The Great Pyramid of Giza, also called Khufu’s Pyramid or the Pyramid of Khufu, and Pyramid of Cheops, is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now Cairo, Egypt, and is the only remaining member of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It is believed the pyramid was built as a tomb for Fourth dynasty Egyptian King Khufu (Cheops in Greek) and constructed over a 20 year period concluding around 2560 BC. The Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years.
Originally the Great Pyramid was covered by casing stones that formed a smooth outer surface, and what is seen today is the underlying core structure. Some of the casing stones that once covered the structure can still be seen around the base. There have been varying scientific and alternative theories regarding the Great Pyramid’s construction techniques. Most accepted construction theories are based on the idea that it was built by moving huge stones from a quarry and dragging and lifting them into place.
There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid. The lowest chamber is cut into the bedrock upon which the pyramid was built and was unfinished. The so-called Queen’s Chamber and King’s Chamber are higher up within the pyramid structure. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the main part of a complex setting of buildings that included two mortuary temples in honor of Khufu (one close to the pyramid and one near the Nile), three smaller pyramids for Khufu’s wives, an even smaller “satellite” pyramid, a raised causeway connecting the two temples, and small mastaba tombs surrounding the pyramid for nobles.
Building the pyramid
It is believed the pyramid was built as a tomb for Fourth dynasty Egyptian pharaoh Khufu and constructed over a 14 to 20 year period concluding around 2560 BC. Khufu’s vizier, Hemon, or Hemiunu, is believed by some to be the architect of the Great Pyramid. It is thought that, at construction, the Great Pyramid was 280 Egyptian royal cubits tall, 146.6 meters, (480.97 feet) but with erosion and the loss of its pyramidion, its current height is 138.8 m (455 feet). Each base side was 440 royal cubits, with each royal cubit measuring 0.524 meters. The total mass of the pyramid is estimated at 5.9 million tonnes. The volume, including an internal hillock, is believed to be roughly 2,500,000 cubic meters. Based on these estimates building this in 20 years would involve installing approximately 800 tonnes of stone every day. Manetho gives Khufu a reign of 65 years. This would enable him to build the pyramid by installing approximately 250 tonnes of stone per day. The first precision measurements of the pyramid were done by Egyptologist Sir Flinders Petrie in 1880–82 and published as The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh. Almost all reports are based on his measurements. Petrie found the pyramid is oriented 4′ west of North and the second pyramid is similarly oriented. Many of the casing stones and interior chamber blocks of the great pyramid were fit together with extremely high precision. Based on measurements taken on the north eastern casing stones, the mean opening of the joints are only 1/50th of an inch wide.
The pyramid remained the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years, unsurpassed until the 160 meter tall spire of Lincoln Cathedral was completed c. 1300. The accuracy of the pyramid’s workmanship is such that the four sides of the base have a mean error of only 58 millimeter in length, and 1 minute in angle from a perfect square. The base is horizontal and flat to within 15 mm. The sides of the square are closely aligned to the four cardinal compass points (within 3 minutes of arc based on true north not magnetic north). The completed design dimensions, as suggested by Petrie’s survey and later studies, are estimated to have originally been 280 cubits in height by 4 × 440 cubits at its base. These proportions equate to 2π to an accuracy of better than 0.05% which some Egyptologists consider to have been the result of deliberate design proportion. Verner wrote, “We can conclude that although the ancient Egyptians could not precisely define the value of π, in practise they used it”. Petrie, author of ‘The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh’, who was the first accurate surveyor of Giza and the excavator and surveyor of the Pyramid of Meidum, concluded: “but these relations of areas and of circular ratio are so systematic that we should grant that they were in the builders design” Earlier in the chapter he wrote more specifically, that: “We conclude therefore that the approximation of 7 to 22 as the ratio of diameter to circumference was recognised”
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the main part of a complex setting of buildings that included two mortuary temples in honor of Khufu (one close to the pyramid and one near the Nile), three smaller pyramids for Khufu’s wives, an even smaller “satellite” pyramid, a raised causeway connecting the two temples, and small mastaba tombs surrounding the pyramid for nobles. One of the small pyramids contains the tomb of queen Hetepheres (discovered in 1925), sister and wife of Sneferu and the mother of Khufu. There was a town for the workers of Giza, which included a cemetery, bakeries, a beer factory and a copper smelting complex. A few hundred meters south-west of the Great Pyramid lies the slightly smaller Pyramid of Khafre, one of Khufu’s successors who is also commonly considered the builder of the Great Sphinx, and a few hundred meters further south-west is the Pyramid of Menkaure, Khafre’s successor, which is about half as tall. In May 1954, 41 blocking stones were uncovered close to the south side of the Great Pyramid. They covered a 30.8 meter long rock-cut pit that contained the remains of a 43 meter long ship of cedar wood. In antiquity, it had been dismantled into 650 parts comprising 1224 pieces. This funeral boat of Khufu has been reconstructed and is now housed in a museum on the site of its discovery. A second boat pit was later discovered nearby.
- Located in Cairo, Egypt
- Of the original Seven Wonders of the World it is the last one standing
- Built over 4500 years ago
- Major pyramids at site named after the Fourth Dynasty Kings Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure
- Great Pyramid of Khufu took over 20 years to build
- Four sides of Pyramid of Khufu oriented to four cardinal directions
- Pyramid of Khufu was tallest manmade structure in world for 3,800 years, until 14th century
- Official Site: Great Pyramid of Giza Research Association
- Wikipedia: Pyramids of Giza
- New 7 Wonders: Pyramids of Giza
- National Geographic: Egypt Secrets of an Ancient World
- Guardian’s Egypt: Online Tour of Pyramids of Giza
- Egyptology Online: The Giza Plateau
- Photos : pyramidcam.com
- Crystalinks : Pyramid of Giza
- YouTube: Into the Great Pyramids
- Lonely Planet: Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
- Secrets of a Lost World
- Flickr: Pyramids of Giza
- Panoramas.dk: Panoramic View of Pyramids of Giza
- Google Maps: Satellite View of Pyramids of Giza
- Google Image Search: Pyramids of Giza
- Yahoo! Image Search: Pyramids of Giza
- Getty Images: Pyramids of Giza
- Earth Observatory: Space Station View of the Pyramids of Giza
- YouTube & Google Video: Pyramids of Giza
- YouTube: the Pyramids, Giza, Egypt
- MySpaceTV.com: Pyramids of Giza search
- Yahoo! Video: Pyramids of Giza
- Getty Images: Pyramids of Giza
- History.com: Modern Marvels The Pyramids at Giza
- National Geographic: “Lost” Pyramid Found in Egypt
Incoming search terms:
- awsim Giza
- What is known of Khufu\s vizier and kinsman named Hemiunu the architect of the Great Pyramid?
- is the Great Pyramid of Giza the same as the Pyramid of kufu at Giza
- volume of pyramids at giza planets
- thwhat the great pyramids at giza planets
- the great pyramids of giza
- Great Pyramid Ancient Ship Discovery
- pyramid tallest 3800 years