The Great Pyramids of Giza The Great Pyramids of Giza

Pyramids of Ancient Egypt

Pyramids of Egypt are some of the most magnificent man-made structures in history and the most famous monuments of ancient Egypt. Today, these massive stone structures are the most famous tourist destination in Egypt and every year, thousands of tourists come from all of the world to marvel at their beautiful architecture.
The pyramids were built around 4500 years ago on a rocky desert plateau close to the Nile, during a time when Egypt was one of the richest and most powerful civilizations in the world. Most of them were constructed as tombs for the country's pharaohs and their consorts. Ancient Egyptians believed that when the pharaoh died, part of his spirit remained with his body. That is why the corpse was mummified and everything the pharaoh would need in the afterlife was buried with him. Many objects found in tombs were ceramic and gold vessels, furniture, food and other offerings. The pyramids became the focus of a cult of the dead king that was supposed to continue well after his death. Their riches would provide not only for him, but also for the relatives, officials and priests who were buried near him.
The egyptian pyramids were built by local Egyptian workers, not slaves as is commonly thought. These workers lived in their own villages, complete with houses, bakeries, breweries and even medical facilities. Many were employed directly by the pharaoh; others sub-contracted their work as needed. Ancient graffiti found inside the pyramids suggests that these workers left lasting impressions. Some of the writings include Friends of Khufu and Drunkards of Menkaure, both believed to be the names of work teams.
The pyramids are feats of both architecture and engineering. Nevertheless, no body knows for sure the process ancient Egyptians followed to build the pyramids. One theory suggests that ramps were built to drag the blocks of building stones on sledges to the top. This theory might be close to the truth as some ramps were found near building sites. These ramps were strong enough to carry the huge blocks used to build the pyramids, they were made of bricks and earth rubble. The large blocks of limestone used in the construction process were floated from quarries to the pyramids. Chisels, drills and saws were used to cut the stone into blocks, which were then moved to ramps using sledges. Astronomers helped the architect map out the pyramid to ensure its proper placement. Using ropes, the pyramid shape was blocked out from the top to the corners. Egyptians did a huge work and there was no magic or aliens involved in the process as some naive people might think.
The ancient Egyptians built more than 90 royal pyramids, from about 2630 BC until about 1530 BC. During that time, the pyramid shape evolved from a series of stepped terraces to sloped pyramidal shape.
Unfortunately, tomb robbers vandalized Egypt's pyramids in both ancient and modern times; they also plundered their exteriors as well. The Great Pyramids no longer reach their original heights as most of their smooth white limestone coverings were stolen. Nonetheless, millions of people continue to visit the pyramids each year, drawn by their towering grandeur and the enduring allure of Egypt's rich and glorious past.
All but a very few are grouped around and near the City of Cairo, just south of the Nile Delta. See below some areas where you can found the most popular pyramids in Egypt.
  • Great Pyramids of Giza are the only surviving Ancient Wonder of the World and one of the of the most famous tourist attractions in the modern world. There are three main Pyramids here, which were built in the 4th Dynasty (circa 2550 B.C). The biggest, tallest, oldest and most intact of the three pyramids of Giza is The Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops). It was built as a tomb for fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu The pyramid is one of the Seven Wonders Of The World and today it is the only one of them remaining. Khufu’s Pyramid is built entirely of limestone, and is considered an architectural masterpiece. It is 756 feet long on each side, 450 high and is composed of 2,300,000 blocks of stone, each averaging 2 1/2 tons in weight. Despite the makers' limited surveying tools no side is more than 8 inches different in length than another, and the whole structure is perfectly oriented to the points of the compass. The second-largest of the ancient Egyptian Pyramids of Giza and the tomb of the fourth-dynasty pharaoh Khafre is The Pyramid of Khafre; it stands on a higher part of the plateau and gives the impression that it is taller than the Great Pyramid. Easily recognisable by the layers of its original casing stones that still remain near its summit, Khafre's Pyramid is 446 feet tall, with sides of 704 feet, a surface area of 11 acres and an angle of 53 degrees. It has lost some of its original height through the years, once being 471 feet tall. The smallest of the three Pyramids of Giza is The Pyramid of Menkaure; it was built to serve as the tomb of the fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Menkaure. Menkaure is Khafre’s son. This pyramid was only a mere 215 feett tall, nowadays 203 feet, with sides of only 344 feet and an angle of 51.3 degrees.
  • Pyramids of Sakkara are one of the most extensive archaeological sites in Egypt. It was the cemetery for Memphis, the capital of Ancient Egypt. The site is dominated by The Step Pyramid of King Djoser, which goes back to 2700 BC. It is one of the oldest stone structures in the world and the first egyptian pyramid built. Built by King Djoser and designed by the architect Imhotep, The Step Pyramid originally stood 203 feet tall, with a base of 358 feet × 410 feet and was clad in polished white limestone. This pyramid is made up of six steps and has several rooms inside, including the burial chamber of King Djoser.
  • Pyramids of Dahshour are not so popular as the Great Pyramids of Giza, but are equally mysterious and tell us great, glorious, events of Ancient Egyptian History. Dahshur forms the southernmost area of the Memphis Necropolis and contains a number of pyramid complexes and monuments of the IV and the XII Dynasties. The most distinct structure at Dahshur is The Pyramid of Snefru. Known as the Northern Pyramid because of its location and the Red Pyramid because the builders had used a special kind of rosette limestone to built the inner burial chamber, it is 325 feet in height, and each side of the base is 722 feet in length. The Southern Pyramid of Dashur is The Bent Pyramid. This pyramid, also known as the Southern Shining Pyramid, is built out of quarried locally limestone and cased with fine, Turah limestone. It is about 331 feet in height while the length of each side is 617 feet. The area of Dahshour contains other pyramids, smaller in scale, built out of mud bricks, and dating back to the XII Dynasty. These belonged to Amenemhat II, Senusert III, and Amenemhat III.
  • Pyramids of Abusir are located at a 2.5 KM to the north of Sakkara and about 12 Km south of the pyramids of Giza. In Abusir there are 7 pyramids, all belonging to the fourth dynasty Abusir. The Pyramid of Sahure is the first pyramid constructed at Abusir. The core of the pyramid is formed with roughly shaped locally quarried limestone blocks. It consisted of five or six steps. The mortuary temple on the east side is quite well preserved with many granite pillars and blocks with Sahure's cartouche still visible. The pyramid was relatively small, with a base of 258 feet square and originally rising to a height of a mere 154 feet. The second pyramid to be built at the necropolis site of Abusir is The Pyramid of Neferirkare. Being the tallest of all pyramids constructed in Ancient Egypt during its Fifth Dynasty, the Neferirkare’s pyramid has never been completed. Its base measured 345 feet square and had it been completed as a true pyramid, it would have risen to a height of about 236 feet. Although the pyramid looks like an ant hill, it is said to be the best conserved pyramid in Abusir. One of the smaller pyramids at Abusir is The Pyramid of Niuserre. Niuserre’s pyramid, called The Places of Niuserre are Established, was originally constructed in seven steps and encased in fine white limestone. Today it is badly deteriorated, but originally reached a height of around 169 feet.
Other pyramids can be found at Mydoum, Hawara or Abu Rawash, many of them are relatively unknown to anyone who is not an ancient Egypt enthusiast.
No matter who you are or where you come from, Egyptian Pyramids will impress every visitor offering astonishing views and eternal memories.
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