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Pyramid of Giza

The Great Pyramid of Giza

The Great Pyramid of Giza is by far the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the last to survive to present day. It was built around 2540 B.C. and took approximately 20 years to build. In fact, it is one of the oldest structures in the world still standing today. It originally stood 488 feet (137m) tall, and for 4000 years this pyramid was the largest manmade structure in the world until the Lincoln Cathederal was rebuilt at 535 feet (160m) tall in England around the year 1300 A.D.

Khufu's pyramid was originally 488 feet (137m) tall.

Lincoln Cathedral in England.

An Old Kingdom Egyptian Pharoah named Khufu (Cheops in Greek) ordered this great pyramid be built for his burial place. It was the first of its kind to be built. Other much smaller step pyramids were built before this, but this new pyramid was going to have smooth sides and be many times larger than anything ever seen before. Khufu’s son, Khafre, who ruled after his father died, had his own pyramid built next to his father’s. And Menkaure, Khafre’s son, had his own pyramid built next to his father’s and grandfather’s. Khafre’s pyramid (below center) often appears taller in pictures, however, it is slightly smaller than Khufu’s, but no less grand.

Did You Know?

The sides of the pyramids on the Giza plateau face the cardinal points of a compass. This means the north side faces directly north, the east side faces east, and so on.

Menkaure's pyramid (front), Khafre's pyramid (center), and Khufu's pyramid (rear).


Did You Know?

A small portion of the Valley of the Kings.

The pyramids were only built in the Old Kingdom era of ancient egypt (ca. 2700-2200 B.C.). When the capital was moved to Thebes, Egyptian pharoahs were buried in the Valley of the Kings, located 419 miles (674km) south of Cairo.

The pyramids of Giza can be seen from space.

The pyramids seen from space.

You can see the pyramids in the center of this satellite photo from NASA. North is towards the left upper corner of the image.