The Pyramid


The Pyramids of Egypt do not require speculations concerning its appearance, size and shape. It is the oldest, yet the only surviving of the Seven Ancient Wonders. Ancient Egyptians built pyramids tombs for the pharaohs and their queens.

After a ruler died, his or her body was carefully treated and wrapped to preserve it as a mummy. According to ancient Egyptian belief, the pyramid, where the mummy was placed, provided a place for the monarch to pass into the afterlife.

Most pyramids rose from desert plateaus on the west bank of the Nile, behind which the sun set. The Egyptians believed that a dead monarch’s spirit left the body and travelled through the sky with the sun each day. When the sun set in the west, the royal spirits settled into their pyramid tombs to renew themselves.

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Between 2630BC and about 1530BC, Ancient Egyptians built around ninety pyramids. Thieves and robbers plundered and destroyed most of the pyramids.

The three largest and best preserved of these were built at Giza. It took 20 years for 100,000 slaves to build it. It required 112 men to lift each separate block.


How Pyramids Work

  1. The primary burial Chamber, or king’s chamber, contains the sarcophagus (tomb)that help khufu’s body, and the walls are adorned with hieroglyphs(writing) depicting various aspects of ancient Egyptian history and religion.
  2. The smaller queen’s chamber (actually a misnomer—it was not intended for the queen)lies within the pyramid, while another unfinished secondary burial chamber lies underneath the pyramid.
  3. Weight-relieving chambers above the king’s chamber distribute the weight of the overlying rock and prevent the king’s chamber from collapsing.
  4.  The gallery is a large passageway with a vaulted, corbelled ceiling (the walls are layered upward, and each vertical layer sticks out further than the one below to form a primitive arch).
  5. Descending and ascending passageways connect various chambers to each other and to the outside.
  6. Air shafts connect the king’s chamber to the outside. They may have been designed as a way for Khufu’s spirit to exit the pyramid and rise to the heavens.
  7.  The entrance was sealed after the pharaoh’s body was placed inside.
  8. White limestone rocks line the pyramid’s exterior, giving it a smooth face. These rocks have eroded away over time, but we know they existed because the Pyramid of Khafre still has some of its peak.

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