Tuesday 12 May 2015

Egyptian History Part 7


The ancient Egyptians built pyramids as tombs for the pharaohs and their queens. As part of their religion, the Egyptians believed that the Pharaoh needed certain things to succeed in the afterlife. Deep inside the pyramid the Pharaoh would be buried with all sorts of items and treasure that he may need to survive in the afterlife.

There are about eighty pyramids known today from ancient Egypt. The three largest and best-preserved of these were built at Giza. Pyramids were huge structures. They had storage rooms, courtyards, secret passageways, and all kinds of fancy traps designed to catch robbers who tried to break into the pyramid to rob it of its treasure.

The ancient Egyptians did not simply build a pyramid, bury a pharaoh, and walk away. A whole city grew up around a pyramid during its construction. These cities were called pyramid cities.

The pharaoh provided homes for everyone who worked on the pyramid construction. People were paid for their work in goods and food and homes.

The pyramids of Egypt are all built to the west of the Nile River. This is because the western side was associated with the land of the dead.

Pyramid of Djoser (Egypt First Pyramid)

Pharaoh Djoser’s Step Pyramid at Saqqara began as a traditional, flat-roofed mastaba (an ancient Egyptian tomb consisting of an underground burial chamber with rooms above it (at ground level) to store offerings). But by the end of his 19 year reign in 2611 B.C., it had risen to six stepped layers and stood 204 feet (62 meters) high. It was the largest building of its time.

Pyramid of Djoser or Step Pyramid

The Pyramid of Giza

Three of the largest and best-preserved pyramids from ancient Egypt were built Giza, a town located near Cairo in Northern Egypt. The most well-known of the three large stone pyramids built during the fourth dynasty was for Pharaoh Khufu. It is known as the Great Pyramid; the largest in Giza and towers some 481 feet (147 meters) above the ground. Its estimated 2.3 million stone blocks each weigh an average of 2.5 to 15 tons.

All three of Giza's famed pyramids and their elaborate burial complexes were built during a frenetic period of construction, from roughly 2550 to 2490 B.C. The pyramids were built by Pharaohs Khufu (tallest), Khafre (background), and Menkaure (front).

The Great Sphinx of Giza

The Great Sphinx of Giza is believed to be one of the first Egyptian Sphinxes ever built. It is chiseled from a natural outcrop of limestone. Rather than take the stone away, the Ancient Egyptians very cleverly carved it to represent Khafre’s (an ancient Egyptian king of 4th dynasty) head on a lion’s body, symbolising the power of the pharaoh. The rock from around the Sphinx is thought to have been made into blocks to build the pyramids.

Great Sphinx of Giza

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