Travel trends keep changing with time; new travel destinations crop up on the tourism map every now and then. But there are some places that receive a steady influx of tourists every year; irrespective of the time and the trend. One such destination that has remained the hot favorite of globetrotters across the world is Egypt and its majestic Pyramids. Read on to know the story and some interesting facts behind the revered world wonder.
How old are they?
The Great Pyramid of Giza was constructed between 2580 – 2560 and the other famed Pyramids are also believed to be constructed around this time. Going by this fact, Pyramids are approximately 4579 years old.
Who built the Pyramids?
The Egyptian Pyramids were built as tombs for the pharaohs and their consorts. Since the ancient Egyptians believed in the afterlife, the Pharaohs built these extravagant tombs for themselves during their reign. The Great Pyramid of Giza was built by Pharaoh Khufu, the Pyramid of Djoser was built by Pharaoh Djoser, and similarly, the construction of all other Egyptian Pyramids were commissioned by eminent Egyptian rulers.
How was it built?
The megalithic Pyramids were built using limestone, real muscle power and precise engineering. Although the construction materials used were simple, the Egyptian builders employed some very innovative building techniques. High-grade limestones were procured from Giza plateau and transported across the Nile on huge vessels. The stones were later carved and chiseled so that they will perfectly stay together without the usage of mortar. The massive limestone blocks were heaved up using humongous ramps.
Creation of Pyramid like structure would be challenging even now, with modern construction techniques. The fact that Egyptians managed to build not one, but numerous sturdy Pyramids is beyond everyone’s comprehension and still astounds everyone.
How big are they?
In Egypt, the height of the Pyramids ranges between 213 feet to 481 feet. The Great Pyramid of Giza, which soars to the sky at a height of 481 feet, was the tallest man-made structure on Earth and it remained so for 3,800 years.
Why were they built?
The Egyptians believed in the afterlife and in the Eternity of the soul. According to their belief, the soul leaves the body briefly after death and it returns back once the body was buried. The mummification was done to let the soul return to the body effortlessly and remain there forever. The Pyramids were built on a grand scale as it is the resting place of Pharaohs, where they would live eternally. Therefore the tombs were built solidly to endure the test of time and to last forever.
The Pharaoh’s death is tied to the movement of the Sun and the legend of ‘Horus and Osiris’. When the Pharaoh is alive, he represents Osiris and when he dies, his life retreats to the other world just like the sun disappears at the dusk. The next day, Pharaoh’s successor would raise the Sun, in the image of his father. This was another reason for the Pharaoh’s body to be protected in the Pyramids, to avoid cosmic disturbances.
What is inside the Pyramids?
The Pyramids are primarily tombs, so they mainly have a burial chamber inside. The Pharaoh’s mummified body was buried along with many other artifacts. Ancient Egyptians buried food, clothing, furniture, and other everyday items along with the body so that the deceased could use it during his/her afterlife.
They also used magic spells, funerary texts and protective amulets to provide help and protection to the dead bodies from evil and human infiltrators. A special mask was put on the face of the mummified body to provide strength to the spirit of the deceased and guard it during the journey to the afterlife. The mask was also intended to help the spirit recognize the body when it makes a comeback after death.
What is the relevance of the location of Pyramids?
In Egypt, all the Pyramids are built along the West Bank of the Nile River where the Sun sets. The Egyptians believed that the spirits belong in the West. Also, it was convenient for the laborers to transport building material through the Nile River.
The fascinating stories and facts around the Pyramids go on and on. More than the engineering marvel of these colossal structures, it is the vision and might of the Egyptians that inspire and engross the tourists.