The pyramids of Egypt are the most famous works of Egyptian architecture. They were build between 2700 BC and 1600 BC. Most were built along the western banks of the Nile River, Egypt; in the fifty-five mile stretch between Abu Rosha and Memphis. The pyramids were really tombs for the pharaohs of Egypt. There were three types of pyramids: Step Pyramid, the oldest and most simple. It had five huge steps instead of smooth sides; The Straight Pyramid, pretty self explanatory, the sides were smooth and straight. The Great Pyramid at Giza is a Straight Pyramid; and lastly, the bent Pyramid. This curious looking construction was a way for the pyramid builders to use less stone, but still make it look nice. About three-quarters of the way up, the angle changed slightly, so from far away, the pyramid looks bent.
The pyramids were very well planned out. The architects of the pyramid had control of a huge number of workers for the project that usually lasted about 50 years. Before construction began, the site of the pyramid had to be found and leveled. The underground chambers where the mummy was to be stored were dug first, then the base stones of the pyramid were laid in. The architect and scribes were meticulous and knew where every stone would go, how big they were, and where they came from.
Workers, mostly slaves, cut huge blocks of limestone, some weighing as much as 2.5 tons, out of nearby quarries. Then, another group would move the stones to the pyramid construction site rolled on logs. After arriving, the stones were positioned carefully, and cut to fit. The outer stones were cut the most precisely. As the pyramid grew taller, the inner passageways were cut, and ramps were built in order to facilitate the placing of the stones. The last stone to be placed on a pyramid was called the cap stone. It was usually made of granite, highly polished, and about ten feet by ten feet at the base. After the cap stone was placed, the workers gradually took away the ramps, smoothing the walls with chisels and dolerite balls on their way down.
When the pharaoh for whom the pyramid was meant for died, he was mummified and placed in his tomb. The architect(s) were also placed in there. Then the doors to the tomb and chambers would 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 million blocks of stone and is the only remaining of the original seven wonders of the world.
Besides pyramid, the Egyptians also built temples. They were always built on the east bank of the Nile because the sun rises in the east. The entire Egyptian religion was centered on their god Ra, the sun god, so temples that honored him were very important. The temples were built as places for the gods to reside in peace, in total isolation from the world. Priests were the only ones allowed in the temples, where they performed daily rituals in honor of their god and the King for whom the temple was dedicated.