When asked which of the world’s seven wonders fascinates them the most, many people will immediately reply, “the Pyramids of Egypt.” Well, we can’t agree more.
The Egyptian Pyramids are not just the burial place of the royally extravagant pharaohs but also of innumerable mysteries that intrigues tourists and archaeologists alike.
Making these ancient wonders even more fascinating are the many conspiracy theories surrounding their construction and existence. Haven’t we all stopped to wonder if the Pyramids are a human creation or something beyond the abilities of an earthly human?
The fascination with the unknown has always been an inherent part of human nature. This factor makes these marvels so intriguing to us and earns them their rightful place among the Seven Wonders of the World.
Let’s admit it, no knowledge about the ancient Egyptian Pyramids is enough knowledge, but we got to start somewhere! So here we have for you 30 Egyptian Pyramid facts to feed your intrigue and get you wondering.
Egyptian Pyramid Facts
1. The Pyramids of Giza are VERY, Very Old
The Pyramids of Giza (or Khufu) on the banks of the Nile river are undoubtedly the most famous of these structures. These are the wonders most people outside Egypt know about and travel long distances to marvel at.
We all know that the Giza Pyramids are old, but how? You read that right. According to researchers, The Great Pyramids of Giza were built more than 4500 years ago (during the Fourth Dynasty), through the 2440 BCE decade!
Let this fact soak in for a moment. The Egyptians managed to construct such colossal structures during such an age without any modern technology or knowledge of engineering. Now, how mind-boggling is that?
2. The Great Pyramid of Giza was the Largest Human-Built Structure in the Ancient World
Not only are the Giza Pyramids unbelievably old, but they are also insanely huge! The Great Pyramid of Giza is more than 480 ft tall, and its volume is about 92 million cubic feet.
This makes the Great Pyramid of Giza the tallest man-made structure in the ancient world until the construction of the Lincoln Cathedral in the 1300s.
Even with modern technology, constructing a structure like this would be a colossal task. More so a reason for us to be awe-inspired by this ancient wonder.
3. The Location
Ever wondered why the Great Pyramid stands where it is? Most ancient Egyptian pyramids are found on the west bank of the Nile river. This was probably done for the easy transportation of the heavy materials.
If we consider the mythological aspect, the west bank of the river Nile was the land of the setting sun. Just as the sunset marks the end of the day, death is the end of life. Thus, it was widely believed to be a sacred burial spot in ancient Egyptian society.
4. The Pyramid Stones Were Super Heavy
Such huge structures surely cannot be built with ordinary materials. The Pyramids of Giza are built of more than two million blocks of limestone and granite, not to mention the enormous amount of mortar used.
Each of these granite and limestone blocks weighs about 2.3 to 2.5 tonnes. That’s more than the weight of 20 baby elephants!
Several theories surround the technique used to transport these hefty materials in such mammoth quantities. The only possible explanation is transporting the pyramid stones and mortar using sleds and carts.
How did the ancient Egyptians transport the stone blocks and mortar with such a rudimentary mode of transportation? One can only wonder.
5. The Magic Mortar
We all know that the secret behind the Pyramids still standing tall after thousands of years is the material used for their construction.
It is estimated that about 500,000 tons of mortar were used to construct the Pyramids. The secret behind its superior quality is still unknown, but this magic mortar sure did help the Pyramids stand the ravages of time.
6. Step Pyramid
Most Egyptian pyramids follow this style of architecture. Step pyramids are built by placing flat platforms on top of each other to get the height and shape of the pyramid.
7. The Great Glittering Pyramid
The limestone blocks used to build the Great Pyramid were initially in cased form. This highly polished casing gave these structures a shiny touch.
It is believed that the Pyramid could be seen from miles away, glittering in the sun. Unfortunately, the limestone casing could not stand the ravages of time and got scraped off.
8. How Long did it Take to Build the Great Pyramid?
Enough has been said already about the enormity and grandeur of the Great Pyramid, as it is the tallest building in the Giza complex. But how long did it take to build such a grand structure?
Historians estimate that the Great Pyramid was built over 23 years. It is also believed that the construction required a labour force of about 50,000.
9. How Many Pyramids?
We all know about the Great Pyramid of Giza and the other two smaller pyramids in the Giza complex. But you surely did not think that that’s it, did you? Other building projects of this sort were regularly taken up in other parts of Egypt.
