The Seven Wonders of the World-Great Pyramid of Giza
November 3, 2006 10:21pm CST
Believed by mainstream Egyptologists to have been constructed in approximately 20 years, the accepted estimate for its date of completion is c. 2560 BC. This date is loosely supported by archaeological findings which have yet to reveal a civilization (of sufficient population size or technical ability) older than the fourth dynasty in the area. The Great Pyramid is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now Cairo, Egypt in Africa. It is the main part of a complex setting of buildings that included two mortuary temples in honor of Khufu (one close to the pyramid and one near the Nile), three smaller pyramids for Khufu's wives, an even smaller "satellite" pyramid, a raised causeway connecting the two temples, and small mastaba tombs surrounding the pyramid for nobles. One of the small pyramids contains the tomb of queen Hetepheres (discovered in 1925), sister and wife of Sneferu and the mother of Khufu. There was a town for the workers of Giza, including a cemetery, bakeries, a beer factory and a copper smelting complex. More buildings and complexes are being discovered by The Giza Mapping Project. A few hundred meters south-west of the Great Pyramid lies the slightly smaller Pyramid of Khafre, one of Khufu's successors who is also commonly considered the builder of the Great Sphinx, and a few hundred metres further south-west is the Pyramid of Menkaure, Khafre's successor, which is about half as tall. In modern day, the pyramid of Khafre is the tallest of the three pyramids since the Great Pyramid has lost about 30 feet of material from its tip. In ancient times, Khufu's pyramid was indeed taller, but even then, Khafre's pyramid appeared taller because its sides are at a steeper angle than Khufu's pyramid and it was constructed on higher ground.