A Short Introduction To The Pyramids of Egypt
The Pyramids of Egypt are among The Seven Wonders of the World. These massive stone structures were built around 4500 years ago. There are 138 pyramids discovered in Egypt as of 2008. The three largest and best-preserved were built in Giza on the outskirts of Cairo. In the initial days of the kingdom, Egyptians built tombs which had flat-roofed structures called Mastabas. It was only later when the economy flourished and state strengthened, that they began building the pyramids.
It is believed that most of the pyramids were built during the Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom period. Pharaohs ruled Egypt from 3000 BC to 30 BC. The earliest pyramid discovered is called “Pyramid of Djoser” in Saqqara, estimated to be built during 2630 BC to 2611 BC. This was built in the third dynasty of Pharaoh. The pyramids built in the 3rd and 4th dynasty were large and tall structures. Later the pyramids became small in structure and were hastily built. This was due to the weakened economic condition of the kingdom, which was plagued by famine and foreign and domestic conflicts in its last days.
The ancient Egyptians believed that death on earth was the start of new life, a new journey into to the next world. They believed that when a pharaoh died, he became king of the dead. They believed that some parts of the dead pharaoh’s spirit remain with his body. They believed that if the dead pharaoh is not given proper care, he would not be able to carry out his duties as the king of the dead and as result a curse would fall on Egypt and upon the next living Pharaoh. In order to prevent any such disaster the dead pharaoh was mummified. Food, stones, gold and furniture were also placed in the pyramids along with the mummy so that the Pharaoh was able to perform his duties as king of dead.
The largest Egyptian pyramid belongs to the Pharaoh Khufu and is the also among the only seven ancient wonders of the world still in existence. There are 2.3 million stone blocks in this pyramid and each block weighs an average of 2.5 to 15 tons each. The king's chamber is accessed via the Grand Gallery and the pyramid has three burial chambers. An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 workers built the Pyramids at Giza over 80 years and the latest research reveals that it could have taken workers between two to two and a half minutes to set each block.