The Great Pyramid of Giza is a fascinating human wonder because of its massive size, construction and near perfect proportions.
The Great Pyramid is located on the Giza plateau near Cairo and was built over a twenty-year period during the reign of the king Khufu (2589-2566 BCE) of the 4th Dynasty.
It is part of a complex of 3 large pyramids in the Giza Necropolis. The Great Pyramid is the largest of the three pyramids, and it is part of its own smaller complex that also contain 3 small pyramids that were built for Khufu’s wives.
The History of the Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great pyramid of Giza is the burial site and final resting place of Pharaoh Khufu, and was completed in 2560 BC. It stood at a height of 146.5 metres (481 feet).
The other pyramida alongside the Great pyramid are the Pyramid of Khafre and the Pyramid of Menkaure.
How were the pyramids built?
Archaeologists are still astonished by the great architectural feet the ancient Egyptians were able to achieve in building the Great Pyramids.
With little or no technological advancements the ancient Egyptians were able to build a striking monument which is one of the only standing seven(7) wonders of the world today.
From the exterior, the Great Pyramid out-layer is made from an estimated 2.3 million blocks of limestone. For the interior, larger granite stones were used; these were transported from Aswan, which is 800 kilometres (497 miles) away.
The Giza Complex lies west of the Nile River in a portion of the Sahara known as the Western Desert. The Nile was used to bring in materials and manpower from across Egypt and beyond. Some of the outer stones were loosened by an earthquake in 1356 and were used to build mosques in Cairo.
Most people believed that slaves were used in building the pyramids, but more recent discoveries of workers’ camps have led to theories that skilled workers were used for construction.
There is evidence to suggest that the huge stones were rolled into place, but other experts think that raw materials were either dragged or even lifted into the structure.
The Great Pyramid, the largest of the three, was built by the pharaoh Khufu and rises to a height of 146 meters (481 feet) with a base length of more than 230 meters (750 feet) per side.
The greatest difference in length among the four sides is a mere 4.4 cm (1 ¾ inches) and the base is level within 2.1 cm (less than an inch), an astonishing engineering accomplishment.
The interior chambers and passageways of Khufu’s pyramid are unique and include a number of enigmatic features. There is an unfinished subterranean chamber whose function is mysterious as well as a number of so-called ‘air shafts’ that radiate out from the upper chambers.
These have recently been explored using small robots, but a series of blocking stones have obscured the passages. When entering the pyramid, one has to crawl up a cramped ascending chamber that opens suddenly into a stunning Grand Gallery.
This passage soars to a height of 8.74 m (26 feet) and leads up to the King’s Chamber, which is constructed entirely from red granite brought from the southern quarries at Aswan.
Above the King’s Chamber are five stress-relieving chambers of massive granite blocks topped with immense cantilevered blocks forming a pent roof to distribute the weight of the mountain of masonry above it.
The king’s sarcophagus, also carved from red granite, sits empty at the exact central axis of the pyramid. This burial chamber was sealed with a series of massive granite blocks and the entrance to the shaft filled with limestone in an effort to obscure the opening.
Entering the Pyramids:
You can buy a ticket to enter any or all of the pyramids in Giza.
There is a general admission fee to enter the grounds around the pyramids, and then subsequent entrance fees for each of the pyramids themselves.
The best tip is to go for one of the organised tours that can take care of the booking side of things and leave you free to explore at your own leisure.