Estimated to be over 4,500 years old, the Great Pyramid of Giza is located in the Giza plateau, on the west bank of the River Nile, around a half-hour drive west of Cairo. It is one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the only one that remains relatively intact. This monument is fascinating with a rich history. Plenty of myths surrounding it, too. Here are just some of the more interesting facts about the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.
7 Interesting Facts about the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt
1. Pyramids are the final resting places for pharaohs
The pharaohs (kings) of Ancient Egypt believed that they would become gods after death. To prepare for the afterlife, the pharaohs built temples to the gods and pyramids for themselves. The pyramids were to be their tombs. The tombs were filled with everything the pharaohs needed to survive in the next world.
2. The Great Pyramid is the largest and oldest Pyramid in Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the Pyramid of Khufu. Khufu was an ancient Egyptian monarch. He began the first Giza pyramid project, circa 2550 B.C. His pyramid is the largest in Giza. It once stood 146.5 metres (481 feet) tall. For roughly 3,800 years it was the tallest man-made structure in the world.
3. The Great Pyramid of Giza is very heavy
The Great Pyramid of Giza contains 2,300,000 blocks of limestone and granite. Some of these stones weigh upwards of 50 tonnes. Doing the math, this means that the Great Pyramid of Giza weighs 6 million tonnes. It took between 10-60 years to build.
4. Hemiunu designed the Great Pyramid of Giza
Experts believe that Hemiunu is the architect of the Great Pyramid of Giza. He was related to Khufu and served as his royal seal bearer and vizier. A vizier was the highest official to serve the pharaoh. They worked closely together. They were so close, in fact, that Hemiunu was buried right next to Khufu’s pyramid.
5. Three items were removed from the Great Pyramid
British engineer Waynman Dixon removed three items from inside the Great Pyramid of Giza. The “Dixon Relics” are the only items ever taken from the Great Pyramid. Two of these relics, a small stone pounder and a copper object in the shape of a dove’s tail, are now housed in the British Museum. The third artefact is a small wooden board. A curatorial assistant recently rediscovered the wood in a box at the University of Aberdeen.
6. There are three pyramids at Giza
There are three pyramids at Giza. Khufu’s son, Pharaoh Khafre built the second biggest pyramid at Giza. Pharaoh Menkaure built the smallest pyramid. They are part of a larger complex which includes a palace, temples, solar boat pits and the Great Sphinx of Giza.
7. Egyptians built the Great Pyramid in a strategic location
The Ancient Egyptians believed that the East side of the Nile was for the living, this is because the sun rises in the east. The West side of the Nile – the West Bank – was for the dead, this is because this is where the sunsets. The pyramids were purposely built on the West Bank of the River Nile because the sun sets or ‘dies’ in the west every night and was an appropriate place for a tomb. It also made the transition to the afterlife a little easier and smoother.