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The Pyramids of Giza

The Pyramids of Giza were built from 2550 to 2490 B.C. Their constructors were Pharaohs; Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure. Pharaohs were believed to become gods after their death, therefore, they built temples for the gods and tombs for themselves. One of the mysteries about the three pyramids is the fact they were all precisely aligned with the Constellation of Orion.

The pyramids are located on the Giza Plateau, in the southwestern outskirts of Cairo. Scientists today are impressed with the construction of the pyramids and the engineering achievement in Ancient Egypt.

The Khufu Pyramid was built first and it is the largest pyramid of the three. It is also, the only wonder of the Ancient World that has survived. The term wonder truly describes the precision with which the pyramid was built, something that current technology is unable to replicate. Initially, it was 146 metres (480 feet) tall but the process of erosion has worn it down to 138 metres (455.5 feet). It is believed that the material used for the construction of the pyramid was smoothed limestone. Each block used for construction weighed more than 2 tons, the pyramid is made of over 2 million of these heavy stones. There are many questions on how the pyramid was built. The most likely answer is that the stones were moved from a quarry using man’s strength alone. The workers used only very simple wooden tools which, makes it difficult to believe that such work was completed in only 20 years.

The Khafre Pyramid is the second tallest and second largest pyramid. Built by Pharaoh Khafre, it reaches 136.4 metresin height (448 ft) which is 7 meters less than originally built. The pyramid is constructed in a horizontal way, meaning that the stones used at the bottom are very large and as the pyramid rises, the stones get much smaller. It is seated on the bedrock, 10 meters higher than the pyramid of Khufu, which is why the pyramid appears to be much taller. The bottom course of stones were made from pink granite but the remainder of the pyramid was cased in Tura limestone. Two entrances led into the inside of the pyramid. Unfortunately, the pyramid was most likely robbed during the intermediate period and all what was found after entering the pyramid in modern times was an empty burial chamber with opened sarcophagi.

The Menkaure Pyramid is the third and the smallest out of the three pyramids located in Giza. Its original height was 65 metres but today it is only 62 meters tall. The construction of the pyramid was finished in 26th century BC, the exact date is unknown. On its south site, there are three satellite pyramids which by some mysterious reason, weren’t completed. At the end of the 12th century, an attempt to demolish it was made by Al-Malek Al-Aziz Othman ben Yusuf. His workers spent 8 months trying to demolish it but apart from the vertical gap left in the north site of the pyramid, they achieved nothing.