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The Great Pyramids Of Giza, Egypt

Egypt was home to the richest and most powerful civilizations in the world with fascinating art and culture. The most powerful legacy they left behind were the Great Pyramids of Giza, which were built to last forever. Today these monumental tombs – constructed between 2500 and 2490 B.C – are remainders of Egypt’s Old Kingdom era and make Giza one of the top places to visit in Africa.

The Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

The pyramids of Giza are not the only pyramids in that were built. There are more than a hundred small pyramids still evident today though most of them are damaged.

When people died they would be buried in the desert sand but their graves were dug up by wild animals and thieves who wanted to steal the things they were buried with. The dead used to be buried with items they thought would be of use in the afterlife because ancient Egyptians believed that life continued after death. Egyptian pharaohs were expected to become gods in the afterlife, so in their tombs, they were buried with things a ruler needed like boats, chariots, clothing, jewellery, games, weapons, oil and ointments.

In order to protect the dead and the property they were buried with, they started building flat tombs called Mastabas out mad bricks and stone.

Later on, an architect called Imhotep developed the idea of building a stack of Mastabas on top of each other resulting into a step pyramid. He is believed to be the mind behind the construction of Djoser’s six-step pyramid at Saqqara – 10 miles south of Giza; who was the third dynasty Egyptian pharaoh in the 27th Century B.C.

The step pyramids were meant to be a giant stairway for the souls of pharaohs to climb into the heavens.

Evolution Of The Pyramids

Over time, grave making progressed from step-pyramids and the first king of the fourth dynasty, King Sneferu, decided he wanted a smooth-sided pyramid for his tomb. Three pyramids were built before the pharaoh was pleased. It is the third pyramid called the Red Pyramid at Dahshur that is believed to the first true pyramid to be built in Egypt.

Following King Sneferu was King Khufu who decided in 2500 B.C to build his own pyramid, bigger and better than the Red Pyramid. The result was the Great Pyramid of Giza, the largest pyramid ever built with an estimated 2.3 million stone blocks each weigh an average of 2.5 to 15 tons over a period of 20 years. At 481 feet or 147 meters high on 13.1 acres, it is was the tallest man-made structure on earth for nearly 4,000 years. The construction materials were transported 500 miles from the site and the pyramid was encased in polished white limestone.

Khufu also constructed 2 temples for his honour after his death and three smaller pyramids for his wives to be buried in.

The Great Sphinx of Giza

Khufu’s son, Pharaoh Khafre, built the second pyramid at Giza in 2520 B.C. It covers 11.5 acres and is 471 feet high. His burial ground also included the Sphinx, a mythical limestone monument with the body of a lion and a pharaoh’s head. It is one of the oldest and largest statues in the world. It is 73 meters long and 20 meters high

 

Pharaoh Menkaure in 2490 B.C. constructed the third Giza Pyramid which is considerably smaller than the first two but features a much more complex mortuary temple. This pyramid on 2.9 acres and is 218 feet tall.

People including scientists today have wondered for thousands of years how it was possible to build something of this magnitude with the technology available at the time.

What is known archaeological discoveries is that the builders were skilled, energetic Egyptian workers who lived in highly organized communities which had a strong central authority rich with resources.

How Were The Pyramids Built?

The white limestone that was used to cover the pyramids of Khufu and Khafre was got from a quarry at Tura along the Nile’s banks along with the granite beams that were used for the inner chambers.

At the Giza quarries and sites along the Nile, stone blocks were cut and transported to the construction sites by sledges that were pulled by cattle and men. As they dragged them, water would be poured on the sand before the sledges passed over as a way to reduce friction. Researchers have simulated this technique to great success.

Stones from quarries of Tura and Aswan were transported by cargo boats especially when the Nile flooded from August to October. The water would reach the pyramid construction site making transportation by boat possible. The Egyptians even dug canals that remained flooded to allow the use of boats even in the low season.