Researchers have proved pyramids to be an inherent part of the culture of ancient Egypt. Therefore, you can find more than 100 of these sacred burial sites all over the country, and not just in Giza.
10. Pyramid Structures are not Limited to Ancient Egypt
Did you think the Egyptian pyramids are the only examples of such architecture? Well, surprise, surprise! There is a place with way more pyramids than in ancient Egypt. And neither were the Egyptians the first to develop this style of architecture.
Though much smaller than an Egyptian pyramid, numerous pyramids resembling the Egyptian ones have also been found in Nubia in Sudan. Nubians constructed earlier pyramids, but the Egyptians helped these marvellous structures attain full glory.
P.S.: Sudan fell under the Ancient Egyptian dynasty, thus the resemblance.
11. Construction of The Pyramids was a Respectable Job
The construction of the Pyramids was much more than an extravagant gesture on the part of the pharaohs. The records of that era suggest that the labourers involved in the construction were paid what they deserved for their tough grind.
Did you also believe that the workforce comprised enslaved Israelites? Well, that’s probably not true. Ancient Egyptian labourers from across the country contributed to this honourable task of constructing the tombs of pharaohs.
Fun fact: not only did the construction of the Pyramids generate employment, but a lot of the labourers also received the privilege to be buried near the spectacular structures to whose construction several years of their lives were dedicated.
12. The Size Illusion
Although the Pyramid of Khufu is the largest, the Pyramid of Khafre appears to be larger.
The Pyramid of Khafre is the one that has undergone the least destruction over time. This happens because despite being one of the smaller pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex, the foundation base of Khafre’s pyramid is higher. What’s more?
13. The Angle
We all are in awe of the construction of such marvellous structures as the Great Pyramid. But would you believe if we say that two opposite sides of the Pyramid are not equal?
Researchers have found out that the western side of the Pyramid is a little longer than the eastern side. But that doesn’t affect our open-mouthed admiration for these marvels.
14. The Great Sphinx
Ever observed the huge statue in any photograph of The Pyramids of Giza? That’s the statue of the Great Sphinx. A sphinx is a mythical creature with the body of a lion and a human head. Ancient Egyptians believed the Sphinx to be a guardian deity.
Various smaller statues of this creature have been found around other pyramids across Egypt, as the sphinx is believed to guard the sacred royal tombs. Did you know that the Great Sphinx was believed to be a painted statue at some time?
15. The Curse of the Pharaoh
Let’s talk about the most popular belief surrounding the Pyramids. We all know that pyramids were built to provide a burial chamber for the dead pharaohs and ensure a comfortable transition into a supposedly-divine afterlife.
Therefore, it is believed that any hindrance to this transition was struck with the Curse of the Pharaoh that protected the Pharaoh, his belongings, and even his family.
This belief has been used to explain the bizarre stroke of bad luck that hit some researchers trying to unearth the mysteries of the Pyramids.
16. Not Just for the Pharaohs
The Great Pyramid was built as a sacred burial space for Pharaoh Khufu. Therefore, it is also often referred to as the Pyramid of Khufu.
But that’s not it. Along with the Pharaoh’s burial space, the sacred space also comprises three pyramids for Khufu’s wives. Other family members and important courtiers are also believed to be buried in the same complex.
17. Riches for the Afterlife
Why are the pyramid complexes so huge? We know that a pyramid was not just built for the pharaoh but also for his near and dear ones. But they were also spaces to store the prized possessions and riches of the pharaoh.
The Egyptian theory about life after death is very well known. It was widely believed that the pharaoh would require his possessions and riches in the afterlife and, therefore, was buried along with them.
18. The First Egyptian Pyramid
Pharaoh Sneferu of the Fourth Dynasty is believed to be the pioneer of pyramid architecture. The three pyramids constructed during his reign commenced the practice of building true pyramid tombs.
The Red Pyramid was the first such kind of pyramid and was the largest among the three pyramids built. The middle pyramid was built first, and then the Bent Pyramid.
19. The Red Pyramid
This pyramid, built during Pharaoh Sneferu, is the third largest pyramid in Egypt after those of Khufu and Khafre.
It derives its name from the red sandstone used for its construction. This pyramid has three chambers. The two main rooms are large, and the second room has a secret passageway to the main burial chamber.
