9 Wondrous Facts about the Great Pyramid of Giza
If you want to travel back in time to the days of ancient Egypt, you could simply do that by visiting the Great Pyramid of Giza — it doesn’t only serve as a tomb to Pharaoh Khufu’s remains; but the pyramid also says a lot about life in ancient Egypt.
Due to its gigantic size and towering height, the Great Pyramid is the most outstanding and well-known pyramid amongst the Egyptian pyramids. It’s also the “last wonder standing” in terms of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. The remaining 6 wonders have all disappeared for good, leaving very little to no trace.
Here are nine wondrous facts about the Great Pyramid of Giza, also known as Khufu’s or Cheops’ Pyramid.
The Great Pyramid is as Old as Methuselah
Standing in the city of Giza (a suburb of Cairo), on the west bank of the Egyptian Nile River, the Great Pyramid is full of years. Erected between 2560 & 2540 BCE, the historic monument is over 4000 years-old.
The Pyramid Was Built for the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu
Khufu was the 2nd ruler of the 4th Egyptian Dynasty. In Hellenistic parlance, Khufu is called Cheops. His parents were Sneferu and Hetepheres I. Pharaoh Khufu was the one who initiated the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
He and his wives went into eternal rest inside this necropolis. History is short of detailed information about the Pharaoh’s tenure on the throne, but his Great Pyramid seemed to have perfectly done the job of preserving his name.
READ MORE: 10 Most Famous Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt
Once the Tallest Artificial Structure on the Earth’s Surface
Sometime ago, the Great Pyramid topped all the heights of man-made structures in the world. When it was first commissioned, the pyramid’s peak height was about 481 ft (146 m) — this was the highest structure in the whole globe until the Lincoln Cathedral (initially measuring 525 ft) surpassed it in 1311.
There Was a Swivel Door at the Entrance
The Great Pyramid, by definition, represents the pinnacle of ancient technological endeavors. As old as the era might seem, the ancient Egyptians did show that they had their hands on wonderful technology. One amazing historical fact about the Great Pyramid could be seen in the swivel door entrance that it boasted of in the distant past.
The door was as big as Goliath (it weighed about 20 tonnes). Surprisingly, it could be opened easily from the pyramid’s interior by a push. However, opening it from the outside was an absolute daunting task — the reason being that it fitted neatly from the outside, so it was barely noticeable.
It’s Virtually Impossible for Us to Replicate the Pyramid
Even though we have come of age technologically, we are most likely going to fail woefully if we attempt to reconstruct a replica of the Great Pyramid. The point is that, we simply lack the technology to do it excellently like the great Egyptian architects did.
This raises awareness of the nothingness of our modernity. If we want to be honest, then we must admit that we don’t still fully understand how the ancient Egyptians managed to put up such massive monuments, with stunning precision. Archeologists have done all the necessary studies on the pyramids, but it looks like we still have a long way to go.
An Unimaginable Number of Laborers Built the Structure
Judging from the sheer astronomical size of the pyramid, historians and archeologists have predicted that it took a great deal of manpower to put up such a splendid pyramid. For it to have such a great strength outliving civilizations after civilizations, the technical know-how of the builders was also on point.
Limestone was used to cover the pyramid right after its construction, but perennial erosion has eaten away the white limestone. Contrary to what many people would think, the labor force of the pyramids may not have been slaves or prisoners; they were well-fed thousands of employed workers who (according to estimates) may have laid 2.5-15 ton stone blocks per 2.5 minutes, in order to finish building the pyramid within 30 years.
The Great Pyramid is One of three Pyramids
Egyptian pharaohs lived their lives with high hopes that when they died, they would become gods. To prepare beforehand for the afterlife, some pharaohs had pyramids built for their comfort.
While Khufu started work on the Great Pyramid, his son Khafre also erected a smaller pyramid near his father’s tower — the Sphinx is part of Khafre’s tomb’s properties. The third pyramid is the smallest of the Giza pyramids; it was built by Pharaoh Menkaure somewhere in 2490 BC. Each pyramid is a tomb stocked with precious items. The pyramid complex has causeways, temples, solar boats, and many awesome features.
Grave Looters Ransacked the Great Pyramid
In the olden days, the pyramid site wasn’t a no-go area for thieves. History says that, thieves posed a big challenge to the pyramid architects, so they sought ways to protect the tomb’s treasures. Each new security solution introduced by the architects was outsmarted by the daring thieves.
In defiance of the granite-blocked passageways, hidden chambers, and other security features, thieves managed to ransack all the Giza pyramids. In 820 AD, an Arabian caliph by name Abdullah Al Manu sought to remove treasures from the Great Pyramid by sending a crew of workers to dig through the walls of the pyramid. Even though they found no hidden treasure, they discovered some secret interior rooms known as the Queen’s Chamber and the King’s Chamber.
The Machines Used to Carry the Heavy Stones Blocks Are Still a Mystery
It has been estimated that about 2.3 million building blocks of stone went into the construction of the Great Pyramid. However, the question of what machines were used to move the heavy stones from the quarry site still baffles us today.
However, most Egyptologists hold the view that the stones were ferried up on sloping ramps by using ropes. The ramps served as transportation ways; they were made of mortar, stone, and wood.