THE GREAT PYRAMID OF GIZA

   The Great Pyramid of Giza is also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops, by the Greek name of the pharaoh. It is a part of an ancient necropolis, together with two smaller pyramids and the Sphinx – an enormous statue of a lion with the head of a pharaoh. The complex is situated in Giza, Egypt, on the west bank of the Nile River. The Great Pyramid holds a couple of records – the largest pyramid ever built, it remained the tallest man-built structure for more than 3800 years and it is last of the Seven Ancient Wonders that is still standing in the modern world.

  Everything about this pyramid is grand and impressive. Each side at the base is 230 m long!! When it was initially constructed, the Great Pyramid was 146,5 m high but due to erosion, its height nowadays is ‘only’ 138 m! Erosion also caused the reducing of the number of stone layers – from to 210 to 201. Scientists have estimated that 2,3 mln stone blocks were used to build the pyramid. Each stone weighs around 2,5 ton but some of them reach a top weight of 15 tons. Even more amazing, is the extreme precision the pyramid is built with. The sides of the base are almost the exact same length – the biggest difference is a mere 4,4 cm, which is a great achievement considering that the ancient Egyptians did not have the modern tools we rely on today. It is believed that it took around 20 years to build the pyramid. And while we know it was meant to be pharaoh Khufu’s finals resting place, we do not know who or how actually built it. One of the most widely accepted theories is that it was peasants or even skilled workers who participated in the construction.

  On the inside of the Great Pyramid there are three main chambers – King’s Chamber, Queen’s Chamber, the Grand Gallery as well as numerous smaller chambers and shafts. However, there is no evidence that the pyramid has ever been used as a tomb. The construction consists of blocks of limestone – a type of stone formed mainly from animal remains. Heavy granite blocks are used in the King’s Chamber and the impressive Grand Gallery. A special kind of white limestone was used for the outer layer of the pyramid. It gave it a remarkable, polished look – the pyramid was shimmering in the sun, monumental and breathtaking. Unfortunately, this layer does not exist any more – it has been plundered or it has eroded over the years. But still, the Great Pyramid of Giza remains an exceptional monument, a proof of the skills and knowledge of the ancient Egyptians.

GALLERY

GLOSSARY

pharaoh – a king or a ruler in ancient Egypt

necropolis – cemetery

initially – at the beginning

erosion – the process of being gradually destructed by natural forces

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