Skip to main content

Russian photographer apologizes for pyramid photos

By Frances Cha, CNN
updated 5:11 PM EDT, Thu March 28, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Russian photographer caused sensation with pictures from top of the Pyramid
  • Vadim Makhorov explains how and why he did it
  • Makhorov: "I would like to apologize for this ascension."

(CNN) -- Was it the ultimate adventure or an audacious act of disrespect that should be punished by law?

An Internet sensation was touched off this week by Russian photographer Vadim Makhorov and a group of his friends -- the group ignored regulations prohibiting the public from climbing on the Pyramids at Giza, Egypt, and came away with spectacular photos.

The images from Makhorov and another photographer, Vitaliy Raskalov, were taken on top of the Pyramids from positions that avoided detection by guards. The photos have incited reactions ranging from envy and awe to indignation and concern for the preservation of the ancient wonders.

Russian photographer Vitaliy Raskalov and his friends climbed the Great Pyramid of Giza. Climbing the Pyramids has been forbidden for decades for safety and preservation reasons. Russian photographer Vitaliy Raskalov and his friends climbed the Great Pyramid of Giza. Climbing the Pyramids has been forbidden for decades for safety and preservation reasons.
An illicit climb on the Great Pyramids
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
>
>>

In an email to CNN, Makhorov now explains his reasons for flouting the regulations, and issues an apology to Egypt and the world.

Vadim Makhorov's email to CNN

"I've always been drawn to Egypt. For as long as I can remember my dream was to get to the top of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

"When my friends and I arrived in Cairo the first thing we decided to do was to go and see the pyramids. We got there in the evening, just in time to witness the laser show.

"No words can express the fascination I felt when seeing my childhood dream come alive. Probably this very feeling made us climb onto the top of the Pyramid and see the the panorama of the whole complex, the desert and Cairo itself.

"It was already pitch black and nobody paid us any attention. We started climbing as fast and as soundless as we could. You have to be quite strong and agile to climb onto a meter-high block covered with dust.

\
"The thought that we were going to witness something spectacular pushed us forward."

"It was exhausting, but the thought that we were going to witness something spectacular pushed us forward.

"It took us around 20 minutes to get to the top. We were taken breathless by the view.

"What we saw from up there was the seventh wonder of the world. We tried to capture the beauty of the scenery in the photos, so that the others could also see this magnificent panorama.

"We, of course, were not the first who dared to climb the pyramid.

"The pyramid's peak was filled with different inscriptions in many languages, some of them being hundreds years old.

"After enjoying the view for some time we started the descent. It turned out to be harder then climbing up. We were very lucky not to get [caught]. We would have been in serious trouble if we did.

"That's why I would like to apologize for this ascension. We didn't want to insult anyone. We were just following the dream."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:57 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
updated 10:50 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
updated 4:06 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
updated 2:45 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
updated 8:24 AM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
It's a very big challenge but NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan thinks it can be done.
updated 7:39 PM EST, Sun November 16, 2014
CNN's Atika Shubert explains how the most recent ISIS video differs from the other previous hostage execution videos.
updated 12:38 PM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
A Syrian cleric condemns ISIS and its execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig.
updated 12:20 PM EST, Sun November 16, 2014
Volunteer fighters in eastern Ukraine dig down just 800 meters from the front line.
updated 12:29 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
TV anchor wears the same suit for a year. Female colleague wears new outfit daily. Who gets criticized?
updated 7:04 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT