the last wonder of the ancient world
Standing as mighty symbols of ancient Egypt the Great Pyramids of Giza look out over the Nile and the surrounding desert. The three biggest pyramids at Giza were built over 4500 years ago as tombs to the great pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure. Since the pyramids of Egypt were built people have traveled from all over the world to visit them and marvel at these wonders of the ancient world.
The largest, the Great Pyramid, was built around 2550 BC for Pharaoh Khufu. At 147 metres high, with a square base of almost 230m3, the Great Pyramid was constructed from over 300 000 stone blocks, each weighing an average of 2.5 tonnes. The second pyramid was built for Pharaoh Khafra who may have been Khufu’s younger brother. It was 3 metres shorter than the Great Pyramid itself but appears taller because it was built on a slight rise in the Giza plain. There are ten pyramids in the Giza necropolis. The smallest one was called the Queen’s pyramids even though they were not all intended to be the last resting places of the Pharaoh’s wives. Some seem to have had religious or symbolic purposes.
Originally, the Great Pyramids were covered in smooth, white limestone making them a blindingly, brilliant sight under the Egyptian sunlight. Most of their outer covering was removed during the Middle Ages and used as building material. Also, the top 10 metres of the Great Pyramid is missing. Some historians have suggested it may have been made of gold to serve as a shining beacon to the Pharaoh.
There are over eighty pyramids spread out across Egypt. All of them are on the West Bank of the Nile, where the sun sets. Egyptians believed the souls of the dead visited a heavenly Egypt far off to the west of their country.
Though many pyramids are strong enough to survive even up to today none
were able to keep out tomb robbers who stole the gold jewels and other
valuables buried with the Pharaohs.
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