Egypt “the cradle of ancient civilization and the land of the Pharaohs”, the Pharaohs believed that kings were chosen by the gods so they imported building the pyramids as tombs of kings to keep their bodies along with their treasures, food, furniture, golden vessels and everything they needed in the afterlife.
There are more than 100 pyramids in Egypt, many of them of great importance but the main and most famous ones are the three Pyramids of Giza (Cheops, Kefren, and Mycerinos) for their sizes and the popularity of their Kings.
This Complex of Giza is a tourist place but attractive in Cairo. The most famous is the Great Pyramid of Giza for the enigmas and secrets that it has that is why it is considered one of the wonders of the ancient world.
The Great Pyramid of Giza or The Pyramid of King Cheops (Jufu) is the largest pyramid in Egypt and the only survivor of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
It is in the northeast of the Giza complex. It is in the center of the Planet. It was built in the year 2560 B.C. by the order of King Cheops, pharaoh of the IV dynasty. It was known by the name “Akhet Khufu” which means the Horizon of Cheops.
Hemiunu was the architect of the Great Pyramid of Giza and the son of the architect Nefermaat who was the architect of the Pyramid of King Seneferu (the father of King Cheops). Hemiunu was a master builder and vizier. His tomb is near the Great Pyramid of Giza. It was found in the stones of his tomb on some dates that refer to the reign of Cheops. There is a limestone statue of Hemiunu in the Roemer-Pelizaeus Museum in Hildesheim, Germany.
Its History and Description
When Cheops was the king, he thought about building his tomb, affected by the pyramid of his father “King Seneferu”. His architect was Hemiunu. The construction of the Great Pyramid lasted 20 years from 2540 B.C. to 2560 B.C. Its original height was 146.5 m by the passage of time and by the deterioration of its upper part, its height is 138.5 m.
It was the highest for 3800 years until the construction of the Lincoln Cathedral in England in the 14th century (in 1300 A.D.) with a height of 160 m. The Great Pyramid was built with 2 million and 300 thousand large blocks of Tura limestone and Aswan granite, each block weighing between 2 and 60 tons.
The Great Pyramid weighs almost 6 million and 500 thousand tons. The upper parts were of blocks weighing 1 ton and the lower ones of 1.5 or 2 tons with height 1 or 1.5 m but the blocks of the King’s chamber were of red granite weighing 50 or 70 tons and with height 70 m.
The face of the pyramid was smooth with 27 thousand polished white limestones that shine but it was lost by the earthquake in the XVI century and later these stones of its face were used to build many places in Cairo. Its sides were 230 m but for the lost one by some stones is 227 m, oriented to the original cardinal points with the angle of inclination 51.
It is said that its construction needed almost 100 thousand workers. The red granite was used in the construction of the King’s chamber. There are three main chambers inside the pyramid (the King’s chamber, the Queen’s chamber, and the subway chamber), the great gallery, stellar or ventilation channels, descending and ascending passages.
Inside the Great Pyramid
The actual function of the design of the Great Pyramid’s chambers and passages is an enigma. In this period, the design of the chambers and tombs had no writings and then 250 years began the writings during the V dynasty that explain their religions, their thoughts, and their beliefs about life after death.
1-The Original Entrance
It is in the center of the north side of the Great Pyramid, at 17 meters high, and is currently obstructed. Its roof is made of two layers of large gable-shaped stones that extend into the passage inside the Pyramid. It is uncomfortable to walk with narrow passages.
2-The Current Entrance
It is the entrance that tourists use. It was built by the order of Caliph Al-Mamun in the year 823. The original entrance was not known so it was made at 16 m from the ground with levers, near the original entrance. It is higher and more comfortable than the original one.
3-The Descending Passage
Its height is 1.20 m, it slopes downwards at an angle of 26 and extends 28 m towards the ascending passage, 70 m later towards the inside of the Pyramid, from this point it extends horizontally towards the subway chamber.
4-The Underground Chamber
It was excavated underground, unfinished, irregular floor, flat roof, and walls. It is connected to the great gallery by a narrow passage.
5-The Great Gallery
There is a large passage with stepping stones. It is 47 m long and 8 m high. It extends into the King’s chamber.
It is a horizontal passage that contacts the end of the great gallery and the King’s chamber. It has a small chamber where there are three large granite blocks to close the King’s chamber.
7-The King’s Chamber
It was built of red granite, rectangular plant, smooth walls, and ceiling. The ceiling is horizontal with 9 red granite slabs (each one is 45 tons). Its demissions are 10 and 5 m and its height is 5 m. There are five unloading chambers above the King’s chamber so as not to unload all the weight of the upper part of the Pyramid onto the chamber’s ceiling. In the King’s chamber, there is a red granite sarcophagus that was deposited in the chamber during construction. The divisions of the sarcophagus are 0.98 and 2.27 m and 1.05 m high.
8-The Queen’s Chamber
It is in the center of the Pyramid. The demissions are 5.23 and 5.76 m and 4.6 m high. It has a rectangular floor plan, smooth walls, and a ceiling hidden with white limestone. Its roof is gable-shaped (sloping). Its passage is in contact with the great gallery. There is no wife buried in this chamber.
9-Star or Ventilation Channels
In the King’s and Queen’s chambers two narrow channels are sloping on the north and south sides. The actual function of these channels is not known. They are said to be for ventilation but the channels in the Queen’s chamber are covered by granite blocks. Egyptologists believe that their function is religious; the channels are directed toward a star that was famous in ancient Egypt and directs the soul of the King to heaven.
Were the Pyramids Built by Slaves?
When you think of the wonderful way the pyramids were built, especially the Great Pyramid, you can’t solve its mystery, logically it was not built by slaves but by skilled and peasants (when they didn’t work in the fields). Many peasants in ancient Egypt worked in construction to earn their living.
Explore more with Jakada Tours Egypt
The Giza Complex contains many historical sites that attract tourists and there are many to explore in Cairo. In the Pharaonic land, there are many historical cities like Luxor and Aswan along with modern cities like the Red Sea. You can view our Egypt and Nile cruise packages and choose the trip that is right for you.