12 Lesser Known Facts About the Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza are one of Egypt's top attractions. Located in the Giza Necropolis, the pyramids are part of a cluster of ancient monuments that include the Great Pyramid, the Great Sphinx, and more. For thousands of years, they were the tallest man-made structures in the world. Today, they are both a UNESCO Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Here are 12 facts on the Pyramids of Giza that you cannot miss.
Pyramids of Giza Overview
Pyramids of Giza Facts
1. The Pyramids are Located Just Outside Giza in Egypt
Many pictures make it look like the Pyramids of Giza are located in the middle of the desert, but, that isn’t the case. They sit on the Giza Plateau, on the eastern outskirts of the town of Giza which is the third-largest city in Egypt and is located on the western bank of the river Nile.
2. They are the Only Remaining Wonder of the Ancient World
The Pyramids of Giza are the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and also the only one that still remains today. These wonders once included the Colossus of Rhodes, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Statue of Zeus at Olympia.
3. There are Many Other Pyramids in Egypt
While the Pyramids of Giza are famous, they are not the only pyramids to visit in Egypt. There are over 130 other pyramids to discover in Egypt. In fact, just on the Giza Plateau, you will find a total of nine pyramids. Others include the Bent Pyramid, the Red Pyramid, the Pyramid of Unas, and so on.
4. The Pyramids of Giza Weren’t the First to be Built
Although the Pyramids of Giza are very old, they were not the first to be built. It is believed that the Step Pyramid of Dsojer in Saqqara, built around 2630 BC is the oldest pyramid in the world. The Great Pyramid of Giza was constructed around 2560 BC, which is 70 years after the Pyramid of Dsojer.
5. The Pyramids of Giza Have Been Looted By Grave Robbers
Over the years, the Pyramids of Giza have been looted several times, like many other royal tombs. Since it was known that the pharaohs were buried with gold and jewels, grave robbing was quite common in ancient Egypt. As a result, it’s believed that the pyramids were looted within 500 years of being completed and sealed.
6. The Great Pyramid’s Sides are Aligned to the Cardinal Directions
The sides and base of the Great Pyramid of Khufu are also aligned to the four cardinal directions (North, South, East, and West). We don’t quite know how the ancient Egyptians achieved this level of accuracy, but it is possible that they based this on the sun and the stars.
7. Thousands of People Helped Build the Pyramids of Giza
Discoveries made at the Giza worker’s village show that a permanent workforce of about 20,000-40,000 people helped build the Pyramids of Giza. This included engineers, architects, builders, stonemasons, laborers, and more. Most of them lived nearby and worked hard to build the pyramid for daily wages and food.
8. The Great Pyramid Has Over 2 Million Blocks of Stone
Over 2.3 million blocks of stone were used in the construction of the Great Pyramid of Khufu. This included 5.5 million tonnes of limestone and 8,000 tonnes of granite Each stone weighed around 25 to 80 tonnes and they were either quarried at Giza or transported by boat from far away sites like Tura and Aswan.
9. All Three Pyramids Were Once Covered in White Limestone
The three Pyramids of Giza were once covered with a white polished limestone casing that would reflect the sun’s rays. However, over the years, these limestone casings have disappeared due to earthquakes or being used to build other structures. But, you can still see a bit of the original casing at the very top of the Pyramid of Khafre.
10. The Pyramids Have Shrunk Over the Years
As a result of being stripped of their outer casings and thousands of years of erosion, pyramids are much shorter than their original heights. The Great Pyramid of Khufu, which was originally 481 feet high, is now only 455 feet tall. The Pyramid of Khafre was once 471 feet high but now stands at 448 feet. And, the smallest of the pyramids, that of Menkaure was 218 feet tall and now measures 203 feet.
11. All the Pyramids Have a Large Funeral Complex
The three pyramids of the pharaohs are surrounded by several structures. Each has several satellite pyramids, where the Queens were buried, a valley temple where the pharaoh was prepared for burial, and a mortuary temple where priests worshipped the deceased pharaohs. The pyramids are also surrounded by mastabas and cemeteries where the king’s officials and relatives were buried.
12. They Became a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Pyramids of Giza were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979, along with the other ancient monuments of the Memphis area. The ancient city of Memphis was the capital of Egypt for over 3,000 years. It includes many ancient cemeteries in its area, including the Giza Necropolis, Saqqara, and Dahshur.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pyramids of Giza Facts
A. The pyramids of Giza were built by the three ancient Egyptian kings of the fourth dynasty - Khufu, Menkaure, and Khafre.
A. The Pyramids of Giza are one of the most recognizable and enduring monuments of ancient Egypt, and one of the oldest and grandest man-made structures in the world. They were built over 4500 years ago, and are still standing tall after all these years.
A. The Pyramids of Giza are located at the Giza Necropolis, Al Haram Street, Giza Governorate, Egypt.
A. Out of the three Pyramids of Giza, the oldest pyramid is the Great Pyramid. It was built in 2600 BC, which makes it about 4,500 years old.
A. The Great Pyramid of Giza is 451.4 feet tall; the Pyramid of Khafre is 448 feet high, and the height of the pyramid of Menkaure is 203 feet.
A. Pyramids are tombs for the Pharaohs that are large complexes with many chambers and rooms. Inside the Pyramids of Giza, you will find burial tombs, temples, King’s chambers, and more to explore.
A. Yes, visitors can enter all the three Pyramids of Giza, as well as a number of the Queen’s Pyramids. However, you might need to purchase additional tickets to gain entry.
A. Yes, the pyramids are open seven days a week from 8 AM - 5 PM in the summer and 8 AM - 4 PM in the winter.