The pyramids of Giza are a group of ancient buildings near Cairo, Egypt. Among them are the Great Sphinx and the Great Pyramid of Cheops, two of the most famous landmarks in the world. The buildings serve as a symbol of Ancient Egypt in the popular consciousness.

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The buildings were constructed around 2500 BC. Quite how they were constructed is a mystery that has perplexed archaeologists and historians for a long time. The dominant theory is that the stones were dragged to the site, before being lifted by some kind of pulley mechanism.

The buildings were constructed as huge monuments and tombs to house the bodies of deceased Egyptians pharaohs. They were designed to fit the huge quantity of wealth and various items that the Ancient Egyptians believed the pharaoh would need in the afterlife.

The site was gradually excavated throughout the 20th century, and various ruins are still being dug up in the periphery as of today.

Architecture

The Great Pyramid of Cheops is the largest building on the site. It is the only one of the seven wonders of the ancient world that is still in existence today. The most physically intact of the three monuments at Giza, the pyramid is over 450 foot high; it was the tallest man made construction in the entire world for nearly 4000 years.

What can be seen today is the internal structure of the building. The outside was originally coated in limestone, but this material has been gradually stolen over time. It is believed that the pyramid was constructed as a tomb for the pharaoh Khufu (AKA Cheops). Archaeologists estimate that over 8000 tonnes of granite and over 5 million tonnes of limestone were used in the construction.

The second largest pyramid is the pyramid of Khafre. It appears taller from a distance because it has been placed on a large bed of rock. The building is just under 450 foot tall and made of limestone, with a slightly steeper slope than the pyramid of Cheops.

The smallest of the three main monuments is the pyramid of Menkaure. It was constructed from red granite, white granite, and limestone, and stands at a height of just over 200 feet. The exact data of construction of this pyramid is not known, but it is expected to be quite close to the other two. The base of the pyramid is unfinished, and it is speculated that the construction came to a stop when the pharaoh died.

The pyramid has a large hole in the North side, caused by men who attempted to demolish it on the orders of the then Sultan of Egypt. Demolition proved too difficult, and the men gave up after only removing a small number of the stones.