20. The Bent Pyramid
Also built by Pharaoh Sneferu of the Fourth Dynasty, the Bent Pyramid is the predecessor of the Red Pyramid. It gets its name from the bent angle of 43 degrees at which it is constructed.
All pyramids until that time were step pyramids made of stacked platforms. But this pyramid was an attempt at making a smooth pyramid. Its peculiar shape allows it to support the unique architectural style adopted.
21. Menkaure’s Pyramid
Menkaure’s Pyramid is the third, less talked about the pyramid in the Giza complex. It is the smallest among the three Great Pyramids.
This pyramid was built with special quality red granite found only in the South of Egypt. What is most fascinating about this pyramid is its construction was never completed.
The sarcophagus of Menkaure was never placed here for some unknown reason. That’s why the upper part of the pyramid is covered with Tura limestone blocks.
22. The First Pharaoh to be Buried Under Pyramid Structures
We all know about Pharaoh Khufu and Pharaoh Khafre, buried under the most famous pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex. But do you know which Pharaoh started this practice?
The first Pharaoh to be buried under a pyramid was Pharaoh Djoser of the Third Dynasty. This Pharaoh’s final resting place was built by Imhotep in Saqqara in 27th Century BCE.
23. Hidden Chambers and Passageways
The Great Pyramid of Giza comprises three rooms that we know. But what if we tell you that it’s not it and that there might be something more to the Great Pyramid?
The three main parts of the Great Pyramid are named the King’s Chamber, the Queen’s Chamber, and the Grand Gallery. However, passages from the Queen’s chamber ending at stone doors have been discovered recently.
These mysterious passages extend from the north and south walls of the Chamber and are believed to lead to some other hidden chamber.
24. The Pyramid Texts
While discussing ancient Egypt and Egyptian pyramids, it is impossible not to bring up hieroglyphics. Hieroglyphics is the pictorial script used in ancient Egyptian society for writing.
However, you would be surprised to know that most of the Great Pyramids of Giza have no hieroglyphs. Only a hidden chamber discovered later in 2011 shows some traces of this ancient script and pyramid texts.
25. The Granite Coffer
If you visit the Great Pyramid, you notice a granite coffer in the main chamber. You may wonder, what’s so extraordinary about a piece of stone? The answer: it’s size!
The Great Pyramid has very small doorways. It is not very difficult to notice that such a huge piece of stone could never have been brought in through such a small doorway.
How did it get there, then? Was it already there before the Pyramid was constructed? If so, then why? These are a few of the many questions historians are still grappling with.
26. The Astronomical Connect
Believe it or not, the three Pyramids of Giza are perfectly aligned in a north-south direction. How did the ancient Egyptians pull this off? Well, this was possible because of the stars.
The Great Pyramids were aligned in the north-south positions using the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper constellations.
The precision of this alignment is so astonishing that it has given rise to various conspiracy theories giving credit for the construction of the Pyramids, not to ancient Egyptians, but to extraterrestrial factors.
27. Built by Aliens?
Who doesn’t love conspiracy theories? The most popular one surrounding pyramids is that aliens built them.
After all, we still don’t have an explanation for the advanced engineering and architectural techniques at the disposal of ancient Egyptians, do we?
28. The Pi Connect
Another fascinating fact about the pyramids of Egypt, specifically Khufu’s, might have been designed with the concept of Pi. According to John Taylor, dividing the pyramid’s perimeter by height results in Pi.
29. The Temperature Inside
We all know that Egypt’s weather is a scorcher! But guess what? The average temperature inside the pyramids generally remains about 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Irrespective of the heatwave outside, the interior of these structures always maintains a comfortable temperature. A relief for tourists as well!
30. Other Monuments
You surely did not think that the Great Pyramids are the only sight worth marvelling at in Giza, did you? Giza is home to various other shrines and monuments, each more fascinating than the other, that you might want to explore.
You can also explore the Tomb of Queen Khentkaus I in the complex. Apart from this, there are various pyramids around Giza you should visit.
The Bottom Line
Egypt is a goldmine of mysteries and historical intrigues, and this is just the tip of the iceberg (or should we say the pyramid?). Do tell us other interesting Egyptian pyramid facts we may have missed.
Share this with your friends and delve deeper into the fascinating world of the ancient Egyptians.