Great Pyramid of Giza

The Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the most famous pyramid in the world, served as a tomb for the 4th dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu (also known under his Greek name Cheops).

The estimated date of its completion is 2570 BC and it is the earliest and largest of the three great pyramids in the Giza necropolis on the outskirts of modern Cairo, Egypt.

Table of contents
1 Description
2 Construction
3 Paranormal interest and encoded numbers
4 See also
5 External Links

Description

South-west of Khufu's Great Pyramid lies the pyramid of Khafre, one of Khufu's successors who also built the Sphinx, and further south-west there's the pyramid of Menkaure, Khafre's successor. Both of these are smaller than Khufu's pyramid, even though Khafre's appears taller on some photographs as it is somewhat steeper and built on higher terrain.

The Great Pyramid is 137 metress (481 feet) tall, covering more than 5.5 hectares (13.5 acres) at the base, which is a square of over 235 metres (775 feet) on each side. For over 4000 years it was the tallest man-made structure in the world, being taken over by the 143 metres tall minster of Strasbourg in 1439. The accuracy of work is such that the four sides of the base have only a mean error of 0.6 inch in length and 12 seconds in angle from a perfect square. The sides of the square are aligned quite precisely in North-South respectively East-West direction. The sides of the pyramid rise at an angle of 51 degrees and 51 minutes.

The pyramid was constructed of limestone, basalt, and granite stones from two to four tonnes in weight each, adding up to a total estimated weight of some 7 million tonnes, and a volume of 2,600,600 cubic metress. It is the largest Egyptian pyramid. (The Great Pyramid of Cholula, in Mexico is larger in volume.) When originally built, the pyramid had inset facing blocks of polished limestone, creating smooth sides; they have since fallen out, or been recycled for other building projects, leaving the underlying step-pyramid structure visible. (The smooth outer cover is still visible at the very top of Khafre's pyramid.)

The great pyramid differs in its internal arrangement from the other pyramids in the area. The greater number of passages and chambers, the high finish of parts of the work, and the accuracy of construction all distinguish it. The chamber which is most normal in its situation is the subterranean chamber; but this is quite unfinished, hardly more than begun. The upper chambers, called the king's and queen's, were completely hidden, the ascending passage to them having been closed by plugging blocks, which concealed the point where it branched upwards out of the roof of the long descending passage. Another passage, which in its turn branches from the ascending passage to the queen's chamber, was also completely blocked up. The object of having two highly-finished chambers in the mass may have been to receive the king and his co-regent (of whom there is some historical evidence), and there is very credible testimony to a sarcophagus having existed in the queen's chamber, as well as in the king's chamber.

On September 18, 2002, archaeologists used a remote-controlled robot to access a hitherto sealed chamber within the pyramid: the robot drilled a hole in a long-sealed door and poked a fiber-optic camera through. Unfortunately, all that was revealed was another closed door.

Since the pyramids were built, they have moved 4 kilometers south, due to the movement of the Earth's crust.

Construction

From surviving drawings etched in stone, including some attributed to workers on break, certain ideas about the construction of the Great Pyramid have emerged.

A comparatively small number of permanently employed, highly qualified and well-paid workers was augmented by large numbers of peasants from all over the empire who were conscripted during the flood period, when no agriculture was possible anyway. Construction took some 20 years.

The stone blocks were cut in a quarry nearby. They were moved with human power, drawn and pushed on sleds sliding on stone ramps which were made slippery with water. A stone ramp rose along the side of the growing pyramid; later this ramp would spiral around to the top. The most precisely cut stones were reserved for the outside. Once in place their corners were smoothened to give an almost shiny outer appearance of the pyramid.

Paranormal interest and encoded numbers

As a structure of impressive construction and mystery, the great pyramid has attracted the attention of occultists (as have many other aspects of ancient Egyptian culture). The great pyramid and the Sphinx are often alleged to have been built with mysterious ancient forces rather than human labor and/or by Atlanteans, extraterrestrials, or other mysterious creators.

It has been alleged that the dimensions and details, properly interpreted, provide prophecies of events in modern times. This theory was first proposed in the 1800s by John Taylor, who believed the pyramid had actually been constructed by the biblical Noah. Charles Piazzi Smyth, the Astronomer Royal of Scotland, later elaborated in his book Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid. No scientific evidence has been found to support these allegations to date. Edgar Cayce was apparently sympathetic to the idea, though his convoluted language makes it difficult to be certain.

Some of those who have examined the great pyramid have made speculations regarding the ratios amongst the dimensions and angles present in the structure; one popular assertion is that the ratio of the pyramid's perimeter to its height times two (P / 2*H) gives a close approximation of the mathematical value Pi. The great pyramid is peculiar in this respect, as it is one of the few pyramids to have the necessary slope to express such a ratio, but variations in the accuracy of measurement, combined with the deterioriating condition of the structure, make such a claim difficult to verify.

Smyth also claimed that the measurements he obtained from the great pyramid indicate a unit of length, the pyramid inch, equivalent to roughly 1.01 British inches, that could have been the standard of measurement by the pyramid's architects. From this he extrapolated a number of other measurements, including the pyramid pint, the sacred cubit, and the pyramid scale of temperature. These derivations are frequently regarded by skeptics as having no scientific merit, and of being merely an artificial device for attributing numerical significance to the great pyramid's dimensions.

See also

      



External Links




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