massive stone structures pierce the sky in the middle of the
hot desert of Egypt. The Pyramids of Giza.
From Issue #5
The Pyramids of Giza
Ancient Tombs of Pharaohs Who Refused To Be Forgotten
By Karrie Percy
These wonders were built as mortuary monuments for three different
Pharaohs of the 4th Dynasty in the Old Kingdom: Cheops and his
two sons, Chephren and Mycerinus. The largest, "The Great
Pyramid", was built for Cheops and originally stood thetallest at approximately 146 meters.
Many mysteries surround the construction of these pyramids.
The Great Pyramid's faces are positioned, almost exactly, in
the directions of the four cardinal points (north, south, east
and west) with less than one degree of error! It is also built
at the exact center of the earth's landmass, which means that
it lies in the center of all the worlds land area, dividing
the earth's landmass into approximately equal quarters.
A structure this heavy would require an extremely strong foundation
to support its weight. It just so happens that the pyramid is
built directly on top of a flat solid granite mountain, which
easily supports its immense weight.
Inside the Great Pyramid of Giza there are three principle chambers
on three different levels found at the heart. One of these chambers
is for the actual body of Cheops, the second for his treasures
and needs for the after life including a cult temple to pray
in, and the smallest chamber is for his wife, the Queen.
However, there remains more about the actual construction of
the pyramids that continues to astound researchers and enthusiasts
alike. For example, the Great Pyramid is made up of approximately
2,300,000 stones, and the average weight of each stone is between
2 and 10 tons. It is believed that the stones were floated over
the Nile River during flooding and brought to the edge of the
desert. But there continues to be controversy as to how these
extremely heavy bricks were placed with such precision: the
pyramids have a near perfect square base, with sides that differ
by no more than eight inches.
The builders of these pyramids also accounted for the expansion
and contraction that the stones might undergo, as well as natural
disruptions that might damage the shape. Much like modern buildings,
the pyramid's cornerstones have balls and sockets built into
them. The precision with which the pyramids were cut would almost
be impossible to duplicate today, and would take an enormous
amount of work, even with our most advanced technology and modern
Originally the pyramids were covered with a protective coating
of polished white limestone. The coating gave off such a shine
from the hot desert sun that they could not only be seen from
the Israeli mountains hundreds of miles away, but it is said
that the glare would have been visible from the moon!
Unfortunately, the protective coating no longer covers the pyramids:
during an earthquake 600 years ago the stones were loosened
and later stolen and used to complete palaces and mosques in
Cairo. Because the inner limestone was not as hard and resistant
to the elements as was the outer coating, the pyramids have
become rough and worn down, although, the cement that attached
the stones remains intact and watertight even today.
Researchers and Egyptologists have found, within the pyramids,
four sets of what was first thought to be 'air' shafts. These
shafts are no more than 20 cm by 20 cm. Researchers soon realized
that these shafts allowed for viewing of the stars, consistent
with the Ancient Egyptian beliefs that some of their gods and
dead pharaohs exist in the sky as stars. However, two published
academics, Virginia Trimble and Alexander Badawy, were the first
people to recognize that these "air" shafts seemed
to point towards the constellation Orion. And further to that
discovery, a man named Robert Bauval, an Egyptian engineer,
found that the "imprecise" alignment (the 1o difference)
of the pyramids is actually an exact mirror image of the Belt
Stars of Orion.
It is believed that the purpose of the pyramids is to protect
and preserve the bodies of the kings during their afterlife.
Their significance remains open to interpretation, although,
it is popularly thought to relate to the status of the pharaohs.
The Egyptian people regarded their pharaohs as god-like and
sacred. By having a burial place as grand as the pyramids, it
symbolized their importance and their power.
However, a discussion of the pyramids would not be complete
without mention of their eternal guardian - the Great Sphinx
of Giza. In Greek mythology the Sphinx was a mythical beast
with the head and breasts of a woman, the body of a lion and
the wings of a bird. She would ask visitors entering the city
of Thebes to answer a riddle and if they could not answer they
would be put to death. In ancient Egypt, however, a sphinx was
normally seen with the head of a pharaoh and the body of a lion.
The most famous sphinx is, of course, the Great Sphinx of Giza.
The Sphinx is carved from solid bedrock and has what is believed
to be the face of Chephren (the son of Cheops), and the body
of a lion. It is about 20 meters high and about 73 meters long.
Unfortunately, the face of the Great Sphinx has been severely
damaged by brutal sandstorms and vandalism yet it still majestically
watches over the Pyramids of Giza.
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