Travel Guides: The Great Pyramid Of Giza
The oldest known version of the list belongs to Antipater of Sidon and was developed in the 2nd century BC; it seems to be very popular among the travel guides of the Greeks and contains buildings only around the Mediterranean Sea, where the safety travel was somewhat assured.
The seven wonders were considered miracles because they were among the most popular destinations; since 1600 BC, tourists have scratched inscriptions on the monuments in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt (at that time the Sphinx was already a thousand years old). All man-made wonders were constructions and natural destinations were not included because they were not popular.
The seven wonders of the world, in chronological order are:
- The Great Pyramid of Giza, built around 2550 BC by the Egyptians;
- The Suspended Gardens of Babylon, built around 600 BC by the Babylonians, destroyed after the first century BC by an earthquake;
- The Temple of Artemis, built around 550 BC by Greeks, destroyed in 356 BC by fire;
- The Statue of Zeus at Olympia, built around 435 BC by the Greeks, destroyed in V-VI centuries BC by fire;
- The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, built around 351 BC by Greeks, destroyed before 1494 AC by an earthquake;
- The Colossus of Rhodes, built between 292-280 BC Greeks, destroyed in 224 BC by an earthquake;
- The Lighthouse of Alexandria, built around 3rd century BC by Egyptians, destroyed between 1303 and 1480 AC, by an earthquake.
The initial list of Antipater, the Lighthouse of Alexandria was replaced by the walls of Babylon. The above list has been used since the sixth century AC. Among these wonders, the only one that stands today is the Great Pyramid of Giza. The Suspended Gardens’ existence has not yet been proven 100%. The historical records indicate that the other five wonders were destroyed by natural disasters.
The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and the Statue of Zeus at Olympia were destroyed by fire, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus were destroyed by earthquakes. In establishing the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Greeks played an important role. Herodotus traveled to Egypt in 450 BC and said that nowhere in the world you can see so much of one so hard to define greatness.
He exemplifies this claim by saying that the two major Egyptian construction, the pyramids are even higher: the artificial lake of Moeris and the Labyrinth of Fayum. It was built by the Pharaoh Amenemhet III (1842-1798 BC) and it is actually a funerary temple with two levels and 3,000 rooms, corridors, columns and secret entrances.
Herodotus informed about the giant walls of Babylon, 27 meters thick. Although aware of these reports, the two largest buildings were considered wonders of the ancient world, mentioning the five Greek monuments: the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes and Lighthouse of Alexandria, to which were also added the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Suspended Gardens of Semiramid in Babylon.
The Pyramid of Cheops was built somewhere between 2700 and 2500 BC. Location: The Giza Plateau in Egypt, near Cairo. The Great Pyramid was the tallest building in the world for more than 43 centuries, until the ninth century in 1889 when the Eiffel Tower was built. One of the first indications of the existence of the pyramids in Egypt and the description was made by the Greek historian Herodotus in a history book written by him.
Herodotus visited Egypt in 450 BC. Over the centuries, the Great Pyramid has stimulated people’s imagination. They have made speculation that it was built as an astronomical observatory, or it is simply a geometric construction of a long lost civilization. Everyone is certain we are all aware of the fact that there are theories that say that the construction could have been done by extraterrestrial civilizations. Most archaeologists accept the theory that the pyramids of Egypt were not older than some of the tombs of pharaohs.
The Egyptian pyramids are the oldest of “The 7 Wonders of the World” and the only ones that have survived time. Although on the plateau of Giza are 10 pyramids, Keops’ (second king of the Fourth Dynasty) is the largest of them and it is believed that only it was included among the “Wonders of the World.” It is known as the “Great Pyramid” and it was built of 2.3 million stone blocks, each block weighing an average of 2.5 tones. It is 137 meters tall (9 meters of height lost in time) and has sides of 230 meters. The angle of inclination of the sides is 51 degrees and 51 minutes. Each piece is precisely directed to each of the four cardinal points (north, west, south and east).
On the north side is the entrance. In the pyramid were found a series of corridors, galleries and the breathing holes. Pharaoh’s burial chamber is located in the middle, in the heart of the pyramid and is accessible only from the “Great Gallery” reached on an ascending corridor. The walls of this room are made of red granite, and stones were joined so well that they do not even get through a playing card. In the pyramid was also built a burial chamber for the Queen. It is regrettable that both treasure and the mummy of Keops were not found. It is believed to have fallen prey to looters of graves.
