The Greatest Pyramids, Temples, and Obelisks of Ancient Egypt

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The Greatest Pyramids, Temples, and Obelisks of Ancient Egypt
Anthony Ambrosius Aurelius

“The Step Pyramid of Djoser (pronounced “joe-zir”) represents the first major building comprised of stone in human history. The pyramid itself is nearly 5000 years old and was built by the architect Imhotep (pronounced “eem-oh-tep”). Before the Step Pyramid of Djoser, Egypt’s pharaohs had been buried simply, in small, single story mud-brick tombs referred to as “mastabas”, an Arabic term which means “bench” as each layer of the Step Pyramid of Djoser appeared as a bench, becoming increasingly smaller as each bench was stacked atop one another. Mastabas were built as steps because it was believed that after death, the soul would want to climb to the heavens to reach the afterlife.

The mummified body of Djoser was not buried inside his mastaba, instead he was buried underneath it. A shaft was found in Djoser’s mastaba which went 28 meters deep and at the bottom a sarcophagus was found which weighed 40 tonnes. Architect Imhotep was able to perform the lowering of the sarcophagus without modern technology by cutting 2 shafts following the main shaft and connecting them from the bottom. The main shaft was filled with sand and the sarcophagus, then the sand was brought out by the two side shafts which lowered the sarcophagus slowly and gently as sand was removed further and further. It is speculated by experts that it took 20 years to build the pyramid of Djoser.

The Great Pyramid of Giza is over 4500 years old, built for the pharaoh Khufu (pronounced “kuu- fuu”) who is colloquially known as “Cheops” (pronounced “key-ops”) in Greek. The Great Pyramid stands next to another slightly smaller Great Pyramid which was built for Khufu’s son Khafre, (pronounced “kaff-ray”) known as “Chephren” (pronounced “keff-ren”) in Greek. A third Great Pyramid, slightly smaller than both neighboring pyramids was built for Khufu’s grandson Menkaure, (pronounced “men-car-ah”) also known as “Mycerinus” (pronounced “mai-sair-eh-nus”) in Greek, the son of Khafre.

In winter, the River Nile floods all of Egypt and because the majority of Egyptians during this period were farmers, it provided them with ample time to build the pyramids because aside from construction, no work was available.”

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