According to mainstream timelines, the Great Pyramid of Giza was completed around 4,500 years ago, during the reign of the Fourth Dynasty King Khufu. The largest Pyramid built in Egypt is usually referred to as the Great Pyramid of Giza, although many refer to it as the Pyramid of Khufu or Cheops.
Despite the fact that it is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids standing at the Giza, it is far from the largest pyramid on Earth. With a total volume of 2,583,283 cubic meters, the Great Pyramid is much smaller than the largest pyramid on Earth, the Great Pyramid of Cholula in present-day Mexico.
Nonetheless, the Great Pyramid of Giza is a majestic ancient structure: it is the oldest of the Severn Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one largely intact.
A true wonder
A wonder of ancient engineering, the Great Pyramid of Giza is also one of the most unique pyramids on the surface of the planet; it is the only eight-sided pyramid in existence. It is also the only pyramid in Egypt that was built with both ascending and descending passages.
It is also one of the most precisely aligned monuments in Egypt. Despite its uniqueness, the pyramid, say Egyptologists, was no more than the eternal resting place of Pharaoh Khufu. In fact, experts are convinced that the pyramid was built as such by Khufu mostly based on poorly painted marks that were discovered inside a chamber at the heart of the pyramid. These marks allegedly make reference to the “work gang” that helped build the pyramid during the Fourth Dynasty.
Researchers have calculated that the great pyramid was built with more than 2.3 million blocks of stone, some of which weigh several dozen tons. Its total weight has been estimated at around 6.5 million tons. Experts say that the pyramid was completed in a period of no more than 20 years, around 2,560 BC.
Once completed, it remained the largest man-made structure on the surface of the planet for more than 3,800 years rising to the sky at 146.5 meters high.
Of course, this was at a time when the pyramid’s capstone was in place. Today, with the top of the pyramid missing, the pyramid stands at 138.8 meters high, missing a pyramidion that is believed to have given the pyramid an even more magical look than today.
When the Great Pyramid’s inner core was completed, the pyramid is thought to have been cased by highly polished white limestone, which made the pyramids stand out, even more, making it shine like a star in the night sky. It is believed that the pyramid reflected the rays of the sun to such a degree that the pyramid was visible from hundreds of kilometers away.
Worthy of an ancient god, the massive pyramid at Giza was the most accurately aligned structure on the surface of the Earth: Measurements have revealed that the monument faces true north with only 3/60th of a degree of error. For reasons that remain unclear, the builders of the pyramid made sure to build the largest pyramid ever attempted, but matches its size with an unseen prevision.
To complete the pyramid, workers made use of more than 5.5 million tons of limestone, 8,000 tons of granite (which was transported from Aswan, some 800 kilometers away), and 500,000 tons of mortar.
The massive amount of construction material was unseen. Never before did anyone attempt to build such a massive monument in Egypt. Its builders made sure that their work would endure, as a message built in stone; the pyramid survived more than 4,500 years. Pharaohs came and went. People and cultures changed; the Giza landscape was altered. History was written, but the Great Pyramid remained almost unchanged, except for the casing stones which were loosened my nature and the work of man.
An incomplete Pyramid
The Great Pyramid was a masterpiece of engineering and architecture in Egypt. The core has of the pyramid stands as a massive mounting in the middle of the desert, reaching for the stars.
However, this majestic stone-made structure is incomplete. Perhaps its most important part is missing; the capstone or pyramidion.
Some legends and stories suggest that once the pyramid of Giza was completed, it was topped by a massive golden pyramidion, which gave the pyramid an even greater shine. The golden capstone would reflect the rays of light emitted by the sun in a nearly-blinding form. If this is true, the golden pyramidion must have weighted several dozen tons, and it would have been an extremely difficult task, to place it into position, on a pyramid that stood more than 140 meters in height.
But did the Great Pyramid of Giza ever have a capstone? If it did have one, what happened to it, and where is it now?
Although the majestic structure has remained largely unchanged for thousands of years, its summit is completely rearranged. If one would take on the challenge to climb the pyramid, reaching its summit, he would see a top that is nearly flat. in fact, this emptiness atop the pyramid has remained for hundreds of years, evidence of which are some of the oldest photographs taken of the pyramid.
Since there are no written accounts of the building process of the pyramid, and there aren’t any plans that tell us what the pyramid was envisioned to look like before it was constructed, we can’t possibly know what was located at its very top.
However, given the mind-boggling precision, alignment and size of the pyramid, we can assume that whatever was located on top of it, must have been of great importance, and looked just as stunning as the pyramid beneath.
Since no records of the pyramid prevail, we can only wonder what it looked like when completed. However, many scholars have theorized that its capstone was made either of gold–or a shiny material–or was build out of stone, and then covered by gold.
If the Great Pyramid of Giza did have a capstone in the past, how was it removed, and what happened to it? If it was made of gold, how on Earth would someone remove such a massive piece?
Perhaps it was loosened by earthquakes, but if so, it would have surely caused great damage to the core of the pyramid, and evidence of something massive rolling down the pyramid has not been found.
Today, only an empty space remains atop the pyramid, marked by a mast or flagpole that is said to have been placed there by astronomers in 1874, who were attempting to calculate where the pyramid’s apex would have been once the structure was completed.
Curiously, the missing capstone is not unique to Khufu’s pyramid. The second-largest pyramid at the Giza plateau, the Pyramid of Khafre also has a missing top. Although the pyramid of Khafre retains most of its upper casing stones, its top-most part is destroyed.
Although the summit of Khafre’s pyramid is in much better condition compared to the top of Khufu’s pyramid, both these ancient structures are void of their capstone.
It would seem that either by works of nature or that of man, whatever was located on top of the pyramid once these were completed is now destroyed.