Pyramids of Giza

Looking towards Cairo from the beyond the pyramids creates a pretty good view. Towards the right of the photo we can see the start of the Sahara Desert.

At Giza are three giant-size pyramids, and numerous smaller ones. The biggest of the three is the Pyramid of Khufu, also known as the Great Pyramid or the Pyramid of Cheops. This is the Pyramid on the left hand side of the photo above

In the middle a few hundred metres to its southwest is the Pyramid of Khafre, or Chephren, who is one of Khufu’s successors. The Pyramid of Khafre is the one with the Sphinx a short distance in front of it, and often appears in photographs with the Sphinx, which according to Egyptologists, was modelled after the Pharoah Khafre. It is often thought to be the largest of the pyramids, but it is not. Its large appearance is due in part to its position on a higher elevation.

A few hundred metres to the southwest of the Pyramid of Khafre is that of his successor, the Pharoah Menkaure. The Pyramid of Menkaure is the smallest of the three great pyramids. This is the one in the centre of the photo.

The three pyramids are lined up diagonally in a row, with the Pyramid of Menkaure slightly out of the alignment. Arrayed beside them are smaller satellite pyramids built for the queens.

The biggest as well as oldest of the three major pyramids is the Pyramid of Khufu. It is 230.4m (755.8ft) wide on each side, and has a current height of 138m. When it was built, it was 146.8 m tall (480.9ft) but erosion and theft of its topmost stone has somewhat reduced its height. It rises at an angle of 51 deg 50′ 40″.

The Pyramid of Khufu was built over a 20-year period, completed around 2560 BC. It entombs the Fourth dynasty pharoah Khufu. Also constructed with the pyramid were two mortuary temples in honour of Khufu. One of these is close to the pyramid while another near the Nile. A causeway links them as well as the three smaller pyramids for the pharoah’s wife, boat pits, and tombs for the nobles.

The Pyramid of Khafre has a width of 215m (715ft) on each side. The pyramid rises at an angle of 53 deg 10′, making it steeper than Khufu’s pyramid. It reaches a height of 143.5m (471ft). It sits on bedrock 10m (33ft) higher than the Pyramid of Khufu, making it look taller.

The Pyramid of Menkaure has a base of 105m (344ft) on each side. Constructed of limestone and granite, it rises to a height of 62m (203ft) from an original height of 65.5m (215ft).

For more information about the Pyramids of Giza

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