After a morning at the pyramids under my own steam found the experience a bit boring. What you’ll find are four lumps of rock separated by a few hundred yards of desert and the Sphinx and the bottom.
This did little to satisfy my curiosity as to how the pyramids came about.
Come lunch time, I returned to Mena House and hired a tour guide from reception. This would take me through how they came into existence and in turn I can pass some of this on to you.
The site of the Pyramids
There are 2 sites at Giza, the main one and Saqqara.
Saqqara Located slightly outside of town. Took a taxi down.
This style of step Pyramid came into existence around 2,600 BC and is based on a mastaba, (mausoleum), construction in a progressive step, each step of diminishing size. This gave early builders the chance to move progressively to the pyramids we know today.
Saqqara – First Democracy
Early courtiers were called to watch the first elections in which the King had to prove he was fit to govern, first by running to and fro across the courtyard 30 times, then requesting the gods that they permit his continued reign. If he failed either of these tests he would not be fit to reign.
Since the gods rarely objected, maintaining power was just a question of proving you were of sound body once in a while.
The temple here was designed by the ancient architect, Imhotep. In terms of artistic development, the styles of the temple imitate those present in nature, which would be familiar, for example; palm branches for ceiling, papyrus for columns. This gives the architecture of feeling of opulence through attaching and bettering natures building materials.
Great Pyramid – Giza
There are 3 main Pyramids at Giza belonging to the 4th Dynasty.
They come in three sizes:
Cheops – 187m
Khafre – 183m
Menkaure – 68m
The pyramids were the worlds tallest structure until the Lincoln Cathedral was built in 1300.
Howard Carter was sent to explore the pyramids in 1907, at which point most of them had already been looted.
The Sphinx stands at the entrance to the great pyramids and represents a guardian for the the dead kings. It is said that the Thutmosis IV of the 18th Dynasty had a dream of the sphinx telling him to uncover the part-buried structure, and he would be king.
As legend has it, he undertook to remove the desert sand from the structure, and some years later, was crowned King.
The Pyramids are the oldest stone structures in the world.
After the 4th dynasty, pyramid building became less.