Gyzeh pyramids

The Giza Pyramids are also called the Pyramid Of Khufu and the Pyramid of Cheos. These pyramids are the oldest and the largest of the three major pyramids of the Giza Necropolis in Egypt. These Egyptian pyramids are also one of the Seven Wonders of The World and they are one of these Wonders that still remain intact today. These pyramids, it is believed, were built in memory of the great Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu and they took over 20 years to be built. The pyramids were completed in the year 2560BC. These pyramids were one of the tallest man-made structures in the world for over 3,800 years. This is indeed the longest time held for the making of these pyramids.

The great pyramids were covered by casing stones originally and this gave rise to a smooth outer surface that is seen to be the underlying core structure. It is possible even till this date to see some of the casing stones at the foot of the pyramid today. There are many stories and theories that cover the construction of these pyramids even till date. These theories are generally scientific and alternative and they give us a lot of information about the construction theories of the pyramids. The most common theory that is generally believed is that the huge stones were moved from a quarry and they were dragged and lifted into the right place.

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These great pyramids have three famous chambers and the lowest chamber is cut into the bedrock upon which the pyramid has been built and was left unfinished. There is the so called Queen’s Chamber and the King’s Chamber that is located on a higher plane inside the Pyramid. The Giza Pyramids are the only pyramids in Egypt that contains both ascending and descending passages. The main part of these pyramids are located a setting of two buildings that are mortuary temples in honor of the Pharaoh Khufu. One of them is close to the pyramid and one close to the Nile. There were also three similar pyramids for the wives of Khufu. There is also a small satellite pyramid and another raised causeway that connected the two temples along with small mastaba tombs that surrounded the pyramids for the nobles.

The pyramids consist of limeblocks that are estimated to be 2.3 million in numbers. They also have been transported to the region from the nearest quarry. The Tura limestone that was used for the casing was also quarried across the river. The largest stones weight 25 to 80 tonnes and they were found in the King’s chamber. They were transported from Aswan that is more than 500 miles away. Traditionally the ancient Egyptians had cut the stones blocks by hammering the wooden wedges into the stone that was subsequently soaked in water. As the wedges absorbed the water they expanded and this caused the rocks to crack. Once they were cut they were carried by boat either up and down the river Nile to the Pyramid.

 

After the completion of the Pyramid they were surfaced with the white casing stones that were slant faced. They were flat topped and they had highly polished white limestone too. These stones were cut carefully to have a face slope that had s seked of about five and a half plams in order to get the right dimensions. Today, the only visible remains of the structure are the steeped core structure.

In the year 1300 AD there was a massive earthquake and this resulted in the loosening of many of the outer casing surfaces. They were then taken away by Bahri Sultan An –Nasir- Nasir –ad-Din-al-hasan in the year 1356 in order to build fortresses and mosques in Cairo. These stones are also visible today as a part of these structures. In the later years there were many explorers that reported huge rubble at the end of the pyramids that were caused by the wear and tear of the casing stones. This was later on cleared by later excavations of the site. Even till date you can get to see some of the few casing stones at the lowest course of the pyramids. These stones also display the same level of workmanships and precision of those times. Famous explorer Petrie found a very different orientation in the core and he measured in the casing 193 centremetres and 25 centimetres. He also suggested a redetermination of the northern side was made after the construction of the core however there was a mistake and the casing was built with a very different orientation. He had related the precision of the casing stones to be equal to the work of opticians of the present day but on an extra scale of land. He said that to place such stones in exact precision and contact would be careful work and to do it with the help of cement and joints seems practically impossible.

 

Today, the Great Pyramids are surrounded with the usual complex of buildings and the Pyramid Temple which stood on the eastern side of the Pyramid measured 52.2 metres. This was north to south and 40 metres from east to west had almost disappeared from the black basalt apart from the black basalt paving. There are only a few remains of the causeway that linked the pyramid with the Valley Temple that if it does exist is buried under the village of Kafr- es Samman.

 

The southern sides of the subsidiary pyramids are also popularly known as Queen’s Pyramids. Three of these pyramids still stand till date however the fourth one has been totally ruined and people did not know of its existence till it was discovered until recently. This discovery paved the way to the first remnants of stones and the other remains of the capstone. There is a story that has been said by Herodotus that Khufu faced a time where he was short of money and this is the reason why he made his daughter a prostitute. She had asked for a piece of stone from all her clients and in the process she collected enough to build a small pyramid for herself. This tale does not have any evidence and it may also portray an arranged marriage that was advantageous for Khufu. The Queen’s pyramids may not have housed the members of the king’s court and there are some theories that have suggested that these pyramids correspond to the subsequent jars for the burial of the parts of the royal viscera like the liver, heart, lungs and entrails.

