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The Pyramids of Giza

The Pyramids of Giza

The Pyramids of Giza is made up of three main pyramids - The Great Pyramid of Khufu, The Pyramid of Khafre, and The Pyramid of Menkaure. These are the three main pyramids, which were built in the third and fourth dynasties. The construction of these pyramids marked the advent of the first ancient wonders of the world.

The Great Pyramid of Khufu

The Great Pyramid of Khufu was built by Khufu, also known as Cheops whose first act - after he became a pharaoh - was to curtail the growing powers of priesthood. He forbade sacrifices and closed down all the temples. It is believed that it took one hundred thousand people to build this pyramid. The construction was taking place at a time when Nile river was flooding and people were unemployed - so, Khufu employed them and gave them good food and clothing.

In fact, the Great Pyramid of Khufu is the most famous, the biggest, tallest and the most intact of all the pyramids. The pyramid is built entirely of limestone - around 1,3000,000 blocks weighing anything between 2.5 tons to 1.5 tons. It is tilted at an angle of 52 degrees. The original height of the pyramid was 488 ft, but now it has been reduced to 455 because of theft - people have been stealing the fine-quality limestones for building mosques and houses. When you enter the pyramid through the main entrance, you will notice that there is a long and narrow corridor, with very little headroom. This narrow passage will take you directly to the unfinished burial chamber, which has very little fresh air inside.A word of caution: If you wish to go inside the pyramid, you will have to bend throughout the length and breadth of the pyramid.

The Pyramid of Khafre

The Pyramid of Khafre was built by Khufu's son - Khafre and measures 446 ft. This pyramid has also lost its height over the ages. It is spread over 11 acres and has a tilt of about 53 degrees. Like the Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Khafre has an entrance on the north. The burial chamber lies underground and one has to cross through long, descending passageway to reach it. Inside, you will find a large stone coffin. You will also find a gate that can be lowered to prevent entry to the unfinished burial chamber.

The Pyramid of Menkaure

This is the smallest of the three pyramids built by Menkaure, son of Khafre. This is just 215 ft tall, with sides stretching to 344 ft. Today, its height has been reduced to 203 ft. It is believed that the Pyramid of Menkaure was originally slated to be smaller than what has been constructed. The original design had a corridor leading the way down to the burial chamber. However, later, this corridor was made bigger and another burial chamber and a storeroom were added. The pyramid, unlike the pyramids built by his father and grandfather, is made up of pink granite until 15 m and then above that white limestone has been used.

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