The pyramids of ancient Egypt are one of the many wonders of the world. The architectural achievements they managed to pull off were astounding for the era and their prowess shows as they continue to stand to this day. The pyramid of Giza is the only one of the seven great wonders of the world that are still standing, which is a feat of its own accord.
There is so much we still don't know about the pyramids, but we have come a long way in our discoveries since the first time modern man laid eyes on them. Investigations are still ongoing inside of these monstrosities and we cannot wait to see what is to be found in the years to come. Keep reading to learn about ten things you didn't know about the pyramids!
10 Some Had Flat Tops
We generally associate pyramids as a symmetrical triangle with a pointed top, but that isn't the case with all pyramids. The first pyramid the Egyptians ever built was called the Step Pyramid of Djoser and it had a flat top and different steps the further you went up.
The pyramid consists of six layers and travels 3.5 miles underground. This structure is largely in disrepair and in dire need of some work if they want to keep the tunnels from collapsing, but the true feat is how long it has been standing already.
9 They Weren't The Only Structure Built
Pyramids were built for religious purposes and it is part of the reason why they weren't the only structure built. They also surrounded the pyramids with chapels, other tombs, and temples to help aid them in their religious practices to send souls to the afterlife.
It is believed that the corpses were brought up the Nile by boat to the temple where they were then mummified. This process would help them cross over to the other side and was an integral part of the tradition, so it is no surprise they built these other buildings to aid in the process.
8 They Used To Sparkle
The pyramids didn't use to look so dull, in fact, they glittered in the sunlight. They were originally covered in polished limestone, which might look something like glass to us today. These stones reflected light like a mirror and made the pyramids extremely visible anywhere on the landscape.
Many of the stones were lost after an earthquake in the fourteenth century, but this fact even has a weird twist. The coordinates for the pyramid of Giza are 29.9792° N, 31.1342° E and the speed of light is 299,792,458 m/s. This has sparked many theories to its connection to light as the two numbers are identical.
7 The Great Pyramid Has Air Conditioning
Air conditioning may not have been invented yet, but somehow the Egyptians managed to engineer a way to keep the internal temperature of the Great Pyramid at 68 degrees Fahrenheit. This is only true in the King's chamber, and people are still baffled by the engineering behind this anomaly.
It is unclear how they managed to secure this feat, but it is an impressive achievement on their part. The temperatures in Egypt can become unbearable, but the ancient Egyptians found a way around it when they built this tomb.
6 Many Of Them Were Robbed
There has been plenty of history lost since the first pyramids were built and a lot of that can be blamed on tomb robbers. They were built to help protect the bodies of dead kings, but as time passed they realized they were just targets for robbers. It was believed that everything you were buried with came with you to the afterlife, so Kings and Queens were buried with untold amounts of riches.
It was common for their ancestors to come and steal from them, and in some cases, they even dumped the body and took the sarcophagus. This was a major offense if you were caught and it usually ended in the person's execution.
5 It Is Still A Mystery How They Built Them
The pyramids have been studied for years and professionals are still at a loss how this civilization managed to pull it off. There have been several theories, starting with one from Herodotus who visited the site 2,000 years after they had been built.
The most accepted theory so far is that they used ramps on the inside of the pyramid to bring blocks all the way to the top. They had external ramps as well to help with moving the larger blocks, but these internal ramps help to explain part of the mystery.
4 The Great Pyramid Of Khufu Weighs 5,750,000 tons
The Great Pyramid is a modern marvel in every sense of the word, and part of that rests in the sheer weight of this monstrosity. It is comprised of 2.3 million blocks of stone that way about 2.5 tons apiece.
When you do the math you end up with the astounding number of 5,750,000 tons which is an incredibly large amount of weight. We can only imagine what it must have been like to move every single one of those blocks and cut them from the Earth by hand.
3 They Were Precise
The Egyptians wanted their building plans to be meaningful, so they aligned the tips of these monstrosities with important stars. It was thought to be an attempt to build a replica of heaven on Earth, as they set their focus on Thuban, the north star of the time period.
It is not particularly bright, but it was the Egyptians go-to for finding which direction was north. They wanted to orient them based on cardinal directions, and they managed this effortlessly with their superior knowledge of the stars.
2 They Took About 23 Years to Complete
The pyramids were not built in a day, rather, they took 23 years to complete. This might seem like a long time, but when you consider the tools they were using combined with the sheer sizes of the pyramids, it is amazing. The construction was an ongoing process that took the help of thousands of people to build and their craftsmanship shows.
It is estimated that it would take 60 to 70 men to cut out a slab of stone with copper chisels. The entire process was very sophisticated and required a large amount of teamwork, which is why they were able to be raised in such a short amount of time.
1 They Were Built By Paid Workers
It is a common misconception that the pyramids were built by slaves, but this is a false accusation. The laborers who worked on these architectural masterpieces were paid, despite what many people claim. There are those who state the Hebrew slaves helped to build these structures, but the truth is that they built Exodus.
The workers generally came from poor Egyptian families and they were given honor for the work they were doing. They were buried in a simple tomb behind the pyramids with some supplies for the afterlife, which is more than anyone would have ever given a simple slave.