There are probably thousands of pyramids across the globe, built thousands of years ago for reasons why are yet to completely understand. No matter where you look, you’ll see that in the distant past, ancient cultures decided to construct massive monuments that we today call pyramids.
Of all the pyramids on the planet, those built in Egypt are perhaps the most well-known of them all. Possibly because of their size, their enigmatic history, or their incredible alignment, the Egyptian pyramids–specifically those at Giza–are a kind of rock star of the ancient world.
Say pyramid, and the Great Pyramid of Giza will immediately come to mind.
Its because the Great Pyramid of Giza is special. Not only since it is the tallest pyramid ever built in the ancient world, but because despite studying it for centuries, we are yet to completely unravel all its mysteries. This is perhaps why the Great Pyramid has inspired thoughtful persons, giving rise to numerous mystical and occult theories that try to understand the meaning of the Pyramids.
Cosmic worshipers from the Middle Ages, sages and thinkers help meetings inside the pyramid, considering the massive stone-built structure a source of unseen wisdom. It is there where heaven and Earth meet, but not because the pyramid reaches for the sky with its impressive height, but because it is there, inside an ancient structure built with more than 2.3 million blocks of stone where cosmic energies concentrate.
Those who believe in that mystical connection between mankind and the Great Pyramid of Giza maintain that its true purpose remains unexplained. Egyptologists, as well as mainstream academics, refuse to believe in that, saying that the Great Pyramid of Giza was built not to embody a lost knowledge, cosmic energies or prophecies, but to house the mummified remains of Pharaoh Khufu, around 4,500 years ago.
Archeologists maintain that the Great Pyramid of Giza is no more or less than the tomb for King Khufu and that its features and peculiar characteristics represent nothing other than the development of earlier, lesser Egyptian architecture; the dimensions of its stones cannot bear any relation to future events, cosmic energies, and mystical powers.
Nonetheless, open-minded researchers have discovered many peculiarities about the Great Pyramid which remain not well understood and the most important of information related to the pyramid’s construction remains undiscovered.
Not one ancient text has been discovered to mention how the Great Pyramid of Giza was built. Not one text mentions that it directly served as the tomb for Pharaoh Khufu. There isn’t one document dating back thousands of years that explains by which means the pyramid was built, and how the massive stones were laid into position.
The closest explanation we have, written in antiquity and mentioning the construction of the Pyramid comes from the Greek historian Herodotus.
Herodotus was a Greek scholar who is credited with inventing the field of study known today as `history’. He was named `The Father of History’ by the Roman writer and orator Cicero for his famous work The Histories but has also been called “The Father of Lies” by critics who claim these `histories’ are little more than tall tales.
Information about the construction of the pyramid comes from the Histories, where the Greek writer explains the device used by the ancient Egyptians to construct the pyramid. Written in around 440 BC, the work of Herodotus offers unparalleled insight into the ancient Egyptian civilization and most importantly their pyramids.
Bear in mind that the Machine, known simply as “the Herodotus machine” was described by the Greek historian more than 2,000 years after the Great Pyramid was supposedly completed. Nonetheless, it remains the only text that directly mentions how it was done.
Nothing else found, not even the so-called Diary of Merer explains the construction of the pyramid.
Here’s what Herodotus wrote on how the Great Pyramid was built:
The pyramid was built in steps, battlement-wise, as it is called, or, according to others, altar-wise. After laying the stones for the base, they raised the remaining stones to their places by means of machines formed of short wooden planks. The first machine raised them from the ground to the top of the first step. On this there was another machine, which received the stone upon its arrival and conveyed it to the second step, whence a third machine advanced it still higher. Either they had as many machines as there were steps in the pyramid, or possibly they had but a single machine, which, being easily moved, was transferred from tier to tier as the stone rose — both accounts are given and therefore I mention both. The upper portion of the Pyramid was finished first, then the middle and finally the part which was lowest and nearest to the ground.
Diodorus of Sicily also makes reference to the construction of the pyramid saying that it was built by means of mounds, or ramps. According to archeologists, this is probably the most reasonable view of how the pyramid was built. In Ancient Egyptian Masonry, Somers Clarke and R. Engelbach discuss the problem of pyramid building discussing the possibility of the use of ramps both long and wide supply ramps as well as shorter and much steeper ramps which may have been used to access the construction site and the transportation of lighter materials.
