10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Pyramids Of Egypt
The Pyramids in Egypt are some of the most well-known and iconic structures.
They’ve become a symbol of the ancient empire, yet there are still so many things people don’t know about them! Let’s know 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Pyramids Of Egypt.
- 1. The oldest one isn’t in Giza
You might think that the Great Pyramid of Giza, or at least one of the Great Pyramids, would be the oldest, right? Well, that’s not correct.
The Great Pyramid, as we’ve already mentioned, is thought to have been built around 2500 BC, about 4500 years ago.
However, the oldest Pyramid that we know of in the entire world is the Pyramid of Djoser, built around 2700 BC or around 4700 years ago.
The Pyramid of Djoser is less than half the Great Pyramid’s height at around 62.5 meters.
It was built to house the mummy of the Egyptian King Djoser, who was from the Third Dynasty. This is a step pyramid, slightly different from the pyramids we know of already.
- 2. The size of the Pyramids
The size of the pyramids is genuinely challenging to comprehend, especially in the modern world when we’re spoiled with skyscrapers and buildings like the Burj Khalifa.
However, the Great Pyramid is considered by some, in a way, to be the world’s first skyscraper. The International Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat describes a skyscraper as being over 150 meters tall, while the Great Pyramid, at its peak, was just slightly below that at 146 meters in height.
However, the time has taken its course since then, and the Great Pyramid’s height has reduced by 8 meters to reach 138 meters.
The Great Pyramid remained the tallest building on earth for thousands of years, and it wasn’t only great in height but also weight. It was made up of over 2.3 million solid stone blocks, each of which weighed around 2.5 tons apiece, giving the Great Pyramid a weight of approximately 5.75 million Tons.
- 3. There are underground tunnels below the pyramids
What’s underneath the pyramids is sometimes even more interesting than the pyramids themselves.
We already know of the various underground canals that connect the Nile river to the pyramids, which is considered one of the earliest examples of irrigation globally. One thing that fewer people know of is the extensive network of tunnels connecting all the tunnels.
There are multiple tunnels located directly below the pyramids, and more are expected to be found. Excavation here is very dangerous as they don’t want to damage the pyramids themselves, so it might be a while until we fully explore these tunnels.
Some of these tunnels are a claustrophobic nightmare, with only enough space for a relatively thin person to crawl through, and most of these tunnels are shut to the general public by the Egyptian government.
- 4. They did not ride camels
When European explorers were making excavations around the Great Pyramids, one thing they were expecting to see were camels. At this point, Arabia and the rest of the Middle East were already known for their camels. Camels dominated Egypt as a mode of transport.
But what they found out was that whether it was regular people or Royals, there were no camels used in even the most royal place in all of Egypt, the great pyramids.
Instead, they all used donkeys to make end meets. It wasn’t until the Egyptian empire was long gone that camels slowly started to gain popularity in the Middle East as a mode of transport. They remain an integral part of all Middle Eastern cultures to this day.
- 5. They had air conditioning
We know what you’re thinking. How on earth could ancient Egyptians, at a time when there was no electricity at all, invent air conditioning? While they didn’t exactly have anything like modern air conditioners that blow out cold air to cool the temperature, they did know how to condition the air, especially within the pyramids.
Using advanced engineering methods, they constructed the Great Pyramid in a way where heat escapes much faster. At the same time, cold air gets trapped within it, making the temperature inside the Great Pyramid a constant 68 degrees Fahrenheit, or 20 degrees celsius.
This is compared to the hot Egyptian desert, where it could easily reach 100 or 110 degrees Fahrenheit on a summer day. The Egyptians were experts at regulating hot temperatures even in the ancient world!
- 6. There are a lot of restrictions when you visit them
The Pyramids of Giza are some of the oldest structures in the world.
They were built about 4500 years ago in 2500 BC, and to this day, we don’t exactly know who created them or the exact date and circumstances around their construction. Still, the Great Pyramids mesmerized the world both in the ancient world and the modern world.
This is why the pyramids are some of the most popular tourist attractions globally. While this tourism brought vital revenue to conserve the pyramids, it also brought about a lot of destruction.
Back in the 80s and 90s, tourists could go and climb the sides of the tourists or take small pieces of the pyramids back home. Still, there have been strict restrictions added, with people not being allowed to do anything even may even slightly harm the pyramids or may risk being locked in an Egyptian jail for three years.
- 7. They were unlike any other building ever built
It’s hard to overstate how significant the Giza Pyramid Complex was to the ancient world.
We’ve already mentioned that its height of 146 meters made it taller than any building ever made for another 2000 years. However, we still have no idea how the ancient Egyptians managed to build such a massive building without the help of modern machinery or construction methods.
We do not know how these structures were built, but even later, Egyptian rulers had no idea how something of such magnificence was made. They, too, may have tried to build systems that were far more grand and significant than the pyramids, but the truth is, none of them knew how to go about such a thing.
- 8. They used to look radically different
The Great Pyramid complex is instantly recognizable. It’s probably the first thing you think of when you hear the word Egypt or when you hear of an ancient civilization in general. However, the iconic pyramids didn’t always look like this.
As we’ve mentioned already, the Great Pyramid and the surrounding pyramids all lost a few meters in height due to the wear and tear of time.
However, they also lost a lot more. The pyramids used to sparkle in ancient times as they were all covered by a slab of limestone, which would glisten as the sunlight hit the pyramids.
Unfortunately, all of the limestones slowly withered away, except for the Pyramid of Khafre, where you can still see part of the limestone at the top of the pyramid.
- 9. Enslaved people didn’t build them
Perhaps due to Hollywood movies or just media and misconceptions about the past in general, most people have this view of ancient Egypt as a completely top-down society, with just a few royals presiding over a subjugated population.
However, that’s not true. Part of the reason why ancient Egypt was so successful was that all segments of the society were prosperous, not just the royal element. There were also no enslaved people chained up to build the pyramids. The workers at the pyramids were hand-selected from across the empire to be the best workers in the world, and they were paid handsomely,
lived in royal living quarters and were even fed the equivalent of prime beef! In some ways, you.
Can say construction workers in ancient Egypt were treated better than construction workers are now!
- 10. They were exact
The reason for the pyramid’s construction is still an unanswered mystery. However, we have found many coincidences that raise more questions than we already had.
The pyramids have their tips perfectly aligned with the Thuban star, the north star of the time. The Thuban star wasn’t that bright, and many people are confused about how the Egyptians were able to spot the principal and construct multiple megastructures that were perfectly aligned to it despite having weaker astrological knowledge.
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