The exact methods the ancient Egyptians used to stack multiple blocks of stones to create a pyramid remains a mystery but some ideas have been suggested and agreed. Some methods they could have used include the straight-on ramp, a switchback or wrap-around design, and the ramp rubble.

The manpower needed for the pyramids’ construction came from young men from the villages especially during the rainy season when the farming fields were flooded. They owed the Pharaohs the service in the feudal government system.

How To Get To The Pyramids

Though there are many pyramids in Egypt, the main attractions are the great pyramid of Khufu, the pyramid of Khafre and the pyramid of Menkaure. They are not only Egypt’s top attractions but the only remaining wonder of the original Seven Wonders of the World that are still standing.

By bus, you can board from Midan Tahir, the largest public square in the centre of Cairo. You can also inquire from your hotel if you can get a bus tour. This normally has a tour guide that will assist you with the tour. It is important to note that Cairo Transport Authority buses are available from the airport as well.

By a cab, you can easily spot the black and white taxis that you can hire to the pyramids. It is important to negotiate your fare before setting off and have money in small bills for easy transactions.

Travel by both cab and bus can take about 20 minutes to get to the pyramids from Cairo city and 30 minutes from Cairo airport.

Activities That You Should Engage In

A good view of the pyramids may be your main activity while entering them would bring more excitement to the tour. However, climbing inside the pyramids needs one to be fit since the climbs are narrow and steep. The entry fee to the Giza pyramids site is about 160 Egyptian pounds which is about USD 10 while entry inside the Great Pyramid will cost you about 360 Egyptian pounds which is about USD 21.

You should spare time to visit the Giza Pyramids sound and light show where you will get in-depth details of the history of Giza in various international languages.

The camel rides around the pyramids are available daily from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm. It is an enjoyable 2-hour ride that can cost up to USD 49. You can also opt for a horse ride.

Conclusion

Do you wonder why the Egyptian pharaohs chose that shape for their tombs and built them so large? Well, it is believed they copied the pyramid-shaped stone called the Bonbon found in the temples; which the Egyptians believed were a source of life.

The Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt remain the most famous of all historical sites receiving over 8 million visitors every year. They have inspired the creation of great movies like The Pyramid, The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, Building of the Great Pyramid, Land of the Pharaohs and documentaries like The Revolution of the Pyramids.

28 thoughts on “The Great Pyramids Of Giza, Egypt

  1. Since ancient times, Egypt was the center of civilization and culture. One of them is the Great Pyramids of Giza. I knew about pyramids in Egypt but my knowledge about this was very little. After reading your article I have learned much important information about the Great Pyramids of Giza, thank you so much for writing such a beautiful article on a historic place.

    1. Paul, it is my pleasure that you have found this post of value addition to you. It is amazing how evidence of the culture of that time has been kept for our viewing today. 
      Thank you for your time to comment on this post.

  2. Wow, pyramids are amazing structures. I definitely want to go see them sometime during my lifetime. I like how the Egyptians created these structures to last forever. I wonder what they would say if they knew they literally lasted forever so far. I often wonder how they transported the blocks so high also. It just amazes me how they built these structures without the conveniences that we have today. Only thing I wish they didn’t use slaves to do it. If they were paid construction workers that would have been better.

    1. Davis, how the Egyptians moved these massive stones and piled them together to fit perfectly with the technology they had at the time still baffles researchers. 

      The theory that they used slaves has been dismissed on the grounds of the level of speed and precision that the pyramid was constructed. The labour force used is believed to have been well fed and motivated people.

  3. What a beautiful historical article you have written about. This article is really informative and interesting story of Egypt. I really love this article, I can’t stop but to read it to the end. I am not a fan of historical stories but the way you have written yours is special and interesting. Thank you for this story and now I am informed and gain some knowledge. I know, one day when I visit Egypt, I must definitely visit these places. Thank you again 

    1. Thank you Augusta for your lovely comment. I hope your plans to visit Egypt come to pass sooner than planned.

  4. When I read about the great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt, I realize how great Africa is and will for all time. But still my mind goes back in time to appreciate the great work done by the wise men of that time. This makes me valorous and much hopeful to do better things before my expiry.
    I have learnt alot from this article, Thnx for the post.

