Despite the popularity of the Red Sea resorts, the beauty of the underwater world and all-inclusive hotels, the famous pyramids have remained the main association with Egypt for more than a century. It is for the sake of these amazing architectural monuments that researchers, historians and simply curious tourists have come here for many years.
Visiting the pyramids during a tour to Egypt is simply a must do for everyone! Even in spite of a long and often tiresome journey from most resorts, the flow of tourists to these monuments only grows from year to year, and the number of those wishing to unravel their secrets is not decreasing. What is known today about the Egyptian pyramids, what they are famous for and why go to them – read on.
Egyptian pyramids: what is known today?
If, in general, everyone knows about the Egyptian pyramids, then not everyone knows that today historians have recorded at least 118 such buildings (although some talk about 138). For the most part, they were created as posthumous tombs for the pharaohs of the Ancient and Middle Kingdoms, therefore one or several chambers are equipped inside. Traditionally, the resting places of the rulers, both among local residents and among foreign researchers, were associated with countless treasures, so many of them were plundered and dismantled, despite the legends about curses that would befall anyone who disturbed the peace of the pharaoh.
The most ancient pyramids known today are located in Sakkara, the age of the oldest – the pyramid of Djoser – is estimated at 4600 years. The most famous are the Egyptian pyramids at Giza, near Cairo. They belong to the period of the IV dynasty and were erected for the pharaohs Cheops, Khafren and Mikerin. These pyramids date back to the XXVI – XXIII centuries BC. The tallest of them (and the tallest of all the surviving ones), the Pyramid of Cheops reaches a height of 139 meters. During their holidays in Egypt, tourists usually visit the pyramids of Giza.
Hypotheses of the appearance and construction of the pyramids
Egyptologists and modern architects are still trying to understand and explain how the ancient Egyptians, without high-tech equipment, managed to create such impressive, complex and durable structures. Even the process of cutting down limestone blocks and transporting them to the pyramid construction sites raises questions. In addition, not so long ago, scientists found out that the faces of the great pyramids of Giza are precisely oriented to the cardinal points, and the proportions of the blocks are mathematically correct. Of course, all this causes the emergence of many different hypotheses about the purpose and construction of buildings.
The traditional point of view, voiced by most scientists, suggests that more than 4 thousand years ago the Egyptians were skilled builders, used winches, primitive cranes and other mechanisms to facilitate the construction, and the design of each building was verified to the smallest detail. Theories were also considered that the pyramids were originally hills, the surfaces of which were simply processed by workers, that special water shafts or special internal ramps were used for construction.
Not without conspiracy theories, according to which the Egyptian pyramids were erected not by the ancient Egyptians, but by representatives of earlier civilizations, Atlanteans or even aliens. The authors of such alternative hypotheses suggest that the pyramids could not be the tombs of the pharaohs at all, but giant antennas, receivers or observatories. Of course, such stories only increase interest in trips to Egypt and attract even more tourists!
Pyramids of Giza
Whichever of the theories of the appearance of the pyramids turns out to be true, it is definitely worth visiting these wonderful buildings during a tour to Egypt! An excursion to the pyramids of Giza can be ordered at any Egyptian hotel, from most resorts such a trip can be made throughout the day.
The Giza pyramid complex consists of the Khufu pyramid, better known as the Pyramid of Cheops, the smaller pyramids of Khafra (or Khafre) and Mikerin (aka Menkaur), as well as several smaller pyramids-satellites. Next to them is the figure of the Great Sphinx, as well as the Sphinx Temple, which was discovered only in the twentieth century. Initially, the pyramids did not look like they do now – their surface was covered with slabs of polished white limestone and they sparkled in the sun.
Pyramid of Cheops – one of the Seven Wonders of the World
The largest in this complex and in all of Egypt is the Cheops pyramid. Until the beginning of the XIV century, it was the tallest building on Earth, and now it is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the World that has survived to this day. The original height of the pyramid was 146.6 m, but now it has decreased to 138.7 m. It is composed of about 2.5 million huge limestone blocks, each of which weighs about 2.5 tons on average. According to scientists, the total weight of all the blocks used in the construction of the pyramid is 5 million tons, and the total mass of the pyramid with granite slabs and mortar is 6.7 million tons. Inside the Cheops pyramid there are three burial chambers connected by an inclined corridor 105 meters long.
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