Great Pyramid of Cheops: The Pyramid of Khufu in Giza
The Pyramid of Cheops is one of the three giant pyramids in the World, also known as (Khufu) built on the Giza plateau and is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and still exists to this day
and is always visited by Italian travelers; it is the first that comes into view if, like most visitors, you come from Sharia El-Ahram.
This marvel was completed around 2560 BC; the height initially exceeded 145 meters (now reduced to 138 due to the removal of external architectural elements). Taller than any construction built before the industrial era,
it is a marvel of mathematics and engineering, built based on highly developed geometric and technical knowledge. Apart from the pyramid of Cheops, there are also 2 other pyramids to visit in Egypt such as the Pyramid of Chephren and Mycerinus, and the Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara has four steps, the Rhomboid Pyramid and the Red Pyramid of Sneferu in Dahshur.
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Where is the Cheops Pyramid?
The pyramid of Cheops is located on the Giza plateau, on the outskirts of Cairo, where the desert begins; it is one of the three Pyramids of Giza. And the Sphinx, the Valley Temple, and the Solar Boat Museum.
Currently, it is located in an urban area which allows easy access from various points of the city and can be seen standing proudly for centuries.
Who is Khufu, and what is the secret of his name?
It was built by order of one of the most famous pharaohs: Cheops, the third of the fourth dynasty. Pharaoh Khufu, son of Senefru and Queen Hetepheres and father of Khafre, also known by his Greek name Cheops,
was the second pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt during the Old Kingdom era. His sons Chephren and Mycerinus are credited with building the other two pyramids of Giza, but neither of these has the exact impressive dimensions as the Great Pyramid of Cheops.
How Long Did it Take to Build the Great Pyramid Of Giza?
First, the pyramid was built around 2560 BC, during Cheops’ reign. More than 100,000 people participated in the construction. The project lasted about 20 years, experts disagree, and documents are sometimes contradictory, but 23 to 25 years seems reasonable.
According to logic and the scant papers, it took 6 years to set up the location, clear the ground, and complete the calculations, particularly those that incorporate the natural hill in the massif.
The following ten years were dedicated to building the pyramid, underground tunnels, and high and low temples. 4 years to finish the work, remove the ramps, demolish the temporary structures, etc.
The construction of the Pyramid of Cheops
It seems that Cheops reigned from 2589 to 2560 BC; the pyramid dedicated to him as we have seen the oldest and largest pyramid in the World. It has been estimated that 2.5 million blocks of limestone form it,
Each weighs 2.3 tons, but some stones at its base weigh around 15 tons.
According to the estimates and statistics of Egyptologists who confirmed that the volume of the pyramid of Cheops reaches up to 2.5 million cubic meters. The fourth dynasty is considered a golden age for the Old Kingdom, mainly due to the impressive, almost gigantic size and the careful workmanship of the pyramids built in this period.
Starting from the construction of the father of Cheops, Snefru, built in Dahshur, the pyramids of the fourth dynasty are more significant in size and have a more refined appearance than the others constructed in an earlier or later period.
The word pyramid comes from the Greek language, “pyramis” for the Egyptians, the pyramid was the way to ensure the immortality of the pharaoh and, consequently, their kingdom.
To be effective in this, the pyramid had to be completed before the pharaoh’s death.
At one-third of the height of the Great Pyramid, about 45 m from the base, is the Chamber of the Kings; it was discovered by the Caliph Ma’mun around 820 AD.
When it was opened, it was thought that a treasure proportionates to the greatness of the monarch would be found, instead with extreme surprise, the pharaoh’s chamber (funerary according to orthodox Egyptology) was found wholly empty and bare, not even the decorations or inscriptions remained which initially must have been placed on the walls, the only thing that was found is the granite sarcophagus, also empty.
The Reason for its construction:
Like other pyramids, this one was built to serve as a tomb for the pharaoh who ordered its construction, Cheops, and to contain his “essence” for all eternity.
The pyramids were also a way in which the pharaoh demonstrated his power and thus remained present even after his death. Some texts mention the ancient Egyptians’ belief in the afterlife:
How the pharaoh is resurrected and ascends to heaven to live eternally among the gods, transfigured into a star.
Who Designed the Cheops Pyramid?
Of course, the Pharaoh did not supervise his funerary complex’s construction. He hired a reliable guy, a cousin, the architect Hemiounou.
Hemiounou was the Pharaoh’s counsellor and confidant. His tomb is located in the western cemetery of the funerary complex and was highly spectacular, demonstrating his status at the time. The size and location of the tomb reflected the Pharaoh’s interest in the person.
