Comparision with over 100 pyramids throughout Egypt, these behemoths with a monstrous height of nearly 500 ft. and covering over 13 acres of land stand out proudly piercing the landscape, the great Pyramids of Giza defy age. It is built as tombs to hold the physical bodies of the pharaohs with a phenomenal effort in technical achievements. And they are a core source development represents a core source for the rest of human history.
On the edge of Cairo, the Pyramids of Giza loom above the grey blur of the city’s skyline which merges seamlessly behind them. The 3 Pyramids of Giza were built as tombs to hold the physical bodies of the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure, best known by their Greek names respectively as Cheops, Chephres and Mycerinius. The greatest of these is the pyramid of Khufu (Cheops), who moved his court and residence here from Memphis when he became king of Egypt. Arguably, this is one of the best man-made structures in the world. Named by Herodotus as one of the 7 Wonders of the World as early as the 5th Century BC, it is the first and only survivor!
The Pyramids were shaped to imitate the Benben, a similarly shaped stone found in the earliest temples, which symbolized the primeval mound from which life emerged. According to Egyptian mythology, the sun god, Re, rose from the primeval mound to create life, thus the pyramids’ shape was directly associated with Re. By ancient Egyptian cosmology, Re reigned in the East, so that the rising of the sun, hence life, was linked to the eastern bank of the Nile. Here the towns and temples of ancient Egypt were built. The west bank, the domain of the darkly-aspected god Set, was associated with the setting sun, or death. It is here, on the very edge of Set’s domain that the Great Pyramids sit.
The construction of pyramids started with a surge of building which began during Egypt’s 3rd dynasty between 2650-2575BC. Royal pyramid building ceased entirely during the reign of the New Kingdom after 1295BC. Pyramid construction evolved during this period and was the result of centuries of experimentation, development and cultural adaptation as it became standardized. The pyramid complexes included a main pyramid with a surrounding courtyard, a much smaller cult pyramid housing the king’s soul, a mortuary temple set next to the main pyramid, and an enclosed wall and walkway leading to a valley temple, and in some cases, smaller subsidiary temples or tombs for family members.
Pyramid construction adhered to strict orientation of cardinal points and its alignment had to conform to true primary coordinates by stellar measurements. In terms of size, technical construction accomplishments, cardinality and the organization required for their construction, the Great pyramids represent a phenomenal effort.
Beyond the pyramids, the mystical apparition of the Father of Terror, the Sphinx, continues to guard over the royal burial chambers of the pharaohs, keeping its secrets to itself.
Today, the Great Pyramids serve as a backdrop for continuous bustle and activity, including, among others, artistic displays, musical performances and races. The most exhilarating activity, however, is a climb up the pyramid steps. Of the many, many steps, each as high as a table (2-5 ft.), a climb up is a muscle-straining, excruciating, exhausting and very worthwhile experience!
The pyramids, a symbol of long-lasting durability, were already as ancient to such visitors as Alexander the Great as ancient Greece is to us today.
Sylvia is a trip consultant, planner and manager who creates unique intercultural adventures for families and loves to impart information,tips and personal experiences especially related to family adventure travel.
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