is the site of the Great Pyramid, the tallest, built by
Pharaoh Khufu. The Great Pyramid is the largest Egyptian pyramid and tomb of Fourth Dynasty pharaoh Khufu. Built in the 26th century BC during a period of around 27 years, it is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. As part of the Giza pyramid complex, it borders present-day Giza in Greater Cairo, Egypt.
Initially standing at 146.6 metres (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years. Over time, most of the smooth white limestone casing was removed, which lowered the pyramid's height to the present 138.5 metres (454.4 ft). What is seen today is the underlying core structure. The base was measured to be about 230.3 metres (755.6 ft) square, giving a volume of roughly 2.6 million cubic metres (92 million cubic feet), which includes an internal hillock.
The dimensions of the pyramid were 280 royal cubits (146.7 m; 481.4 ft) high, a base length of 440 cubits (230.6 m; 756.4 ft), with a seked of 5 1/2 palms (a slope of 51°50'40").
The Great Pyramid was built by quarrying an estimated 2.3 million large blocks weighing 6 million tonnes in total. The majority of stones are not uniform in size or shape and are only roughly
dressed. The outside layers were bound together by mortar. Primarily local limestone from the Giza Plateau was used. Other blocks were imported by boat down the Nile: White limestone from Tura for the casing, and granite blocks from Aswan, weighing up to 80 tonnes, for the King's Chamber structure.
There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid. The lowest was cut into the bedrock, upon which the pyramid was built, but remained unfinished. The so-called Queen's Chamber and King's Chamber, that contains a granite sarcophagus, are higher up, within the pyramid structure. Khufu's vizier, Hemiunu (also called Hemon), is believed by some to be the architect of the Great Pyramid. Many varying scientific and alternative hypotheses attempt to explain the exact construction techniques.
The funerary complex around the pyramid consisted of two mortuary temples connected by a causeway (one close to the pyramid and one near the Nile), tombs for the immediate family and court of Khufu, including three smaller pyramids for Khufu's wives, an even smaller "satellite pyramid" and five buried solar barges.
from ruling their country, the
had time to contemplate how they would cope in the afterlife
during the flooding of the Nile, when farm laborers could be
used to build, giving them a positive agenda. Each
successive ruler of the sandy kingdom, wished for more
comforts, and to outdo their forebears, in terms of how they
would be remembered.
Egypt was one of the richest and most powerful civilizations in the world
at that time. So could afford to convert their national
output, into something tangible, for their citizens to
marvel at. At the time they had few threats to national
the bigger the pyramid, the more important the Pharaoh. It's
a Freudian thing. This compendium is in order of height.
There are many very interesting pyramid designs that will be
covered in the general indexing, if they have unusual or
developmental features. Since, the art of pyramid
construction and development appears to have been an ongoing
thing, until it fizzled out as a result of resource scarcities, adventures of thieves, and land grants
to priests, as the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
Pyramids ceased to be economically viable, and a huge drain
on what we'd call the Gross National Product (GNP) today.
the basis that the
taller the pyramid, the higher the status of the
king or queen,
it might be argued that Khufu takes first prize, with Khafre
a close second. After that, nobody came close to 140 meters,
as the national goal to achieve a taller building than the
last ruler fell by the wayside.
note, this is not a definitive table, but our own guide,
based on freely available information. Students of
archaeology and Egyptologists will draw their own
conclusions. Observations are most welcome, if we have
misquoted anything. We'd be pleased to make corrections as
WITHOUT A PYRAMID - Tragically, queen Cleopatra poisoned herself
with an Egyptian cobra. Later her
mausoleum was washed into the sea by an earthquake and
tsunami in 365AD. Leaving little to visibly remind us of
the great Pharaoh.
The oldest known pyramid in Egypt was built around 2630 B.C. at Saqqara, for the third dynasty’s King Djoser. Known as the Step Pyramid, it began as a traditional mastaba but grew into something much more ambitious. The pyramid’s architect was Imhotep, a priest and healer who some 1,400 years later would be deified as the patron saint of scribes and physicians. Over the course of Djoser’s nearly 20-year reign, pyramid builders assembled six stepped layers of stone (as opposed to mud-brick, like most earlier tombs) that eventually reached a height of 204 feet (62 meters); it was the tallest building of its time. The Step Pyramid was surrounded by a complex of courtyards, temples and shrines where Djoser could enjoy his afterlife.
After Djoser, the stepped pyramid became the norm for royal burials, although none of those planned by his dynastic successors were completed (probably due to their relatively short reigns). The earliest tomb constructed as a “true” (smooth-sided, not stepped) pyramid was the Red Pyramid at Dahshur, one of three burial structures built for the first king of the fourth dynasty, Sneferu (2613-2589 B.C.) It was named for the color of the limestone blocks used to construct the pyramid’s core.