov/Marat Dupri and used with permission”

    … like they asked for permission. Totally inappropriate.

  • Burnin Biomass

    So this is performance art, if how you did it is more important. It might be great performance art, but its not great photography.

    A masterpiece can come from anywhere, but these are not masterpieces.

  • Jason Kim

    Not much of a photograph as a Yolograph.

  • MrQuibble

    Accomplish? Not sure accomplish is the word to use for what is, lets face it, a crime. But you’re right, go to all that effort, avoid armed guards and come back with shots that are only slightly elevated above average holiday snap by a rare background.

  • Ioan

    I like the taken shots but I hardly disagree with such practices.Thumb’s down!

  • Igor Ken

    yeah, somebody posted a travel blog that shows other guys took the same pictures this year and they totally had the same adventure. So virtually they are the second coolest dudes in this exact competition. Their other work is amazing and even a bit scary!

  • Jack

    I think he just wants an excuse to repeatedly use the term ‘warez’ and impress us with his 1998 lingo.

  • Preqscui

    Posting images of how they got through the fence, well done guys, really smart.

  • Puabi

    It is their country and they can come up with a law or rule they want. As an archaeologist I am telling you, if I want to dig there I better pay the proper money for the proper papers and go with their laws. It is THEIR ANTIQUITY AND THEY CAN DO WHATEVER THEY WANT WITH IT.

  • Gasser Nagah

    the idea is not to follow the law, but to respect the importance of this place. If everybody would respect the pyramid and its value we would need to close and keep people away from it. for sure it is difficult to prevent all mistakes.

  • eka gaurangga

    they are bullet proof. because the guards use AK-47. LOL

  • Leonardo Abreu

    They deserve to go to jail

  • madmax

    What a great ADVENTURE! Congratulations!!! A lot of people is jealous of your courage, but you instead risked a lot and won the great prize. No matter pictures are good or not.

  • Gracey

    What next, a story on people who chopped down a rain forest to get a nice picture of orangutan?

  • Mikkel Noe-Nygaard

    Total *ss-hats!

    Do a lot of diving in Egypt, and You will unfortunately also run into Russians who totally disregard any form of rules or regulations: Walking on the corals, disturbing the delicate ecological balance, crashing every dive site they meet, diving with their heads up their b*tt, even paying their boat crews to hunt sharks!

    This is in MY opinion the precise same thing they are doing – only on land – acting like, they are the kings of the world! :-(

    “i’m russian!… I’m comparatively rich!… Rules don’t apply to me!”

    It’s sad!

  • kmansfield

    only russians?

  • faloc

    u know sometimes u have to trespass to achieve greater things ^^ there r famouse archaeologists and explorers who do the same… sometimes rules are meant to be broken!

  • faloc

    heh, those are some crazy Russians ^^

  • faloc


  • faloc

    well the great thing is, living in Scotland, where Trespassing isnt illegal, makes it very easy to go into abandoned places, but still not good to get caught by the authorities, its a very thrilling thing to do :P

  • faloc

    well I agree with u… as long as it does not involve vandalism