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Giza Pyramids

 

The Pyramids of Egypt, built at Giza during the 4th Dynasty are the oldest of the seven wonders and the only ones remaining intact today . The three great pyramids and six small pyramids are situated on the left bank of the Nile in Cairo. The pyramids earlier than Giza are Step pyramid of King Zoser in Saqqara (early III Dynasty), Step pyramid in Medum (III-IV Dynasty), the pyramid in Dahshur (IV Dynasty) and others. Giza pyramids were built by three pharaohs - Cheops (or Khufu*), Chephren (Khafre*) and Mycerinus (Menkaure*) - during the second half of the third millennium B.C.

  • The Pyramid of Cheops is 230.364m square at base, 137.18m height (originally 146m) and the incline is 51 degree .52.

  • The Pyramid of Chephren is 215.8m square at base, 136.5m height (originally 143.5m)and the incline is 53 degree .20.

  • The Pyramid of Mycerinus is 108.5m square at base, 66.5m height and the incline is 51 degree.  

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Giza Pyramids

 

 

 

The Pyramid of Cheops,

 

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 Pyramid blocks; 
CMC PCD 2001-301-080

 

The Great Pyramid of Cheops, the largest of the three at Giza, is estimated to comprise as many as 2.5 million limestone blocks with an average weight estimated at 2.5 tonnes (2.5 tons). The entire structure was encased in a fine white polished limestone brought from the hills at Tura, on the opposite side of the Nile.

Pyramids at Giza; 
CMC PCD 2001-301-002

Pyramidion; 
CMC PCD 2001-276-054

This highly prized material was removed in the 16th century and used to decorate mosques in Cairo. When completed, the Great Pyramid stood 146.6 metres (481 feet) tall, and its base was 230.3 metres (756 feet) square. The capstones (pyramidions) of all the pyramids were made of solid polished granite

 

The Great Pyramid of Khufu (circa 2600 BC) was the greatest of the Egyptian pyramids, which served as burial places of the pharaohs, particularly during the Old Kingdom. The great pyramids of Giza were built around 2700-2500 BC as tombs for the pharoahs (rulers of ancient Egypt, who held the status of gods on earth). The Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops to the Greeks) is the largest,pictured here in the center of the photograph, it covers 13 acres. It was constructed of around 2.3 million stones and each of the stones weigh from 2 to 30 tons each.

   The granite slab that is the roof of Khufu's burial chamber weighs 50 tons in itself. Khufu's pyramid stands about 450 feet (137 meters) high. It is also in almost complete form, despite being the World’s oldest Wonder. The pyramid of King Chephren is behind Khufu's and the pyramid of King Mycerinus is in front. The three smaller pyramids in the front were built for King Mycerinus’ three wives.

     These monumental pyramids are precisely oriented to the four cardinal points. Today the city of Cairo reaches almost to the foot of the pyramids, but when the pyramids were built, they were in the middle of the desert. The Great Pyramids of Giza still have a strong impact on humanity. The impact is best summed up in this ancient Arab proverb: "Man fears Time, yet Time fears the pyramid."

     The great pyramid is believed to have been built over a period 20 year. The site was first prepared, and blocks of stone were transported and placed. An outer casing (which disappeared over the years) was then used to smooth the surface. Although it is not known how the blocks were put in place, several theories have been proposed. One theory involves the construction of a straight or spiral ramp that was raised as the construction proceeded. This ramp, coated with mud and water, eased the displacement of the blocks which were pushed (or pulled) into place. A second theory suggests that the blocks were placed using long levers with a short angled foot.  

The Great Pyramid was 145.75 m (481 ft) high when it was built. Over the years, it lost 10 m (30 ft) off its top. It ranked as the tallest structure on Earth for more than 43 centuries, only to be surpassed in height in the nineteenth century AD. It is made composed of 2,300,000 blocks of stone, each averaging 2 1/2 tons in weight. Despite the makers' limited surveying tools no side is more than 8 inches different in length than another, and the whole structure is perfectly oriented to the points of the compass.

     It was covered with a casing of stones to smooth its surface (some of the casing can still be seen near the top of Khefre's pyramid). The sloping angle of its sides is 51 degrees and 51 minutes.

     Each side is carefully oriented with one of the cardinal points of the compass, that is, north, south, east, and west. The horizontal cross section of the pyramid is square at any level, with each side measuring 229 m (751 ft) in length. The maximum error between side lengths is astonishingly less than 0.1%. On the north face, is the pyramid's entrance. A number of corridors, galleries, and escape shafts either lead to the King's burial chamber, or were intended to serve other functions.

     At the moment, only the Great Pyramid is open to the public. (For conservation reasons, the others are closed.) After climbing a number of steps, one enters through a narrow passage on the north side. This passage leads to a sloping corridor with a low ceiling where one is obliged to bend over while climbing up a ramp. The ramp leads to a passage with a high ceiling called the Grand Gallery, from where stairs lead to the king's burial chamber. Good walking shoes and light clothes are advised for anyone entering the pyramid. The climb is strenuous and the narrow passages tend to trap the heat.  

 

The king's burial chamber is located in the middle of the pyramid, high above ground, and a series of relieving chambers were built above it to prevent it from collapsing.   Interior of the Great Pyramid

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