Burial monuments and structures in Giza

Giza Necropolis

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The Giza Necropolis stands on the Giza Plateau, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. This complex of ancient monuments includes the three pyramids known as the Great Pyramids, along with the massive sculpture known as the Great Sphinx. It is located some 8 km (5 mi) inland into the desert from the old town of Giza on the Nile, some 25 km (15 mi) southwest of Cairo city centre. One of the monuments, the Great Pyramid of Giza, is the only remaining monument of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Description

The Great Pyramids consist of the Great Pyramid of Giza (known as the Great Pyramid and the Pyramid of Cheops), the somewhat smaller Pyramid of Khafre (or Chephren) a few hundred meters to the south-west, and the relatively modest-sized Pyramid of Menkaure (or Mykerinos) a few hundred meters further south-west. The Great Sphinx lies on the east side of the complex, facing east. Current consensus among Egyptologists is that the head of the Great Sphinx is that of Khafre. Along with these major monuments are a number of smaller satellite edifices, known as "queens" pyramids, causeways and valley pyramids. Also associated with these royal monuments are what appear to be the tombs of high officials and much later burials and monuments (from the New Kingdom onwards).

Of the four major monuments, only Menkaure's Pyramid is seen today without any of its original polished limestone casing. Khafre's Pyramid retains a prominent display of casing stones at its apex, while Khufu's Pyramid maintains a more limited collection at its base. Khafre's Pyramid appears larger than the adjacent Khufu Pyramid by virtue of its more elevated location, and the steeper angle of inclination of its construction – it is, in fact, smaller in both height and volume. The most active phase of construction here was in the 23rd century BC. It was popularised in Hellenistic times when the Great Pyramid was listed by Antipater of Sidon as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Today it is the only one of the ancient Wonders still in existence.

At the time of their construction and for many years after, the Pyramids of Giza were the tallest structures on the planet. Khufu's pyramid originally rose 479 feet but has been reduced to 449 feet with the loss of its limestone casing. Khafre's Pyramid had stood 471 feet at its completion while Menkaure's Pyramid stands at a modest 218 feet. "In 1300 AD the Great Pyramid was surpassed as the tallest structure in the world by England's Lincoln Cathedral." but to this day remains the most massive structure on Earth.

Due largely to 19th-century images, the Pyramids of Giza are generally thought of by foreigners as lying in a remote, desert location, even though they are located in what is now part of the most populous city in Africa [1]. In fact, urban development reaches right up to the perimeter of the antiquities site. The ancient sites in the Memphis area, including those at Giza, together with those at Saqqara, Dahshur, Abu Ruwaysh, and Abusir, were collectively declared a World Heritage Site in 1979 [2].

The Giza pyramids have been recorded in the Giza Plateau Mapping Project run by Ancient Egypt Research Associates, directed by Dr. Mark Lehner. In addition, Lehner's team undertook radiocarbon dating on material recovered from the exterior of the Great Pyramid. AERA's 2009 field season was recorded in a blog.

Construction

Main article: Egyptian pyramid construction techniques

Researchers have long been impressed with the precision with which the pyramids of this complex were created. The base of the Great Pyramid forms a nearly perfect square, with only a 19-cm (about 7.50-in) difference between its longest and shortest sides[], out of a total length of about 230 m (756 ft). This huge square is also almost exactly level. When newly completed, the Great Pyramid rose 146.7 m (481.4 ft)—nearly 50 stories high. The pyramid’s core probably includes a hill of unexcavated rubble[], making it impossible to determine its exact number of blocks. Researchers estimate that 2.3 million blocks were used to build the Great Pyramid, with an average weight of about 2.5 metric tons per block. The largest block weighs as much as 15 metric tons.

It is not known how they were made but there have been varying theories regarding the construction techniques. Most construction theories are based on the idea that the pyramids were built by moving huge stones from a quarry and dragging and lifting them into place. The disagreements center on the method by which the stones were conveyed and placed and how possible the method was. A recent though unpopular theory proposes that the building blocks were manufactured in-place from a kind of "limestone concrete".

The work of quarrying, moving, setting, and sculpting the huge amount of stone used to build the pyramids might have been accomplished by several thousand skilled workers, unskilled laborers and supporting workers. Bakers, carpenters, water carriers, and others were also needed for the project. Along with the methods utilized to construct the pyramids, there is also wide speculation regarding the exact number of workers needed for a building project of this magnitude. When Greek historian Herodotus visited Giza in 450 BC he was told by Egyptian priests that "the Great Pyramid had taken 400,000 men 20 years to build, working in three-month shifts 100,000 men at a time." Although not unreasonable it is now believed by archeologists that "as few as 20,000 workers would have been adequate for the task." Some archaeologists and engineers think that the pyramid builders were not slaves, as was previously thought, but paid laborers who took great pride in their task. Most were probably farmers, contracted to work for a limited period. Specialists such as: architects, masons, metalworkers and carpenters, were permanently employed by the king to fill positions that required the most skill.

In building the pyramids, the architects might have developed their techniques over time. They would select a site on a relatively flat area of bedrock—not sand—which provided a stable foundation. After carefully surveying the site and laying down the first level of stones, they constructed the pyramids in horizontal levels, one on top of the other.

