Giza is a city on the left bank of the Nile in a direction southwest of Cairo’s old town, and is today part of the great metropolis of Cairo. The city is the capital of Al Jizah province.
Pyramids at Giza
This area is best known for some of the world’s most famous and majestic ancient monuments: the Great Sphinx, the Great Pyramid (Pyramid of Cheops), the only remnant of the ‘seven wonders’ of the ancient world and other major pyramids and temples.
Memphis with its necropolis and pyramids and the area from Giza to Dahshur was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.
The Pyramid of Cheops
Pharaoh Cheops, second ruler IV. of the dynasty (Ancient Egypt, 2550 BC) was the son of Pharaoh Snefru. He had the largest pyramid built on the Giza plateau - the Great Priamido, 147 m high. It was built of about 2.5 million stone blocks weighing 2.5 to 15 tons. The outer blocks of the pyramid and the blocks around the burial cells were precisely carved, and the intermediate ones were of coarser workmanship or even untreated. The pyramid has three burial cells. One lies below the pyramid, the other, also called the Queen's Cell, and the third Royal in which a large red granite sarcophagus was placed.
The Pyramid of Kefren
Pharaoh Kefren, the third ruler of IV. of the dynasty (Ancient Egypt, 2520 BC) was the son of Pharaoh Cheops. Its pyramid is 144 m high and at the top the original smooth exterior of the pyramid is still visible. Although the pyramid is 3 m smaller than the Great Pyramid, it looks bigger due to its higher position.
The Great Sphinx
At the time of the construction of the Pyramid of Kefren, a temple with a necropolis was also built nearby. In front of the pyramid was placed the Great Sphinx, which is supposed to depict the pharaoh's face with a lion's body.
Large sphinxes are missing a nose that was allegedly damaged by Napoleon’s soldiers in the 18th century while practicing cannon shooting. This information is not true, as historical sources report that the Great Sphinx was noseless as early as the 15th century. The age of the Great Sphinx is shrouded in mystery. It is believed that the sphinx was erected as early as 7000 BC. as indicated by gutters similar to karst gutters. Pharaoh Kefren is said to have only had his face carved during the construction of the pyramid.
The smallest of the three ‘great pyramids’ was built by Pharaoh Mykerin, the sixth ruler of IV. dynasty (Ancient Egypt, 2490 BC). The pyramid is 62 m high and is ten times smaller in volume than the Pyramid of Cheops.
The first pyramids
The dead pharaohs were originally buried in mastabs (ancient Egyptian tombs carved into the rock and protected at the top by a heavy, flat roof). The pyramids were built on sacred rocks called ‘benben’. Benbeni symbolized the sun's rays, according to which the dead pharaoh was supposed to reach the heavens (heaven). The first known ancient Egyptian pyramid is around 2630 BC, built by Pharaoh Djoser. It was built in the area of today's Sakkara and was 62 m high on six floors. Pharaoh Snefru, the first ruler of IV. dynasty (Ancient Egypt, around 2600 BC) had three pyramids built. The first pyramid in the Maidum area had an irregular shape. Height: 92 m. The second pyramid was already similar to the classical pyramid and was built in the Dahshur area. Height: 105 m. The third pyramid, or ‘Red Pyramid’, built in the Dashur area is known as the first ancient Egyptian pyramid to have the correct shape of a pyramid.
For a long time, the stereotype that pyramids were built by slaves and prisoners of war prevailed. The pyramids were built by workers who were directly and permanently employed by the pharaoh. These were architects, stonemasons, builders and other skilled workers from various fields who were needed in such a large construction project. their work was coordinated by Pharaoh's overseers. The construction of the pyramid was a highly respected work and handed over to the employer - Pharaoh. These workers lived in permanent settlements near the construction site. They were also assisted by unskilled fixed-term workers who worked for a certain period of time - usually a few years. Among the builders were not only men but also women, which archaeologists found after analyzing the found female skeletons, which showed that women also performed heavy work over a long period of time. The Pyramids at Giza are expected to be built by up to 30,000 workers over a period of 80 years.