The Pyramids of Giza, which happens to be one of the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is estimated to stand 481 feet tall, equivalent to a contemporary 48-story building and are renowned as the largest pyramid ever built. Standing on the northern edge of the Giza Plateau, at a distance of 10 miles west of Cairo, its earliest mention is found in the memoirs of the Greek historian and traveller Herodotus of Halicarnassus. It was commissioned as a tomb for the fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu to protect his body as well as his possessions after his demise. Most historians agree that Khufu’s vizier, Hemon, was the architect of the Great Pyramid.
When Khufu ascended the throne, after the death of Sneferu, there was no space at Dahshur, for Khufu’s own, rather ambitious pyramid complex. Moreover, he desired a location overlooking the Nile Valley for his towering tomb, which he found at Giza. The Great Pyramid is the centrepiece of an elaborate complex. Right next lay three smaller pyramids which are believed to hold the Pharaoh’s queens. It had maintained its position as the tallest man-made structure in the world for 3800 years.
The Pyramids, as tourists explore them today are different from what was envisioned and created originally. The pyramid itself was encased in a highly polished white limestone with a smooth surface which no longer exists. A capstone at the top is also now missing. Originally, the pyramid was covered with casing stones, which reflected the sun’s light and made the pyramid shine. The light reflected would be so powerful that, the ancient Egyptians aptly nicknamed the Great Pyramid “Ikhet”, meaning the “Glorious Light”.
The best way to reach the Pyramids of Giza is to either hire a private taxi or hop on to a bus from the capital city of Cairo. Being a popular tourist attraction in the world, visitors are advised to keep an eye out for guides, salesmen etc. who might lure and fool you. Apart from that, enjoy the breathtaking canvas that the Pyramids have to offer you.
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