The astonishing “great pyramids” including the Great Pyramid of Giza (The Pyramid of Khufu or The Pyramid of Cheops) are located in Giza close to Cairo. The Giza complex houses two pyramids together with the Great Pyramid of Giza, namely Khafre(Chephren) and Menkure (Mykerinos). Although the pyramid of Khafre which was built by the son of Khufu seems the tallest pyramid at first sight, that is because of the level of the ground. Pyramid of Menkure is the smallest one built by the grandson of Khufu, Menkure.
Being the seven wonders of the Ancient World and the only one still standing today, man-made extraordinary the Great Pyramid of Giza (the Pyramid of Khufu), was made of 2,3 million blocks of limestone and granite. The Great Pyramid of Giza is 146 metres high, has a 230-metre-square base and weighs about 6,5 million tons. The white limestone blocks reflecting the rays of the sun add shiny effect to the pyramids and, therefore, creating more astonishing look.
The unbelievable work of engineering and mathematical skill without modern machinery, the Great Pyramid is thought to be completed with the hard works of many Egyptian people while the number of the labourers varies according to the archaeologists. Contrary to popular belief they were built not by the slaves but by ordinary citizens.
It is mostly presumed that about 5.000 salaried permanent workers such as quarry labourers, hauliers and masons who were supported by approximately 20.000 seasonal workers, the unemployed inhabitants during the Nile’s annual flood season hired seasonally for 3 months against food by the pharaoh, in order to build the monumental pyramid which could last 20 years or more.
Consequently, the 2.3 million limestone blocks were transported and carried with wooden sleds, ropes and ramps with a division of labour, making a perfect combination of human intelligence and physical power.
Although the gigantic pyramids in Giza area on the west bank of the Nile are well-known, the earliest Egyptian pyramids are at Saqqara on the northwest of Memphis. The Pyramid of Djoser is the oldest one dating back to 2620 BC during the Third Dynasty by Egyptian pharaoh Djoser.
The tombs of the pharaohs’ and their wives, gigantic pyramids date back to 26th century BC during the fourth Dynasty. As the pyramid was the beginning of the pharaoh’s soul’s journey for reaching to the sun God Ra, the supplies revealing his wealth which might be needed during this journey to the next life were also buried together with the pharaoh. The soul of the pharaoh reaches to the night sky with narrow shafts from the main burial chamber of the pyramid which points the dark area of the sky as the gateway to the next life.
Today, 138 pyramids have been unrevealed by archaeologists dating back to Egypt’s Old and Middle Kingdom Periods.