 

In the present times there are many tourists that enter the Great Pyramid through the Robber’s Tunnel that was dug by the workmen that were employed by the Caliph al-Ma’mun around the year 820 AD. This tunnel was cut straight through the masonry of the famous pyramid for about 27 metres. It then turns directly to meet the blocking stones in the Ascending Passage. The workmen were unable to remove these stones and they tunneled up beside them via the soft limestone of the Pyramid till they finally reached the Ascending Passage. It was possible for them to enter the Descending Passage from this particular point however access to this particular place is forbidden.

 

Beneath the paving of the pyramid there was the tomb of Queen Hetepheres and sister –wife of Sneferu and the mother of Khufu. This was discovered by accident by the Reisner expedition who saw that the burial was intact and Hetepheres was originally buried near the pyramid of her husband. The expedition also discovered that the tomb had been robbed and the mummy was destroyed. After this Khufu transferred the burial to his own pyramid complex but the priests that were responsible for the burial did not have the courage to tell him that the body of his mother was missing.

 

There were three boat shaped pits that were around the pyramid and they had the size and the shape to hold complete boats. These boats were not shallow that the superstructure must have been taken away from the site. It is not evident that the seals of this pit have been cleared. The span is also very large for the stone slabs and this is the reason why they were found empty apart from the ropes and the few fragments of the glided wood that were found in one pit by Reisner. However, in the year 1954, the Egyptian archaeologist Kamal el-Mallakh had discovered the fourth pit that is a long and narrow rectangle. They are also covered with the slabs of stone that also weighs over 15 tons. There are 1224 pieces of wood and the longest one is 23 metres long whereas the shortest one is 10 centimetres long. These pieces were entrusted to the native boat builder and Haj Ahmed Yusuf slowly and methodically had planned out how the pieces fitted together. The entire process had also included the conservation and straightening of the warped wood and this takes fourteen years.

 

The boat that was created is housed in a special boat that is actually an air-conditioned museum that is now located near the pyramid. During the construction of this museum there was a boat pit and a second sealed boat pit that was discovered. It was deliberately left unopened with the hope that it would be excavated in the near future. A hole was also drilled in the stones that were sealed and the air extracted from the pit with the hope of getting the information about the ancient atmosphere. This air was founded to be identical for the modern air and it was discovered that the pit was not closed.

 

This pyramid is the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3800 years and it has excellent accuracy. The design of the pyramid has exact design proportion and the base is horizontal and flat. The sides of the pyramid are closely aligned to the four cardinal compass points and they are based on true north and not magnetic north. The Giza pyramid complex is one that also includes the pyramids of Khufu, Menkaure, Khafre and it is also surrounded by the cyclopaean stone wall that is located outside. Mark Lehner had discovered that the town where the workers that worked on the pyramids were housed. These discoveries led to the discovery of kitchens, bakeries, sleeping quarters and other rooms and apartments. There were also some skeletons that were found and they had signs of trauma on them. This was perhaps the result of an accident that had occurred on the building site in the region.

 

There were many alternative and other theories that were behind the construction of the pyramid and that was its construction techniques. The Greeks had believed that slave labor had been used for making the pyramid and there were a section of Egyptian laborers that accepted that the manpower that was used to built the pyramid were skilled. The workers that camped near the pyramids had worked on salary. There were some workers who worked for the temple as a form of paying taxes until the construction was complete. The cemeteries of these workers were discovered in the year 1990 and they were discovered by the archaeologist Zahi Hawass and Mark Lehner, Verner posted that the labor was managed into a hierarchy that consisted of two groups of 100,000 men. They were divided into five zaa or phyle of 20,000 men each and they were also divided according to the skills of their workers. These are the two main theories that archaeologists believe in today.

 

This pyramid had been planned meticulously and it is considered to be a masterpiece in terms of architecture. These pyramids are one of the most attractive tourist spots in the world and many people come to this spot every year to see them. The pyramids have been made to withstand the test of time and this is the reason why explorers and archaeologists state that they are indeed one of the most memorable remnants of Egypt.