Wonders of the Ancient World: The Great Pyramid

The Great Pyramid

The Great Pyramid of Giza (also called Khufu and Cheops) is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. It was built c. 2560 BC for Pharaoh Khufu probably by his vizier, Hemon.  It is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids at Giza and took about 20 years to build. The pyramid is surrounded by a mortuary complex which includes the three smaller pyramids for the Pharaoh’s wives.  The base of a fourth pyramid has been discovered recently.

The Great Pyramid at 480 ft tall was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years. It was covered by casing stones of Tura limestone which formed a smooth outer surface with an underlying rougher core structure. An earthquake in 1300 AD detached most of the casing stones which were subsequently used for building in Cairo.

The pyramid was believed to have been built by transporting stones from a quarry, dragging them to the site, then lifting them into place.  The stones were placed with incredible accuracy (<1 mm between the stones) with an average error of 58 mm on the sides.  Three chambers have been discovered inside the Great Pyramid—the King’s Chamber, the Queen’s Chamber and a lower base chamber cut into the bedrock.  A rough sarcophagus is the only object found in the pyramid which was believed to have been looted after the Old Kingdom (ended c 2182 BC).  The Djedi Project is currently investigating the interior of the pyramid.

Tomorrow, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon   Rita Bay

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