As we said, the Great Pyramid of Giza is located on the Giza plateau – the city of Giza, the necropolis of the ancient Memphis, now part of Cairo. This is the only wonder of the world that does not require descriptions of ancient historians or poets. It is the only wonder of the world on which people do not speculate on the shape, size and presentation. It is the oldest and yet the only one that has survived. Contrary to popular belief, only the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Keops), not all three Great Pyramids, is on the list of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
The pyramid faces were covered with polished granite slabs. It was built by Pharaoh Khufu of the Fourth Dynasty around 2560 BC to serve as his tomb. The tradition of the pyramid building started in ancient Egypt as a sophistication of the idea of “mastaba” or “platform” covering the royal tomb. Later they used more “mastaba,” as evidenced by the first pyramid as the Pyramid In Steps of King Zoser (Djoser), built by the famous Egyptian architect, Imhotep.
As Herodotus tells us, its construction lasted more than twenty years, 100,000 people working for its building. The first location was prepared and there was transported blocks of stone. Then it was used for a project outside of the pyramid, the smoothness disappeared over time. Although it is not known exactly how the blocks were placed, there were several theories: one of these theories relate to the construction of a straight or spiral ramp that was raised as the pyramid rises.
This ramp, coated with mud and water, ease of transport blocks pushed (or pulled) into place. Another theory suggests that the blocks were put in place using long levers.
When they conquered Egypt in 641 AC, the Arabs found intact the pyramid and having opened it, looking for the treasure of Khufu, but the sarcophagus was empty. Throughout history, the pyramids of Giza have stimulated human imagination; they called them “granaries of Joseph” or “Mountains of Pharaoh“.
When Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798 when he felt pride was expressed in the famous quote: “Soldats! Du Haut by ces Pyramides, 40 siècles nous contemplent (Soldiers! 40 centuries we look at the top of the pyramid). In recent years they have found three or four rooms, near the burial chamber, one being the royal ship, and the others are in the process of exploration, revealing secrets of the Great Pyramid: the treasure and the mummy of the Pharaoh.
Today, the Great Pyramid is included, along with the other pyramids and the Sphinx, on the tourist region of the Giza Plateau. Also in this area is the museum housing the mysterious Sun Boat, only discovered in 1954 near the south side of the pyramid. This boat is supposed to carry the body of Khufu in his last journey before being buried in the pyramid. It can also be served as a means of transportation in the afterlife, according to ancient Egyptian beliefs.
When it was built, the Great Pyramid was 145.75 m high. Over time, it lost 10 m of the peak. It was covered with polished stone (some will see the top of the pyramid of Khefren). Every part of it is carefully targeted to one of the local compass: north, south, east and west. The perimeter of each horizontal section describes a square pyramid. The maximum error between side lengths is, amazingly, less than 0.1%.
Each block of stone weighing two million in total more than 2 tons. It was suggested that the three pyramids are enough blocks to build a stone wall 30 cm thick and 3 m high that can surround France. The area occupied by the Great Pyramid could swallow St. Peter’s in Rome, the cathedrals of Florence and Milan, and Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedrals in London, all together.
The king’s sarcophagus is made of red granite, as the interior walls of the chamber. Most impressive is the finely polished stone sides over the entrance, over 3 m long, 2.4 m high and 1.3 meters thick inside. All stones match so well that you can not sneak anything between them. The sarcophagus is oriented according to the cardinal directions and is only less than 1 cm into the room. It was probably introduced during construction.
Theories have been proposed concerning the origin and purpose of the pyramids of Giza: astronomical observations or places of worship. Geometric structures constructed by a civilization long gone. Even extraterrestrial-related theories have been proposed without clear evidence. But the overwhelming historical and scientific evidence continues to support the conclusion that the Great Pyramid, and other small pyramids in the region, Egyptian civilization was built on the west bank of the Nile, to serve as tombs of their kings.
They were tombs where Khufu, Khefren and Menkaure could start their mystic journey to the afterlife. Herodotus said that the pyramid was built in 20 years, 7300 days, (Khufu reigned for about 23 years) thus 2.521 million blocks of stone all over 2 tons each were taken on the pyramid in the meantime. That means that if you worked every day all year throughout the period of 20 years, then on average were added per day 345.4 blocks of stone.
If you worked 8 hours a day, then were added 43.2-hour blocks of stone, about a stone more than two tons per minute. If you worked 24 hours a day, which is less likely, then we have added an average of 14.4 stones per hour. But they had cut stones as they were, and brought on site, some from a few hundred kilometers away. The king room was used more stones up to 80 tons each, and probably was not easy for the Egyptians to rise up in the heart of the pyramid 50 meters above ground.
Most stones have in around 2500 pounds, so if you have 20 people crowded around the stone which is on average 127cm x 127cm x 71cm, and each lifted 125 kg, then the 20 persons carrying 125 kg each had to climb stairs to climb 71cm tall stone pyramid. Although there are over 60 pyramids in Egypt, just the three pyramids at Giza are constructed with stones so large.11