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The Pyramids of Giza

The pyramids of Giza is the most popular monument in the whole globe and the only remaining item in the list of the Greek Seven Wonders of the ancient world.

Travelers since medieval times used to visit Egypt to explore the wonders of the pyramids of Giza which construction is still a mystery until today.

The location of the Pyramids of Giza

The Giza complex is located in the Giza government which is part of Greater Cairo . The pyramids are located at the end of a long street that holds the same name, the Ahram Street, or the pyramids street in the Arabic language. The Giza complex is situated on a plateau near Memphis, the Capital of the Pharaonic old kingdom and the first capital of a united Egypt established by Menes around 3100 BC.

The complex consists of the famous three pyramids; the great pyramid of Cheops, the middle pyramid of Khafre, the smallest pyramid of Menkuare, some parts of the mortuary temples of these pyramids, a number of smaller pyramids built for queens and other members of the royal family, and the famous sphinx. This complex was all constructed between 2480 and 2550 BC

The reason behind the construction of these huge structures is that the kings of the old kingdom started building pyramids to serve as their tombs, and each of the kings mentioned above was buried in the pyramid holding his name after his death.

The evolution of the pyramids building in ancient Egypt

The pyramids were built as the natural evolution of the tomb construction in ancient Egypt . It took the Pharaohs 400 years to progress from building mudbrick "Mastaba" tombs, a one level of rock built in a rectangular shape, to construct proper smooth sided pyramids

The Pharaohs, since prehistoric times have buried the bodies of their deceased inside a hole in the ground. Afterwards, they started building some rooms above this hole with a "Mastaba" or rectangular mudbrick bloc above it.

The first pyramid ever erected in Egypt Tour was constructed by Imhotep the vizier of Djoser in the 3rd Pharaonic dynasty in 2665 BC for his king to be buried inside after his death. Imhotep had a brilliant idea that he implemented. He built a wide Mastaba, like the ones constructed in later period of ancient times. Then, he started adding smaller Mastabas, one above the other, until he was able at the end to build a pyramid consisting of six Mastabas starting with the largest in at the surface of the ground and the smallest on top. This pyramid which is still present in Egypt Tours Saqqara is the oldest rock structure constructed in the history of mankind.

The most important step the evolution of the pyramids construction was performed by Senfru (2613 – 2589 BC) who was the founder of the 4th dynasty and the father of Cheops, the Pharaoh who constructed the great pyramid in Giza afterwards.

Senfru had many attempts to build the first proper pyramid in Egypt . His first endeavor was performed in Meidum, an area to the South East of present day Fayoum, when he constructed a step pyramid, similar to this of Djoser. The next step consisted of adding rocks to the empty spaces in each level of the Mastabas for form a proper smooth sided pyramid.

However, during the construction work, one of the Mastabas collapsed killing hundreds of workers and Senfru decided to abandon the whole complex and went to Dahshur, an area located to the west of Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt Tour. In Dahshur, Senfru was able to construct two pyramids. However, none of them ended as a fine proper pyramid. The first one was completed in a good shape. However, with time passing by the wind ruined the outer limestone crust of the pyramid resulting in weird looking bent pyramid.

The second attempt of Senfru in Dahshur was his best as he was able to build his famous Red pyramid in 2600 BC as the second largest pyramid that was ever built in Egypt . Afterwards, during the reign of his son Cheops, his royal architecture, Hymono was capable of constructing the largest and greatest pyramid in history, the Pyramid of King Cheops in 2589 BC.

The Great Pyramid of Cheops

The Great Pyramid of Cheops is the largest and oldest pyramid to be constructed in the Giza complex. It was built during the reign of Cheops (2589 – 2566 BC) by his royal architecture who constructed the pyramid on a surface area that was 13 acres.

The Great Pyramid had two large entrances in the northern side of the pyramid. The height of the Pyramid of Cheops was originally 146 meters and now it became 137 meters. The height of each of its sides is 230 meters.

The Great pyramid is estimated to contain over two million blocks of rocks with some of them weighing 2.5 tons as average and with rocks that weighed up to 15 tons in the base of the pyramid.

The Pyramid of Cheops, which remained as the tallest construction on earth until the 19th century, was built with great precisions as the largest difference in length between the four sides of the pyramids is less than four centimeters.

The original plan of the pyramid consisted of a valley temple, an ascending sidewalk that leads to the mortuary temple located to the East of the pyramid, and the pyramid shaped tomb at the end. There were also three much smaller pyramids that were found to the East of the Great Pyramid and they belonged to the wives of the King Cheops.

