Great Pyramid of Giza

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The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now El Giza, Egypt. Egyptologists believe that the pyramid was built as a tomb over a 10 to 20-year period concluding around 2560 BC.

 

Initially at 146.5 meters (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years. There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid. The lowest chamber is cut into the bedrock upon which the pyramid was built and was unfinished.

 

The so-called Queen’s Chamber and King’s Chamber are higher up within the pyramid structure. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only pyramid in Egypt known to contain both ascending and descending passages.

 

One hundred thousand people worked on the great structure for three months of each year, during the Nile’s annual flood when it was impossible to farm the land and most of the population was unemployed.

 

The designations of the pyramids—Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure—correspond to the kings for whom they were built. The northernmost and oldest pyramid of the group was built for Khufu (Greek: Cheops), the second king of the 4th dynasty.

 

Called the Great Pyramid, it is the largest of the three, the length of each side at the base averaging 755.75 feet (230 meters) and its original height being 481.4 feet (147 meters). The entrance to the Great Pyramid is on the north side, about 59 feet (18 meters) above ground level.

 

A sloping corridor descends from it through the pyramid’s interior masonry, penetrates the rocky soil on which the structure rests, and ends in an unfinished underground chamber.

 

From the descending corridor branches an ascending passageway that leads to a room known as the Queen’s Chamber and to a great slanting gallery that is 151 feet (46 meters) long.

 

The entrance to the Great Pyramid is on the north side, about 59 feet (18 meters) above ground level. A sloping corridor descends from it through the pyramid’s interior masonry, penetrates the rocky soil on which the structure rests, and ends in an unfinished underground chamber.

 

From the descending corridor branches an ascending passageway that leads to a room known as the Queen’s Chamber and to a great slanting gallery that is 151 feet (46 meters) long.

Pyramid of Giza

The Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza is the largest of the pyramids of ancient Egypt.   Khufu (Cheops to the Greeks) ruled about 2589-2566 BCE when the Old Kingdom of Egypt was nearing a peak of prosperity and culture. 

 

The pyramid was originally encased in smooth, white limestone that must have gleamed in the harsh Egyptian sun.  Unfortunately, this was plundered long ago to provide building materials for Cairo. On the Cairo museum one can see several examples of simple copper and bronze saws, which Egyptologists claim are like those utilized in the cutting and shaping of the pyramid blocks.

 

These tools present a problem. No archaeological examples of iron tools are found in early dynastic Egypt, yet even if they were, the best steels today have a hardness of only 5.5 and thus are inefficient for cutting granite.

 

The Great Pyramid was the centerpiece of an elaborate complex, which included several small pyramids, five boat pits, a mortuary temple, a causeway, a valley temple, and many flat-roofed tombs for officials and some members of the royal family.