When one thinks about pyramids, Egypt instantly comes to mind! Pyramids big, impressive structures built very long time ago. These are mysterious and fascinating structures which served as monumental burial sites where the Pharaohs, the Ancient Egyptian kings, were buried! Here are 10 facts about pyramids that will shock you!
1. The theory behind the pyramid’s structure!
It is thought that the shape of pyramids was most probably modeled on the Benben Stone! According to a creation myth of Ancient Egypt, a hill called Benben rose out from the waters and Atum, the first God, coughed and spat out Shu, the god of the air, and Tefnut, the goddess of moisture; thus beginning the creation of the world. The Benben Stone is a conical shaped stone! The pyramidal-shaped Benben Stone was the basis for the design of pyramidia and probably even for the design of the monumental Egyptian pyramids!
2. The largest pyramid is not in Egypt!
Did you know, that the largest pyramid in the world is actually in Mexico! While Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza is the most famous pyramid in the world, it actually is not the biggest by a long shot! That title goes to the Great Pyramid of Cholula, which is an ancient Aztec temple in Puebla, Mexico with a base four times larger than Giza’s, and nearly twice the volume! This gigantic structure is actually hidden beneath layers of dirt, making it look more like a natural mountain than a place of worship! This is one of the most interesting facts about pyramids!
3. Pyramids with perfect symmetry to the stars!
There are three pyramids, those of Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure which are perfectly aligned with the stars that make up the constellation of Orion’s belt! Also, the Descending Passage of the Great Pyramid points to the pole star known as Alpha Draconis! These pyramids were built a very long time ago, so, it is impossible to understand how were these ancient people able to achieve such a task!
4. The Great Pyramid faces the north!
The Great Pyramid is the most accurately aligned to true north of any structure on the planet! Despite being made millennia ago, the pyramid faces that direction with just 3/60th a degree of error. However, this is probably because the North Pole shifts over time. Therefore, at one time, the pyramid was spot on. Isn’t this one of the most interesting facts about pyramids?
5. The oldest pyramid
The oldest Egyptian pyramid is believed to be the Pyramid of Djoser, which was built in the Saqqara Necropolis during the 27th century BC for the burial of Pharaoh Djoser by his vizier, Imhotep!
6. The Great Pyramid is the only Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that still exists!
The Seven Wonders of the World or the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is a list of remarkable constructions that were built in ancient times! Of the original Seven Wonders, only one—the Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest of the ancient wonders—remains relatively intact. The Colossus of Rhodes, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Temple of Artemis and the Statue of Zeus were all destroyed. The location and ultimate fate of the Hanging Gardens are unknown, and there is speculation that they may not have existed at all! This is one of the most interesting facts about pyramids, don’t you think?
7. How the Pyramids of Giza used to look before
The Pyramids of Giza were once covered in a white casing made of glimmering limestone, which was so polished that it would reflect the sun’s rays. That’s why the ancient Egyptians referred to them as “Ikhet” or “Glorious Light.” Unfortunately, over time the casings have slowly disappeared after becoming loosened by earthquakes and crumbling to rubble or being cut loose and taken to build other structures!
8. The pyramids with swiveling doors!
Three of the pyramids actually had swivel doors at their entrance originally. They are The Great Pyramid, and those of Huni and Sneferu. All were family members (son, father and grandfather, respectively)! These swivel doors were so well balanced that, despite weighing 20 tons, they could be easily opened from inside with just a push. However, when they were shut, the doors set so flush you could hardly notice it!
9. The pyramids were actually not built by slaves
Contrary to popular depictions, the Egyptian pyramids were not built by large groups of slaves or prisoners! Egyptians were actually employed and archeologists estimate the workers would have had to set a 2.5 to 15 ton block every two and a half minutes to finish Khufu’s pyramid in about 30 years!
10. The Great Pyramid actually lives up to its name!
The Great Pyramid is thought to be constructed of over two million stone blocks that range from two to over fifty tons! Though, it remains a mystery as to how these stone blocks were transported. Historians estimate that over 100,000 people were involved in the construction of the Pyramids of Giza!