For the Great Pyramid, most of the stone for the interior seems to have been quarried immediately to the south of the construction site. The smooth exterior of the pyramid was made of a fine grade of white limestone that was quarried across the Nile. These exterior blocks had to be carefully cut, transported by river barge to Giza, and dragged up ramps to the construction site. Only a few exterior blocks remain in place at the bottom of the Great Pyramid. During the Middle Ages (5th century to 15th century) people may have taken the rest away for building projects in the city of Cairo. []

To ensure that the pyramid remained symmetrical, the exterior casing stones all had to be equal in height and width. Workers might have marked all the blocks to indicate the angle of the pyramid wall and trimmed the surfaces carefully so that the blocks fit together. During construction the outer surface of the stone was left unfinished; excess stone was removed later. []

Purpose

The Pyramids of Giza and other were constructed to house the remains of the deceased Pharaohs who ruled over ancient Egypt. A portion of the Pharaoh's spirit called his ka was believed to remain with his corpse. Proper care of the remains was necessary in order for the "former Pharaoh to perform his new duties as king of the dead." The pyramid not only served as a tomb for the Pharaoh but also as storage for the various items he would need in the afterlife. "The people of Ancient Egypt believed that death on Earth was the start of a journey to the next world. The embalmed body of the King was entombed underneath or within the pyramid to protect it and allow his transformation and ascension to the afterlife."

Astronomy

The sides of all three of the Giza pyramids were astronomically oriented to be north-south and east-west within a small fraction of a degree. Among recent attempts to explain such a clearly deliberate pattern are those of S. Haack, O. Neugebauer, K. Spence, D. Rawlins, K. Pickering, and J. Belmonte. The arrangement of the pyramids is a disputed representation of the Orion constellation in the Orion Correlation Theory.

Further reading

  • Lehner, Dr. Mark, "The Complete Pyramids", Thames & Hudson, 1997. ISBN 0-500-05084-8.
  • Manley, Bill (Ed.), "The Seventy Great Mysteries of Ancient Egypt", Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05123-2.
  • "Mysteries of Egypt" National Geographic Society, 1999. ISBN 0-7922-9752-0.
  • Rhys-Davies, John, "Riddles of the monument builders: Who built the Sphinx", Time-Life Video, 1995.
  • Stadelmann, Rainer, "Die ägyptischen Pyramiden. Vom Ziegelbau zum Weltwunder", Von Zabern, Mainz, 1997. ISBN 3-8053-1142-7.
  • Wirsching, Armin, "Die Pyramiden von Giza - Mathematik in Stein gebaut", Books on Demand, Norderstedt, 2nd ed 2009. ISBN 3-8370-2355-8.

References

External links

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4SQ Egypt
19 November 2012

On the Giza Plateau, Khufu's builders oriented the largest pyramid ever built, it incorporates about 2.3 million stone blocks, weighing an average of 2.5 to 15 tons each.

Ros47 Delta
1 May 2013

Some of our best work.

Rahul Desai
3 April 2010

They shut the place by 4:30 PM local time. And you should dedicate at least 2-3 hours to see the pyramids closely and enjoy the place. Try and reach the place accordingly.

Georban
3 October 2012

The Great Pyramid of Giza it's the oldest and it is also the only one to remain largely intact. The three massive Pyramids were built by armies of Hebrew slaves for the glory of the Pharaohs of Egypt.

Nataly Cnyrim-Kimmel
29 July 2013

Don't miss the Sound & Light Show at Giza After the sun sets on the bustling city of Cairo, the famous pyramids on the Giza plateau come to life in a magical sound and light setting. A Must !

Onur
4 December 2012

that's all in Cairo. just jumped. and breakfast near the river Nil. not a place to be seen very necessary. but sharm-el sheikh is must!...

@JaumePrimero
15 October 2011

The oldest of the seven wonders of the world. And it was also the tallest manmade structure in the world for over 3,800 years.

10,000 Pixels
8 August 2011

Step 1 - Find an Egyptian soldier/guard with an AK-47.Step 2 - Bribe them generously.Step 3 - Now you can fully explore the Pyramids like you're Indiana Jones!

Rafiqah
29 October 2012

Stupid egyptian people picnic in front of the pyramid.

Abhinav Sharma
16 June 2012

If you go past the sphinx to where they usually hold the light and sound show, you can see all the 9 pyramids in a row (yes, there's 9, though 6 are smaller than the three big ones!)

Lou Musti
3 October 2013

Had yelem shewayet el baltageya eli 3ala madkhal el ahramat we hatla2o el soyah reg3o :@ ! Mish keda besaraha ..

Ana Cristina Moura
15 January 2013

Lugar misterioso!

Yasemin Göntem
31 January 2013

muhteşem , muteşemmm

Mustafa
18 October 2012

bi daha gelmem :D

Fоursquаrе по-русски

Здесь можно задавать вопрос, ответ на который сразу же или позднее обязательно придет к вам. Но самое главное сформулировать свой вопрос четко и ясно.

Yasemin Göntem
26 March 2013

harikanında ötesi bir yer

CameraNeon
21 October 2013

Não se deixe aborrecer pelos vendedores insistentes! Fotografia dentro das pirâmides não é permitida. Evite ir no pico do verão. Para uma vista ao longe - foto clássica, siga para trás das pirâmides.

Asya Hameş
9 February 2013

Gormus olmak icin gidilir, insanin zevk almasini engelleyen bunaltici saticilarla dolu....tekrarlamam

VacazionaViajes
28 August 2012

Uno de los monumentos más conocidos de Egipto y unos de los más antiguos del mundo. Aproveche para dar un paseo en camello.

Игорь Казыров
17 August 2012

Если хотите посмотреть на нервно кричащего араба, то позвольте вашему ребёнку взять у него пирамидки, которые он "типа дарит", а потом, можете ребенку разрешить её выкинуть или сломать:)

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0.4km from Al Ahram, Nazlet El-Semman, Al Haram, Giza, Egypt

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