Great Pyramids, Gizeh, Egypt, ca. 2490-2528 BCE

During their reigns, the majestic Egyptian pharaohs ruled over very wealthy empires and ordered their people to build lavish tombs for their divine ruler. The symbols of Egypt to this day as well as some of the most well-known tombs are the Pyramids of Gizeh.

The three pyramids were built over the course of about seventy-five years for three different pharaohs: Khufu (reigned 2551 to 2528 BCE), Khafre (reigned 2520 to 2494 BCE), and Menkaure (reigned 2490 to 2472 BCE). The Great Pyramids are symbols of the sun. According to the Pyramid Texts (inscribed on the burial chamber walls of many royal tombs), the sides are the pyramids represent the rays of the sun, which the pharaoh used to ascend to heaven to reach afterlife. To emphasize this belief, the pyramids sit on the east side, facing the rising sun every morning during sunrise.

The pyramids are not simply massive blocks of stone. Their interiors are designed with great detail. Take, for instance, the Pyramid of Khafre. The complex not only includes the pharaoh’s burial chamber, but it also includes the mortuary chamber, where offerings were made to the king and where ceremonies are held, a roofed causeway, and a valley temple. Scholars believed that Ancient Egyptians believed that these pyramids served not only as tombs but also as the pharaoh’s palace in his afterlife.

I am simply blown away by the grandeur of these three pyramids and I can’t imagine what it must have took for the Egyptian builders to build this. I have heard stories of builders lugging blocks of stone, each block weighing at least a ton, piece by piece onto the pyramid and falling off or getting crushed. I am amazed by the intricacy of the architecture within such large pyramids, although they may not be apparent at first glance. I really enjoy works of art like these because they really give us a peek into the ancient world and capture the beliefs and values of this particular society.

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