The description of the inner parts of the Great Pyramid

When the guest enters the Great Pyramid from its Northern entrance which is 20 meters above the level of the ground, he goes into a short path that leads to a long corridor that ends with a mysterious room that was never finished and it was maybe constructed to misguide thieves.

Afterwards, there is the ascending sidewalk which is 38 meters long and one meter high. This sidewalk leads to another corridor which is 35 meters long that ends with the second chamber of the pyramid in Egypt , with its sides measured as 5.70 meters X 5.20 meters. On the Eastern walls of this chamber, built with limestone, there is hole leading to a hidden corridor that ends with the royal King's chamber.

The King's chamber contains a granite sarcophagus belonging to King Cheops. There are ventilation openings located in the Northern and Southern walls of the chamber leading to the outer crust of the pyramid.

The Mortuary temple of the Great Pyramid, which was totally unfound, was originally constructed to the East of the pyramid and it was connected with it using an ascending platform.

The pyramid of Khafre

The Pyramid of Khafre (2589 – 2588) is the second pyramid constructed in Giza and the second pyramid in size as well. The base of the pyramid of Khafre is only 15 meters less than the base of the pyramid of Cheops. This pyramid of Khafre is 143.5 meters high and each of its sides is 215 meters

The Pyramid of Khafre however is seen to be bigger and higher than the Great Pyramid of Cheops. This was merely because it was built on a higher piece in the ground and due to the fact that the summit of the Pyramid of Khafre is still intact until today.

The summit of the Pyramid of Khafre is the only section in the whole three pyramids that still contains its original limestone casting that was covering all the three pyramids. However, all this limestone was taken by the rulers of Egypt Tourduring the medieval era to use it to construct their own monuments.

The interior design of the Pyramid of Khafre is much simpler that that of Cheops. It contains two descending corridors leading to the one chamber located inside the pyramid. The burial chamber of the pyramid is dug deep into the bedrock beneath the pyramid. There is so little to be seen inside the Pyramid of Khafre except the granite sarcophagus of the king.

Some sections of the mortuary temple of the Pyramid of Khafre are still present for guests to view. There are some parts of a small sanctuary, a courtyard, and some parts of the 500 meters granite-lined causeway.

The Pyramid of Menkuare

The smallest pyramid constructed in the Giza complex is that of Menkuare. The size of the base of the pyramid is less than a quarter of the bases of his two neighboring pyramids. The Pyramid of Menkuare is about 66 meters high and the base is around 108 meters wide.

Some theories claim that this huge difference between the size of the pyramid of Menkuare and the other two pyramids was only a natural reflection of the decline in the royal power and the wealth of Egypt . Other studies noted that these differences in size and height was due to some changes in the priorities of the king making the pyramid smaller while the mortuary temple were built larger and more imposing.

During the 13th century, Al Ma'moun, one of Egypt Tour medieval rulers tried to dismantle the pyramid. However, after eight months, the whole projected was canceled only after achieving the vertical scar that is still visible until today.

Although the Pyramid of Menkuare is smaller in size, its interior design is rather complicated. Inside the pyramid a corridor that descends from the entrance leads to an antechamber that is ornamented with stylized false door motif. Beyond it, there is yet another antechamber with a corridor leading down to the tomb chamber carved from rock.

A wonderfully colored and decorated sarcophagus was discovered inside the Pyramid of Menkuare in the 19th century. However, it was lost in the sea during its journey to the British Museum in London.

The Sphinx

Sitting at the Giza complex guarding the pyramids, the sphinx is the earliest known sculpture in ancient Egypt . Historians note that the Sphinx was built around 2500 BC crediting Khafre to be the builder of this astonishing huge statue.

The Sphinx stands 20 meters high with a long body, stretched paws, a royal headdress surrounding a fleshy face that probably belonged to King Khafre himself.

Although many people believe that the nose of the Sphinx was shot during a battle that took place when the French, led by Napoleon, wanted to conquer Egypt Tour and the Ottomans were trying to stop them, it is confirmed now that the nose of the Sphinx was lost before the 15th century. The Sphinx used to have a stylized beard as well as a symbol of royalty. However, it fell off the same as his nose.

Keywords : Egypt tours , Egypt travel, Egypt vacation, Luxury Tours , Escorted tours
By Seif Kamel