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Topic – Ancient Egypt: Egyptian Pyramids

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Egyptian Pyramids

A pyramid is a structure with a square base and four sides that are shaped like triangles. The most famous pyramids ever were built by ancient Egyptians around 4,000 years ago.

The Great Pyramid

The Great Pyramid of Giza

The best-known pyramid is the Great Pyramid of Giza. When it was built back around 2560 BCE, it was 146.5 metres tall, or almost as tall as a 50-storey building. That made it the tallest building in the world and it held that record for more than 3,800 years. 

Thousands of workers cut and polished the stones. It took thousands of strong labourers to push the stones up ramps, then thousands more to put them in place. Scientists estimate at least 20,000 workers worked for more than 23 years to build the Great Pyramid of Giza. Experts still wonder how ancient peoples were able to build such huge structures.

Deep Inside

Luxor, Egypt – Tomb in the Valley of the Kings

Egyptians built the pyramids as burials places and monuments for their rulers, who were called pharaohs. These ancient peoples believed the pharaohs would need certain things to be successful in the afterlife. So, deep inside the pyramid were many chambers and passages that held everything they would need.

The pharaoh was buried with everyday items, such as plates and cutlery, as well as jewellery and other treasure. The pyramid builders knew that tomb robbers would try to sneak in after the burial and steal any valuables. So they built fake burial chambers and passages to try to trick the thieves.

Types of Pyramids

Step Pyramid of King Zoser (Djoser)

Some of the oldest pyramids are called step pyramids. They have large ledges every so often up the outside. These pyramids get their name because the ledges look like steps. Experts think the steps may have been built as a stairway that the pharaoh could use after death to climb up to the sun god.

Later pyramids, such as the Great Pyramid of Giza, have smooth sides. People who study ancient Egypt say these pyramids represent a mound that emerged at the beginning of time. Long ago, Egyptians believed that the sun god stood on this mound and created the other Egyptian gods and goddesses.

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