It is hard to argue that when it comes to historic architecture, the Great Pyramid of Giza is perhaps the most well-known example in existence. It has stood for over four millennia, towering over the banks of the Nile, just south of the city of Cairo. It is the jewel in an ancient and mysterious civilizations crown that was far more advanced than any other on earth at the time. What makes this pyramid so special though? Let us take a look at some interesting facts about this magnificent structure.
Who Was the Great Pyramid Built for?
The Great Pyramid was not the first pyramid built by the Egyptians, the first true pyramid built by them was the Red Pyramid, built between 2613 and 2589 BCE for the Pharaoh Sneferu. It was his son however, Khufu, the second Pharaoh of the 4th Dynasty who we believe may have ascended to the throne in his 20s. He had the Great Pyramid built somewhere between 2560 and 2540 BCE. Unfortunately, much of the information about Khufu has been lost to the ravages of time, the accounts of his reign are conflicting and written hundreds of years after his death, perhaps the best example of which being from the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus. Fin fact, there is only one acknowledged statue of him in existence and it stands at only three inches.
For Thousands of Years it Stood Taller than any Other Structure
A far cry from his tiny statue, the Great Pyramid stands at an impressive 481 feet tall, it truly was a marvel the likes of which this world hadn’t seen before. When built it was of course the tallest structure in existence and remained so for almost 4000 years, it was finally topped in 1311 CE after the completion of Lincoln Cathedral in England which measured at 525 feet, that is until its central spire sadly collapsed in the year 1548. Interestingly, the Great Pyramid now stands shorter, measuring around 455 feet high. Thousands of years of erosion have shaved off around 25 feet of stone.
The Great Pyramid is Practically Empty
Within this magnanimous structure lies three chambers which would have once contained everything from treasures, to human remains. Since it was first created its has seen thousands of years of looting, as a result the interior has been left without any artefacts left bar Khufus sarcophagus, made using red granite. It is thought that the sarcophagus was placed here before construction was complete as it is too big to fit through the passageways within. There are some accounts that state there were human remains in here some time around the 9th Century CE, however they too were looted and as such we cannot be sure who else was buried there. It wasn’t just the interior that was robbed however, the pyramid was originally covered in a white limestone exterior, this too was taken, having been used by other kings and leaders for newer building projects.