The Great Pyramid of Giza—also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops—is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex bordering present-day El Giza, Egypt.
It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. This majestic structure has been gazed at, studied and explored for centuries and we still have not uncovered all of its secrets.
It is a true wonder of ancient engineering, and it is the only standing wonder of the ancient world.
Egyptologists maintain that the great pyramid was built as a tomb over a 10- to 20-year period concluding around 2560 BC.
Initially, at 146.5 meters (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years until Lincoln Cathedral was finished in 1311 AD.
At completion, the Great Pyramid was surfaced by white “casing stones”—slant-faced, but flat-topped, blocks of highly polished white limestone.
What we know
The Great Pyramid of Giza is a structure that has been studied for centuries.
We know a lot about it, although we don’t have the entire picture.
It is assumed that the pyramid’s purpose was to serve as the eternal resting place for Pharaoh Khufu.
We know it is the only standing ancient wonder, and that it was most likely completed in a 20-year period concluding around 2560 BC.
As mentioned in previous articles, the volume of the Great Pyramid of Giza is 2,583,283 cubic meters.
To build the great pyramid of Giza, the ancient builders used around 2.3 million stones weighing on average 3 tons.
The Great Pyramid of Giza was the most accurately aligned structure on the surface of the planet, facing true north with only 3/60th of a degree of error.
Experts estimate that as many as 5.5 million tons of limestone, 8,000 tons of granite (imported from Aswan), and 500,000 tons of mortar were used in the construction of the Great Pyramid.
Unlike other Pyramids in Egypt, the Great Pyramid is specific for another, very important reason. A study of the structure has discovered that the Great Pyramid of Giza can focus electromagnetic energy.
And while experts continue to be amazed by the structure, which has led to further studies, the Great Pyramid is surrounded by a plethora of enigmas.
One of the greatest mysteries is its missing capstones.
Was the Great Pyramid of Giza topped by a capstone in the distant past? Or was it always flat, just as today?
No one really knows whether or not there was ever something on the top of the pyramid.
They are those who assume the pyramid was finished with a massive golden pyramidion, but others also suggest it was always flat.
Throughout the ages, different scholars have tried understanding what happened to the top of the pyramid.
Was it destroyed? Was it stolen? Or was the top of the pyramid always flat?
Many scholars argue that the capstone of the great pyramid was either made out of gold or covered in gold.
Why gold? No one really knows, but it is believed that gold represented the power and wealth of the Pharaoh.
The Great Pyramid is said to have been covered in polished limestone that made it shine like a star.
Had it had a capstone made of gold, it would surely have even shined brighter.
Currently, the top of the pyramid is home to a kind of mast or flagpole that was supposedly placed there by astronomers in 1874, who calculated where the pyramid’s apex would have been if finished.
The Pyramid of Khafre, the second-tallest and second-largest of the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids of Giza has a similar characteristic.
Casing stones cover the top third of the pyramid, but the pyramidion and part of the apex are missing.
The bottom course of casing stones was made out of pink granite but the remainder of the pyramid was cased in Tura Limestone.