Among all the imagery of ancient Egypt, there are many iconic symbols. However, few are as massive as the Pyramids of Giza – these great limestone monoliths pierce through the desert landscape, a trio so instantly impressive they are counted among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
WHO BUILT THE PYRAMIDS AT GIZA?
Evidence shows that the workers who built the Pyramids at Giza were considered civil servants for their work on the structures. Of course, the work wasn’t done for free – these laborers enjoyed special privileges for their service. They were fed high-protein diets that would have been the envy of many common people across Egypt. They also had access to high quality medical care, a necessity given the intense labor required to build the pyramids!
WHO WERE THE PYRAMIDS AT GIZA BUILT FOR?
Each of the three Pyramids at Giza were constructed during the 4th dynasty of Egypt’s Old Kingdom era. This era lasted from approximately 2,575 B.C. until 2,465 B.C., dating the oldest of the Pyramids at nearly 4,600 years old!
All three Pyramids of Giza were ordered to be built by pharaohs from the same family. The first was ordered to be built by King Khufu around 2,550 B.C. His would end up being the largest of the three, measuring 481 feet high at the time of its construction and earning it the nickname of “the Great Pyramid”.
After Khufu passed, his son Redjedef took the throne and began constructing his own pyramid. Redjedef’s pyramid was never completed and after his reign his brother Khafre, another son of Khufu, took the throne and ordered the construction of the second Pyramid at Giza. Khafre’s pyramid appeared taller than his father’s, but it actually measures 10 feet shorter than Khufu’s. The extra height came from the fact it was built on higher ground. The final pyramid was built by Khufu’s grandson and Khafre’s son, King Menkaure, and is the shortest of the three standing at 213 feet high.
WHAT WERE THE PYRAMIDS BUILT FOR?
Death was not the end of a person’s existence for ancient Egyptians – they believed in an afterlife for all people, especially their pharaohs! When a person died, they needed supplies for their journey to the afterlife, and these supplies would be buried with them. Pharaohs required ample space to store their belongings and security to ensure they were not stolen. As a result, many ancient Egyptian kings constructed pyramids to house their deceased bodies!
WAS KING TUT’S TOMB FOUND IN A PYRAMID?
During the period when King Tut ruled Egypt, royal tombs were typically cut deep into rock rather than in pyramids. King Tut’s burial place is considered by experts to be small for a pharaoh, even a minor one like the boy king. It is believed that because his death was so sudden his burial was rushed, and his body and treasures were housed in a tomb that had already been completed. Although the structure may not look as grand as pyramids, it had the benefit of keeping his tomb hidden for centuries. When the tomb was discovered, it was almost entirely intact!