But these are no more than theories based off of academic guesswork.
Not even the Ancient Egyptian papyri discovered in the port city of Wadi-al-Jarf tells us how the pyramids were built. Many disagree and wrongfully believe the papyri detail the construction process of the pyramid. They don’t. The document explains how Merer was in charge of hundreds of workers that conducted several tasks and were involved in the transportation of limestone blocks from Tura to Giza.
Despite mentioning the transportation of these stones, there isn’t one actual sentence that confirms that Merer actually participated directly in the building process of the Great Pyramid, nor do the ancient papyri make direct reference that the stones they transported were actually used for the construction process of the pyramid.
The idea that the diary is related to the building process of the pyramid is due to the date of the papyri which were found to have been composed at the very end of Khufu’s reign. This is one of the main reasons why their discoverer, Pierre Tallet believes the stones mentioned int he ancient document was most likely for cladding the outside of the Great Pyramid. Key words: “Most likely”.
There are no inscriptions that directly link the construction of the Great Pyramid to Khufu or any other Pharaoh for that matter. This is very strange. The Great Pyramid was the most sophisticated and complex ever built, and no one decided it would be a good idea to document its construction or purpose.
But despite the fact that we don’t know how, who, and why it was built, we know that there isn’t one pyramid on Earth that is as impressive as the Great Pyramid of Giza. It is the Pyramid that stood the test of time. It is the only standing wonder of the ancient world and the pyramid that marked the zenith of pyramid building in the ancient world.
To build the Great Pyramid of Giza, a number of smaller pyramids were built in ancient Egypt, starting with the construction of the Pyramid of Djoser around 2667–2648 BC. King Sneferu, the man who is believed to have been Khufu’s father laid down the foundations for the construction of the Great Pyramid by building the pyramid at Meidum, the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid. These three pyramids are believed to have contributed mostly to the eventual design, planning, and construction of the Greatest pyramid of them all.
To complete the pyramid, the builders used 5.5 million tons of limestone, 8,000 tons of granite (from Aswan) and more than 500,000 tons of mortar. All of this, say Egyptologists, was achieved in no more than 20 years.
In total, the Great Pyramid of Giza is believed to weigh around 6 million tons. Its sheer size is evidence of its complexity. No other pyramid ever built in Egypt after the Great Pyramid managed to replicate its size and precision. It’s almost as if after the completion, the pyramid builders forgot the blueprint. All pyramids that were built after the Great Pyramid were lesser structures both in terms of size, precision, and alignment.
According to measurements, each side of Khufu’s pyramid covers an area of around 5.5 acres. This means that the total surface area of the Great Pyramid of Giza is 22 acres. The Great Pyramid of Giza covers a total area of 92,000 ft2 or 55,000 m2.
Researchers have estimated that upon completion, the Great Pyramid of Giza was surfaced with as many as 144,000 casing stones, and each casing stone had an average thickness of 100 inches. The casing stones are said to have been nearly perfect. Measurements have unveiled that the stone’s flatness was around 1/100th or 0.01 inch of perfectly straight.
“From the heights of these pyramids, forty centuries look down on us.” —Napoleon Bonaparte
During his campaign in Egypt, Napoleon calculated that the Great Pyramid and its neighboring structures hold enough stone to build a wall 3 meters high and 1-meter thick, which would enclose all of France. Napoleon’s calculations were verified by a mathematician who was among the scholars that accompanied his expedition to Egypt.
In addition to its enormous size and the quantity of stone used in the construction of the Pyramid, the relationship that exists between the Pyramid and the Earth is unsettling for some: taking the Great Pyramid’s height and multiplying it by 43.200, you obtain 3938.685 miles, which is short of just 11 miles of the actual dimensions for the polar radius of our planet.
As written by Ahmed Fakhry, the Great Pyramid of Giza represents the culminative effort of ancient pyramid builders. Not only is the Great Pyramid of Giza the largest monument of its kind ever built, but for the excellence of workmanship, the accuracy of planning, and beauty of proportion, the Great Pyramid of Giza remains the chief of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Generations will come and go but the Great Pyramid of Giza will remain standing, evidence of a time long gone, guarding its secrets proudly, because after all, it is the Pyramid of Pyramids, the structure that joins the heaven with Earth, and the most unique pyramid on Earth being the only eight-sided pyramid of the ancient world.