The Great Pyramids of Giza

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The Egyptian Pyramids are some of the greatest structures that man has ever made. The most famous of them all is the Great Pyramids of Giza. At the time, Egypt was one of the most powerful civilizations in the world and certainly one of the richest. The massive scale of pyramids pointed at Pharaoh or at the king's special and unique role in ancient Egyptian society. Men started building pyramids in the beginning of the Old Kingdom and all the way to the fourth century A.D. and the close of the Ptolemaic period. However, building pyramids had the biggest peak at the time of the late third dynasty and lasted until the sixth. That was around 2325 B.C. Egypt today, still has this magnificent structures. Even after 4,000 years, pyramids provide great insight into the glorious and rich past that Egypt once had.

A Little Bit of Background

The Great Pyramids of Giza are located just outside of the border line of today's Cairo and on the west shore of the Nile River. These are the most famous and celebrated pyramids of all. There are three pyramids in Giza and the Great Pyramid is the only wonder of the Seven Wonders that is still standing. Cheops pyramid was built for the second of the eight kings of the fourth dynasty, Khufu. Beside of his magnificent pyramid, there is not much known about Khufu accept that he ruled from 2589 B.C. to 2566 B.C. The original height of this pyramid was 147 meters and the four sides have the length of 230 meters. Khufu's queens also had their own pyramids. These three are standing right next to the Great Pyramid.  The tomb of Queen Hetepheres, the king's mother, was found nearby and it contained an empty sarcophagus. To support and accompany him in the afterlife, the king's relatives and officials were buried in mastabas surrounding the pyramid.

The King's of the Pyramids

Kafare, the son of Khufu who lived from 2558 to 2532 B.C., had the middle pyramid. The Great Sphinx, a statue with a body of the lion and a head of a man carved in limestone, was built inside the complex of Khafare's pyramid to guard him. With the length of 73 meters and height of 20 meters, it was the biggest statue in the ancient world. It became the image of the God Horus and was worshiped around 1500 B.C at the time of te 18th dynasty. Khufu had another son Menkaure and another pyramid for him. It is the most southern and shortest pyramid of the three at Giza wit the height of 66 meters.

Every block of stone weighs about 2.5 tons and it took approximately 2.3 million of those to be carved, transported, and put together to build the world's biggest pyramid, the Great Pyramid. By the words of Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian, there were 100,000 men put to work for 20 years to build this pyramid. Archaeological evidence later suggested that the number of people who were building it was closer to 20,000.

The Pyramids Today

Funeral goods and bodies were removed by vandals and tomb robbers in ancient time as well as in our modern time. The exterior of the pyramids is also plundered. Today, the height of the pyramids are no longer the same as they were before because their coverings of smooth white limestone are stripped off. Despite all that, Egypt's glorious and rich past still draws millions of people all around the world to come to visit the pyramids.