Pyramids in Egypt
The Pyramids in Egypt, particularly the Great Pyramids of Giza, were built during a time when Egypt was one of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful civilizations. They are among the most stunning man-made structures in history. The pharaoh, or ruler, performed a unique position in ancient Egyptian culture, as evidenced by their immense scale. Though pyramids were constructed from the beginning of the Old Kingdom to the end of the Ptolemaic period in the fourth century A.D., the apex of pyramid construction occurred during the late third dynasty and lasted till the sixth century A.D. (c. 2325 B.C.). The Pyramids in Egypt maintain much of their magnificence more than 4,000 years later, providing a look into the country’s wealthy and glorious past.
The Early Pyramids
Royal graves were cut into the rock and capped with flat-roofed rectangular constructions known as “mastabas,” which were antecedents to the pyramids, began in the Dynastic Era (2950 B.C.). The earliest known pyramid in Egypt was constructed for King Djoser of the third dynasty in Saqqara around 2630 B.C. It began as a typical mastaba but developed into something far more grandiose, called the Step Pyramid. Imhotep, a priest, and healer who would be idolized as the patron saint of writers and physicians 1,400 years later, is said to have designed the pyramid. Throughout Djoser’s nearly two-decade tenure; The pyramid’s six stepped levels of stone (rather than mud-brick, like most older tombs) gradually reached a height of 204 feet (62 meters), making it the world’s largest edifice at the time. Djoser could enjoy his afterlife in a structure of courtyards, temples, and shrines surrounding the Step Pyramid.
The stepped pyramid became the standard for royal graves after Djoser; while none of his dynastic heirs were able to complete them (probably due to their relatively short reigns). The Red Pyramid at Dahshur, one of three burial constructions erected for the first king of the fourth dynasty, Sneferu, was the first “real” (smooth-sided, not stepped) pyramid (2613-2589 B.C.); The color of the limestone blocks used to build the pyramid’s core gave it its moniker.
The Great Pyramids of Giza
The Great Pyramids of Giza, built on a plain on the west bank of the Nile River on the suburbs of modern-day Cairo, are the most famous of all pyramids. Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest and tallest of the three pyramids at Giza, is the sole remaining edifice of the fabled Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; It was constructed for Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops in Greek), Sneferu’s son and the second of the fourth dynasty’s eight kings. Despite the fact that Khufu ruled for 23 years (2589-2566 B.C. ); little is recorded of his reign other than the splendour of his pyramid.
The pyramid’s base has an average height of 755.75 feet (230 meters); and its initial height was 481.4 feet (147 meters); making it the world’s biggest pyramid. Next to the Great Pyramid are three miniature pyramids built for Khufu’s queens; as well as a tomb carrying the empty coffin of his mother, Queen Hetepheres. Khufu’s pyramid, like others, is encircled by rows of mastabas, or tombs; where the king’s relatives or administrators were buried to join and assist him in the afterlife.
Second Pyramid of Giza
The second pyramid at Giza was erected for Pharaoh Khafre, Khufu’s son (2558-2532 B.C). The Pyramid of Khafre is Giza’s second highest pyramid, and it houses the burial of Pharaoh Khafre. The Great Sphinx, a guardian monument sculpted in limestone with the head of a man and the body of a lion, was a distinctive feature placed inside Khafre’s pyramid structure. With a length of 240 feet and a height of 66 feet, it was the biggest statue in the ancient world.The Great Sphinx would start to be revered as the figure of a local form of the deity Horus during the 18th dynasty (c. 1500 B.C.). Menkaure, Khafre’s son, was the recipient of the Giza’s southernmost pyramid (2532-2503 B.C.). It is the smallest of the three pyramids (218 feet), and it serves as a forerunner to the lesser pyramids built during the fifth and sixth dynasties.
The Pyramids Today
In both past and present times, tomb thieves and other vandals took the majority of the bodies and burial goods from Egypt’s pyramids; as well as plundered their facades. The Great Pyramids have lost most of their smooth white limestone covers; therefore, they are no longer as tall as they once were; Khufu’s, for example, is just 451 feet tall. Despite this, a million of tourists visit the pyramids each year; lured by their colossal size and the allure of Egypt’s wealthy and illustrious past.