    1. The people that constructed the pyramids were great men indeed because their creation has stood the test of time, and future generations will still find them.
      I am glad they have inspired you to do great things yourself in your lifetime.
      Thank you Paul for your positive review, I totally appreciate it.

  5. I’ve been to Egypt twice but I wouldn’t mind visiting it every year. The Pyramids are really breathtaking!. Unfortunately, I couldn’t enter the Cheops Pyramid due to works and had to visit a smaller one. Awesome experience! The camel rides in the desert simply amazing! A great and informative read, Ahimbe! Thanks!

    1. It is wonderful to read a review from someone that has actually visited the pyramids. Thank you for sharing your experience Effie.
      However, it seems to me you have to make another trip just to enter the pyramids and have a feel of the maze of narrow tunnels and hidden chambers.

      1. I did enter a pyramid, Ahimbe. Not the big one as I told you. It is not a recommended experience for people suffering from claustrophobia or heart problems. Actually, a lot of the people who joined me had to get out immediately. I will never forget the feelings and the thrill it caused me. I wish I could be able to explore it but it is forbidden. I guess because pyramids are like labyrinths, full of short cuts and hidden chambers

        1. Effie, what I can say is that you are claustrophobia free and your heart still has its rhythm! It is good you have shared your experience and it is encouraging for the rest of us that haven’t entered these pyramids.
          I have read stories of tourists that have dared to climb the pyramids despite the restrictions against the practice. I believe it is the same reason there are restrictions on entry inside them. Tourists may go against the instructions of the guides and get lost in the maze of tunnels.

  6. Oh, how I love my precious Africa.

    I recently got back from a 2-week vacation in which I had the opportunity to visit Kenya and Uganda. I got to see so much of the beauty these African countries have to offer and now more than ever, I determined to visit as many African countries as I can, just looking for the recommendations.

    Thanks for sharing the rich history of the Pyramid of Giza and some other outstanding pyramids which have stood the test of time. Now that I know what I do, it will be even more fascinating to visit.

    1. Thank you Etah for sharing your vacation destinations. In both countries, I hope you got the opportunity to visit their national parks. Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda is a great place to visit while in Kenya, you would not want to leave without visiting The Maasai Mara National Reserve

      The Pyramids of Giza are a wonder to behold, no wonder visitors that go there every year are in millions. I will be glad to read your review after you have visited the Pyramids and I am sure it will be a good one.

  7. Hi Egar,

    Thank you for such an amazing article about the pyramids, and the depth of knowledge that you gave us. This is definitely on my list of places to visit, and the recommend activities with cost was very helpful. I didn’t know that you were able to do these kinds of exploring, make me even more excited to visit now.

    Thanks again
    Samuel

    1. Thank you, Samuel, for the nice and encouraging comment about this post. I support you on the decision to visit this place since it is educative, entertaining and relaxing to be there.
      I am sure you will like touring the Grand Egyptian Museum and visiting the Pharaonic village as well. These places build a rich experience on top of visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza.

  8. Hello Edgar. Well as previous commenters mentioned, I too like the pyramids a lot because after so many thousands of years, they still stand up. Todays architectures i doubt they will last 100 or 200 years but these ancient pieces of art are still standing.

    For those who brag about modern civilization, reminding them about these pyramids will give them a reality check that there were people in the old days who knew more about architecture and who knows what other stuff. I heard about myths and legends, but always giving solid proof and explanation is more trustworthy.

    Im not fan of travelling, but now that i read this article i might rethink that. I might travel to such places such as the pyramid and other ancient wonders. As far as i am concerned, that would not be a waste of my time as there is always new and astounding information to be discovered.

    Good job writing this article. Take care.

