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Free History For Your Report
The Pyramids of Egypt are large, complex building projects constructed by the Ancient Egyptians, between 3rd millennium BCE and 1640 BCE. Although the exact reason for construction of these massive structures has never been verified, many scientists and archeologists teach that they were probably built as giant burial monuments, perhaps in alignment with star patterns or in belief with ancient traditions. The first extensive list of pyramids in Egypt was made by Karl Lepsius in 1842. His initial list of 67 pyramids has since been expanded by more discoveries, and it is currently believed that over 110 pyramids exist in the region.
Today, however, only a fraction of the pyramids that first existed are visible; and many of the smaller pyramids were actually much larger; the majority of them being the victim of being used as a man-made source of rock quarry by the Romans. Several areas of Egypt have pyramids, but the most famous by far is Giza. The pyramids founds here – Pyramid of Khufu, Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure – are the three most commonly photographed of the pyramids, and the ones often used when referencing Egyptian pyramids in movies and books. This grouping of the three pyramids and the Great Sphinx became known Giza Necropolis, and the Pyramid of Khufu was listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World by Antipater of Sidon.
The Giza Necropolis lies five miles from the Old City of Giza, and sits about 12.5 miles from the Nile River. The Pyramid of Khufu, known as “The Great Pyramid,” was built over a 20-year period around 2560 BCE, and was built as a
memorial chamber for Pharaoh Khufu of the Fourth Dynasty Period. The sheer volume of this construction project has baffled scientists and mathematicians for centuries, as it has been estimated that anywhere between 50,000-300,000 men were needed to build the structure, which would include dragging and carrying thousands of 60-80 ton stones up to 500 miles to reach the building sites. Today this pyramid is 480.09 feet tall, and 755.8 feet long; though those massive measurements are much smaller than their original measurements, due to erosion that has occurred over time.
The Pyramid of Khafre is nearby, and was built for Pharaoh Khafre of the Fourth Dynasty Period, and rises to a height of 471 feet. The Pyramid of Menkaure is the smallest of the three, coming in at 215 feet, and was built for Fourth-Dynasty Period Pharaoh Menkaure. All of these pyramids were originally covered with polished limestone, and featured a completely smooth surface on all four sides, creating a very different look than what they resemble today. The polished stone made these tombs shine bright in the Egyptian sun. Unfortunately, time and erosion, along with thievery, has contributed to the loss of much of this covering.
The Great Sphinx is the fourth main monument located at the Giza Necropolis, and was constructed around 2520 BCE. Although no one is exactly sure who constructed the world’s oldest man-made statue, it is commonly believed that it was constructed by King Khafra of Egypt’s Fourth-Dynasty Period; and is seen as a mythical god guarding the Giza Plateau, looking out over the Nile River. From the end of the ancient occupation of Giza, the Great Sphinx became covered in sand until 1817, when a modern dig revealed portions of the body. It wasn’t until 1925 that the Sphinx was completely unearthed, and restoration work commenced. Today visitors can fly into Cairo and travel to Giza, and tour some of the last amazing wonders of the Ancient World.