The most famous pyramids in Egypt are those incredible pyramids at Giza. These massive structures were built 4500 years ago, and yet they are still dominating the landscape around them. The Giza pyramids were built for King Khufu, King Khafre and King Menkaure. The greatest among them, and the highest pyramid in Egypt, is this of King Khufu. This article includes full description of King Khufu’s pyramid, as well as Pictures of the pyramid’s entrance passage, grand gallery, and the main burial chamber.
The Great Pyramid Of King Khufu
Builder: King Khufu.
Constructed: 2560–2540 BC
Height: 146 Meters.
Location: Giza city.
The great pyramid was originally 146 meters high, but over time the capstone wore off, and was replaced by a wooden tripod that indicates the original height. Now the height of the pyramid is 138 meters. The great pyramid remained the tallest structure in the world for 3800 years. Originally the great pyramid was cased by smooth white limestone. What is seen today is the core structure underneath that case, however, some of the smooth casing can still be seen around the base of the pyramid.
The pyramid was built around 2560 BC by King Khufu (fourth dynasty) over a period of 20 years. King Khufu was seen as a living god, people respected him and obeyed his commands, but the only statue that remains of him is a very tiny one that can be seen at the Egyptian museum in Cairo, and his mummy was never found; May be because the real burial chamber is not discovered yet. Hemon (Khufu’s vizier) is believed to be the architect of the great pyramid.
Great Pyramid Interior
To deter thieves, the original entrance to Khufu’s pyramid was hidden under its limestone. Today visitors can enter the structure through a passage that was dug by Al-Khalifa Elmaamoun in 820 AD. The great pyramid is very complex in design, the interior is a network of passages, shafts, chambers and galleries; no one knows for sure what was the purpose of this network of passages. Once you enter the great pyramid you will follow a dimly-lit passage for around 29 meters, then you take a passage that ascends for 40 meters, which leads you to the grand gallery. Once you reach the grand gallery you can either continue ascending until you reach the king’s chamber, or continue in a horizontal direction through another corridor that leads to the queen chamber.
At the end of the grand gallery you reach what is called (the big step), which is known to be located exactly at the center of the pyramid. It is thought that the big step was used as a design element to continue constructing the upper part of the pyramid. At the big step you climb into a narrow shaft that leads directly to the king’s chamber.
The only item that was ever found inside the king’s chamber is what is believed to be King Khufu’s coffer. The walls, and the ceiling of khufu’s chamber are completely made of granite. Right above the king’s chamber there is a series of 5 chambers known as (the relieving chambers). It is thought that the purpose of these chambers is to help prevent the king’s chamber from collapsing under any circumstances.
Excavation Of The Great Pyramid
The great pyramid was excavated for the first time in 820 AD by the Arabian governor of Egypt Caliph Al-Maamoun, he was so excited to discover what is inside this great monument, and sent a team of engineers to dig a tunnel to reach the interior of the great pyramid. It is said that as the engineers were digging the tunnel, the pyramid’s capstone fell, and crashed on the entrance descending passage making a very loud noise which was heard by the engineers who continued to dig until they reached the entrance passage. Caliph Al-Maamon became very frustrated when he knew that nothing was found inside the pyramid, but later he was informed the a sarcophagus was found, which made him very excited. He actually decided to go open the sarcophagus himself. When he arrived to the main burial chamber, the sarcophagus was perfectly sealed, but when he opened the sarcophagus….It was empty! Until today archeologists are excavating the great pyramid hoping to find the real burial chamber, and they seem to be getting closer because they discovered four mysterious shafts inside the great pyramid, and It is believed that one of these shafts may lead to the real burial chamber of King Khufu, Click here for the complete story.
The Queens’ Pyramids
King Khufu built 3 small pyramids right next to his pyramid for queens, the pyramids are called GI-a GI-b, and GI-c (ordered north to south). Gi-c is the most complete among those 3 pyramids, and it reveals inner 3 step layers that seem to form the core of the pyramid. All three pyramids were cased with fine limestone, and they all have one entrance descending passage that leads to the burial chamber. GI-a is believed to belong to queen Hetepheres who is thought to be the mother of king Khufu. GI-b belongs to queen Meritetes. A scripture was found in Kawab’s tomb (one of Khufu sons) documents that queen Meritetes lived through the reigns for king Sneferu, king Khufu, and king Khafre. The last pyramid GI-c belongs to queen Henutsen , and it is the only that survived with its walls intact probably due to the way it was built.