The Ancient Scribe

Examining ancient culture's status in the modern era

The Great Pyramids: Flawless Architecture With An Eye for Art and Beauty

Posted By on May 9, 2010

The pyramids, tombs and the age-old monuments are the prime attractions of Egypt, and most people would be highly interested to know about them. The Pyramids are probably the popular most structures in Egypt, which tend to be as tall as 482 feet high or (147 m). Interestingly, I discovered that the first pyramid is not in Giza. Few people know that the first pyramid was built for King Zoser at Saqqara! Due to its step shape, it is known as a step pyramid. The pyramids of later times had smooth sides, and the best examples of these are obviously the Great Pyramid of Giza, built by king Khufu 4,500 years back. The trend of smooth sided pyramids started from Dynasty IV onwards.

How did they make the Pyramids?

Egyptian Pyramids

Men had to chisel the granite blocks first to build these smooth sided pyramids. Special rods were used by stonemasons, to check if a block was cut perfectly. The blocks were left in the quarry till the flood season arrived. Once the boat was there and it unloaded the blocks, they used to be hauled up through a ramp. To maneuver the blocks, ropes and levers were applied. Once all of the granite blocks were laid, the casing blocks were rubbed with polishing stones by the laborers until they were bright enough. Plump lines were used by the overseers to make sure that the angle of the slope was properly laid. The workers chiseled out and painted the hieroglyphics surrounding the pyramid and the statues, and columns with vibrant shades were also used.

Previously, the tombs were used for burial purposes. The tombs had two different parts known as the chapel and the crypt. The walls of the chapel used to be very decorated, and had a false door. This linked the living world with the world of the dead. The tomb also featured a carved image of the owner of the tomb. The halls of the tombs had numerous small rooms for keeping furniture, offerings, sacred text, and food for the deceased.

There used to be a burial shaft in the rear leading to the real crypt. Though, the real crypt was walled in with traps and false galleries. The crypts were filled with carved reliefs, wall paintings, and figures of priests and servants to accompany the deceased. The hieroglyphic designs made on granite feature the eight-sided column, lotus flower, papyrus, palm and a proto-Dorix (sixteen-sided column).

In the realm of statues and monuments, you will find stone figures that look like a tiger, a king, and an eagle to name some. The Sphinx is perhaps one of the best figures, featuring a king’s head wearing a striped head cloth or ‘nemes’, and with a body of a lion. You will come across a granite obelisk with at least 1/4 of their hieroglyphic images rubbed out (with time) here as well.

Perhaps, the pyramids of Giza are the real rivals when you think about the architecture of the Great Sphinx in ancient Egypt. The Valley of Giza is an awesome sight, featuring the ultimate architectural expertise of the Egyptians. The three prime pyramids are the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Kafhre and the Pyramid of Menkaura.

These pyramids built during the reign of the Third and Fourth Dynasty are the result of the efforts made by the kings and their descendants. The base of the Pyramid of Khufu roughly covers 392,040 square feet or nine acre in area. The Pyramid of Menkaure features a granite covering for one tier, while the Pyramid of Khafre features a two-tiered base with a granite enclosure.


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