    1. George, I hope you are terrific. Thank you for the comment that shows your love of the pyramids and this article. It is good to know that you are willing to travel to Egypt to see them.

      You are right to mention that we cannot easily match their architectural abilities despite the generation gap. I hope confirmatory information will one day come up to explain how they did it. For now, I hope the authorities will preserve these pyramids for future generations to see.

  9. Great article! I absolutely love everything Egypt. History is one of my favorite things to study on and particularly, Egypt has such a rich one!

    I would love to be able to visit this place! The camel rides sound like so much fun!

    1. Thank you, Steven, for your comment. I am glad to know you like history and as you rightly say, Egypt plays a huge role in world history. I just hope that events flow in your favour to allow you time to visit the Pyramids and have the live experience.

  10. Hi Edgar Ahimbe.
    At first, I would like to thank you for sharing such kind of historical context. From my childhood, I was very curious about Pyramids. You have nicely described the great pyramids of Giza and also described evolution Of the pyramids, how they were built, how to get to the pyramids and so on. By reading your post I have learned many unknown information about pyramids.
    Thank you so much for sharing this post and I will definitely share this post.

    1. Monalisha, I am happy to know that this post connects with your childhood memories and merits your curiosity. 
      My awareness about these great pyramids was after I had watched the James Bond movie, “The Spy Who Loved Me”. There is a scene of the night-time light show where the history of the pyramids is told. The pyramids and Sphinx can be seen. This movie was screened in 1977, and it amazes me that the Light Show is still up and running to date.

  11. Right from time, it’s believed that civilization comes from Egypt. Though this is debatable but the pyramids always come out on top of any arguments. Though I’ve never been there, but I have watched all the movies made in line with this pyramids. Also, the information about the history and construction of the pyramids have really enrich my knowledge greatly to which I’m thankful for. 

    1. RoDarrick, thank you for the comment on this post. I can see we have both enjoyed watching movies about the Pyramids. The movie that I have not watched but look forward to watching is Exodus: Gods and Kings starring Christian Bale. But I am sure the 2002 movie “Building the Great Pyramids” can give an entertaining approach on how the pyramids were constructed.  

  12. This is an excellent, in-depth article about the Great Pyramids. At this stage of my life, I will most likely never get to see them, but I enjoy learning about them just the same.

    Many historians continue to be baffled by the logistics of actually building the pyramids. There are many accounts written that contend there may have been an alien influence. Many carvings and landmarks appear to indicate that there were extraterrestrial who had a hand in the construction of the pyramids.

    Even today, it would be a huge task with modern cranes and construction equipment to move millions of precisely hewn stones weighing in at around a couple of tons each. The astronomical configuration of the pyramids appears to align with the stars in Orion’s Belt. The three main pyramids also appear to be in far better condition than all the rest.

    So, did some Alien civilization have a hand in building the great pyramids?

    Most likely not, but the Egyptians must certainly have been a very advanced society with thousands of very healthy and strong workers at their disposal.

    1. Ray, it appears to me that the Egyptians in that time were solely dedicated to building pyramids and directed all their resources to achieve that task. The planning, quarrying of blocks and the moving of these blocks, will remain life’s mystery; and as you rightly put it, we would struggle with today’s technology to duplicate their achievements. 

      You raise an important point of Alien civilisation/space creatures building these pyramids and others suggest giants did this work. But all these ideas are driven by the imagination of how they could have done it at that time with the technology available. 

      Ray, I appreciate your brilliant comment. Thank you for the knowledge you have shared. 

  13. Your article has given me insight into some details I could have not come to know of them had I not read your post. It would have probably taken me quite some time to acquire such specific informations. Now I have them.
    Thank you for your contribution Ahimbe.

    1. It is nice to know that you have liked this post and found it informative. The beauty of our history is that it shows how far we have come culturally and socially.
      These pyramids have proven to be an architectural masterclass that have stood the test of time a sign of civilisation in those days.
      Thank you Marie for your comment.

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