Pyramids of Giza
By: April Carson
The Pyramids of Giza, also known as the Pyramid of Khufu/Kheops or the Great Pyramid, is an ancient Egyptian pyramid located on the Giza Plateau near the city of Cairo. The city of Giza is located in the northern part of Egypt, on the west bank of the Nile River. Giza is Egypt's third-largest city, after Cairo and Alexandria, owing to its advantageous position near ancient Memphis.
The structure was built during a period from 2589 to 2504 BC as a tomb for fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu. During a hectic period of construction, Giza's three famed pyramids and their intricate burial complexes were erected. Pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure oversaw the construction of the pyramids.
Pyramid of Khufu -
The Egyptian pharaohs believed that they would become gods in the next world, so to prepare for it they constructed massive temples and pyramids filled with everything a ruler might need. Pharaoh Khufu started constructing his pyramid on Giza around 2550 B.C., which is known as The Great Pyramid of Giza due to its immense size standing at 147 meters tall. Each block weighed between 2-15 tons meaning about 2 million stone blocks were used when building this magnificent structure!
Pyramid of Khafre -
Pharaoh Khafre built the second pyramid at Giza in 2520 B.C., but it may not be his final resting place as there is speculation that he had an entire complex of tombs, including the Sphinx standing guard over them all. The Pyramid of Khafre is also significantly smaller than the Great Pyramid, standing at 450 feet (137 meters), and is built of limestone blocks.
Pyramid of Menkaure -
The last of the three great pyramids was built by Pharaoh Menkaure in 2490 BC. His pyramid is the shortest yet, standing at only 218 feet (66 meters) tall. Experts believe that the builders of this final pyramid had relied on techniques they learned while building the Great Pyramid when they built Menkaure's.
Even today, scientists are uncertain how the Giza pyramids were constructed, owing to the ancient engineering achievements. Egyptologists still don't know how ancient Egyptians raised and cut stones to make these pyramids. They have learnt, however, a great deal about the people who created them and the political might required to carry it out.
The builders were Egyptian laborers who had been fed for several months and resided in a nearby temporary city. Archaeological digs on the fascinating location have revealed a well-organized community with many resources, suggesting that it was governed by strong central power.
There are many theories about the construction of the pyramids in Egypt, but few can explain all their features. For example, what reason did Egyptians have to build such vast structures? Why did they use an outer casing that reflects heat during the day and keeps the interior cool at night? How were huge stones moved into place? Who ordered them carved? And what was their motivation?
One of the biggest mysteries is the exact method used to move blocks weighing more than two hundred tons. The most common theory states that they were dragged on wooden sleds by groups of men using ropes, but no one has ever demonstrated how it could be done.
The Pyramids, like other ancient Egyptian structures, helped to preserve Egypt and may have aided in its construction. Giza allows us to journey back in time and see a world long gone. It is home to many interesting secrets, but perhaps the greatest enigma of all is how one of the most magnificent structures on Earth was built at all.