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The Great Pyramid of Giza, also known as the Pyramid of Khufu, was an incredible architectural achievement of the time and is a part of the three-pyramid structures of the Giza Pyramid Complex. The construction of the pyramid started in 2680 BC and was completed in 2560 BC during the 4th dynasty rule of Egyptian pharaoh Khufu.
The Khufu Pyramid was built using limestone blocks, and at present, there are more than 2.5 million pieces of limestone blocks keeping the structure intact. The weight of these blocks is believed to be more than 6.5 million tons.
With a height of 147 m, the Great Pyramid of Giza remained the tallest structure in the world for more than 3800 years till the time Lincoln Cathedral's spire soared 160 m into the air. No other structure has held the record for the world's tallest structure for such a long time.
- The construction of the pyramid was completed in around two decades.
- More than 100,000 workers used to work daily to complete the construction of the structure.
- The Pyramid of Giza is the only intact structure among the seven wonders of the ancient world.
- All the pyramids in the complex are perfectly aligned with the constellation of Orion (i.e., they are aligned to the stars).
- In ancient times, the pyramids used to reflect the sunlight because of the highly reflective nature of limestone. They were known as the glorious light structure in the world.
Geology of the Site
The following points describe the geology of pyramids located at the Giza plateau:
- The pyramids were constructed on the Giza plateau, connected to Moqattam hill on one side and the Nile river on the other side.
- The highest level of the Moqattam hill is presently at +200 m.
- The highest level of the Giza plateau probably had a level speculatively near the Moqattam surface level, for example, + 200 m or somewhere in the vicinity.
- The Giza plateau geology and the Moqattam hill were made out of a cretaceous nucleolus during an iocenean development.
- The iocenean development of the site was fundamentally made out of two layers, a lower and a higher layer. The lower layer is denser and more homogeneous than the higher layer.
- The geological formations were developed due to the sediment transportation from the late upper cretaceous and resulted in a solid cap exposed on the surface.
- During the geological cycle of formation, the site was framed as a sloped height alongside the convexness of the valleys by keeping the horizontal axis running from the western south toward the eastern north.
- The axis connecting the center of gravity of three major pyramids coincides with the horizontal axis formed due to the geological cycle. This explains the transportation route of the material from the Moqattam hill to the Giza plateau.
- The pyramids of Giza were formed from the limestone blocks brought to the site from the Moqattam hill.
History and Construction Features of the Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza, built to endure forever, did exactly that. Archaeological tombs are remnants of the Old Kingdom of Egypt and were built about 4500 years ago.
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the biggest and most well-known pyramid on the planet. It was constructed to honor a few pharaohs of the 4th dynasty of Egypt during the old kingdom period. The old kingdom was the period during which the civilization developed in Egypt and it lasted from 2686 to 2181 BC.
The 4th dynasty of the old kingdom (around 2575–2465 BC) constructed pyramids on a rocky plateau, known as the Giza plateau. The antique structures of the old kingdom regime, including the Pyramids of Giza, Abu Rawash, Saqqara, and Dahshuor were recognized as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage site in 1979.
The limestone blocks of the Khufu pyramid were enormous in size in the lower layers. The size of the base blocks is 1.0 m × 2.5 m and the height is 1.0-1.5 m with an average weight of 6.5-10 tons. For the upper layers, the dimension is 1.0 m × 1.0 m × 0.5 m and the average weight is 2-3 tons.
The Egyptologists used 2.5 tons as an average weight for most of the block and brought around 8000 tons of limestone from Aswan located at a distance of more than 800 km away. The biggest limestone block in the pyramid was put above the king's chamber. The weight of this block is around 80 tons. Around 500,000 tons of mortar were utilized in building the incredible Khufu pyramid.
The casing stones and inner chamber stones were placed with incredibly high accuracy. Researchers conducted an experiment and found that the average joint gap between the blocks is 0.5 mm only. The Khufu pyramid was constructed with three chambers. The lowermost chamber was cut into the bedrock, whereupon the pyramid was assembled. The middle chamber was constructed for the queen and the topmost chamber was constructed for the king, known as the queen’s and king's chamber.
The mass of the pyramid is assessed at 5.9 million tons, which implies that 800 tons of rock must have been consistently laid on every day. The base is even and leveled within 21 mm. In contrast, the sides of the square base are firmly adjusted to the four cardinal compass points dependent on the true north meridian. The completed base is squared to a mean corner error of just 12 seconds of a circular segment.
The Khufu pyramid at Giza is the only pyramid in Egypt known to include both descending and ascending routes. Initially, the Khufu pyramid was furnished with a stone cladding that framed a smooth external surface; what is seen today is the basic central structure. The cladding can be seen around the top chamber of the Khufu pyramid.
Can We Build the Great Pyramid Today?
If we consider the current scenario, we will be unable to construct the pyramid the way the Egyptians did. There are certain factors behind this reasoning, such as the cost of construction, which would be very high in today’s world. Although we can think of constructing the concrete pyramid, it would still require 200 million concrete cubes. In the past, we have constructed a project of such a scale in the form of the Hoover Dam.
We will have to first build a concrete production plant at the site that can produce and deliver an endless stream of concrete. Keeping in view the factors, such as labor, planning and designing, materials, and other essential project requirements, the overall cost of the project would be at least USD 400 million.
But the main question is who needs a concrete pyramid? The pyramids were created by skillful artisans who exhausted billions of man-hours on the project and the outcome was a masterpiece and a mind-blowing accomplishment of planning and designing that would be one of the defining achievements in the history of mankind. The Great Pyramid was built to last forever; as the old saying goes, "the pyramids don't fear time; time fears the pyramids."
The construction of the pyramid was completed in around two decades.
More than 100,000 workers worked daily to complete the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The Pyramids of Giza is the only intact structure among the seven wonders of the ancient world.
In ancient times, the pyramids used to reflect the sunlight because of the highly reflective nature of limestone. They were known as the glorious light structure in the world.
The Khufu pyramid, located in Giza, is the tallest pyramid in the world.
The Khufu pyramid is the biggest pyramid in the world and is around 147 m high above the ground level.
The construction of the Khufu pyramids started around 2550 BC.
The Khufu pyramid was constructed with approximately 2.3 million limestone blocks. The weight of each block was between 5 to 15 tons.