The Workers’ Village, an archaeological site that permitted the freeing of the city where the pyramid builders resided, must be completed with the three Giza necropolis pyramids: Khafre, Mycerinus, and Khufu.
What is inside the pyramid of Cheops?
Inside the pyramid of Cheops pyramid, there is a group of corridors and chambers, which differ from each other in terms of internal description, area, and size.
The following are some of what was found inside the pyramid of Cheops.
The Queen’s Chamber:
It is an unfinished room located in the heart of the pyramid of Khufu. Two channels for air passage in a vertical direction emerge from the northern and southern walls of the chamber, called air pumps.
The Grand Gallery is an open space between the descending and ascending corridors.
It is a large room with a vast uncovered sarcophagus of granite. The King’s Chamber is located at the end of the horizontal corridor in the upper part of the gallery.
It is a corridor whose walls are built of limestone, and it is filled with a group of granite blocks. This corridor is located along the heart of the pyramid and ends atth the Queen’s Chambers, a small, empty, square-shaped room.
This passage is located close to the entrance to the northern pyramid.
It is a passage that intersects with the end of the descending course, where there are three granite stone blocks.
From the inside, the pyramid includes three burial chambers, one of which is cut at the bottom of the lower rock, and two are at a height inside the building itself, which is something unique to the pyramid of Khufu that no other pyramid possesses.
Top 12 Interesting Facts About The Pyramids of Giza
- The original height of the Pyramid of Cheops was 147 meters, but unfortunately, 9 meters were lost. If you look at the photo above, the top is different from the other pyramids in the necropolis. Any image that shows the three pyramids of Giza will give the impression that the Pyramid of Cheops is more enormous because it was built in a higher area.
- There are 2,300 million stones, with weights ranging from 2.5 to 15 tons. Already inside the burial chamber where Pharaoh Khufu was buried, some stones weighed more than 51 tons.
- The outer surfaces of the Cheops pyramid were built using white limestone rocks characterized by their soft texture.
- Did you know that all entrances to the pyramids were made on the north side? This is because the ancient Egyptians believed that the pharaoh’s soul, after death, would dwell in the northern stars (the most prominent stars). The Egyptians frequently observed the stars and had a vast knowledge of astronomy. When observing the pyramid of Cheops, you will see that there are two entrances, the main one is approximately 17 meters high, but the door that tourists enter is the second one; this entrance is known as the entrance of Caliph Mamoon – one of the caliphs of the Empire Islamic. The Caliph opened this other entrance because the main one was not visible at the time, but he chose precisely this point to open a new door for two reasons: first, due to the prior knowledge that every pyramid has its entrance on the north side,
- Another curiosity is that 3 types of stones were used in the pyramid, the type found in the quarry on the Giza plateau, the limestone used in the lining of the pyramid, originating from the Helwan quarry (it is possible to see how the lining of the pyramids was made in the top of the Pyramid of Chephren) and the pink granite that was used in the burial chamber, the pink granite comes from the quarry in the city of Aswan, in southern Egypt. The construction of the pyramids took place with the aid of ramps around the structure, climbing the stones, and placing them in their proper place. As the building rose, the workers increased the ramps, and upon reaching the top, they began to do the limestone cladding.
- In Ancient Egypt, all the pharaohs who ruled the kingdom were designated by the gods, but for Cheops (Khufu), this was not enough, as he believed that he was the god Amon-Rá; due to this, the inhabitants wanted to participate in the project of the construction of the Pyramid of Cheops because they thought that this way they would be closer to the god or the symbol of the god, and in the next life they would also be his servants.
- The pyramid of Cheops was designed in an astronomical-engineering way, given that whoever designed it had extensive knowledge of mathematics and astronomy, as the pyramid of Cheops served as a time clock, through which the dates of the spring and autumn equinoxes were determined, as well as the dates of the winter and summer solstices.
- The pyramid of Cheops was considered ancient before the Eiffel Tower, the highest building built by man in ancient times.
- The inner walls of the Cheops pyramid are decorated with hieroglyphs, which express multiple historical events and aspects of the ancient Egyptian religion.
- The corridor entering the Great Pyramid Cheops refers to the North Star. In contrast, the inner vestibule refers to Sirius, which are types of stars in the sky, which raises questions about whether the Great Pyramid is an observatory.
- The Great Pyramid of Cheops is located precisely between the five continents.
- Two large disassembled boats were discovered inside pits on the southern side of the Great Pyramid of Cheops. It was believed that they were used to transport the king’s mummy and funerary furniture to the pyramid.