The pyramids of Egypt are the most well known works of Egyptian architecture. They were built between 2700 BC and 1600 BC. Most were built along the western banks of the Nile in the 55 mile stretch between Abu Rosha and Memphis. They were designed to keep the bodies of the Pharaohs safe forever.
There were three types of pyramids. The earliest was the step pyramid. It had 5 huge steps instead of smooth sides. Then came the straight pyramid and the bent pyramid. The straight pyramid had. as the name implies, straight sides all the way up. The bent pyramid became less steep about 3/4 of the way up.
The pyramids were carefully planned out. Before construction began, the site of the pyramid had to be found and leveled. The underground chambers were dug out before the base of the pyramid was built. The scribes knew how many stones would be needed, where the inner chambers would be, and where the stones would come from.
Workers would cut huge blocks of limestone, weighing about 2.5 tons, out of nearby quarries. The stones would be hauled over rolling logs to the pyramid site. There they would be positioned in their spot. The stones closer to the center were cut roughly, while the outer ones were cut carefully. As the pyramid grew taller, the inner passages and chambers were cut into the pyramid, and ramps would be constructed up the sides of the pyramid so that the stones could be towed up to the next level, not lifted. The sides would constantly be measured with plumb lines to make sure the sides were straight. When the top was about 10 feet wide the cap (top) stone was placed on top. It was made out of granite and shaped like a tiny pyramid. When the building of the pyramid was complete the workers would take away the ramps and smooth out the sides with chisels and dolerite balls.
When the pharaoh for whom the pyramid was built died he was mummified and placed in the pyramid. The doors to the tomb and other chambers would then be sealed off.
The Great pyramid at Giza was built for Pharaoh Kufu. It was originally 480 feet tall and covered 13 acres of land. It had about 2,000,000 blocks of stone and is one of the 7 wonders of the world.
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