The Giza Necropolis or Giza pyramid complex is not the only pyramid complex in Egypt, but it is the largest and most well known. It is situated right beside Greater Cairo (the city is only a few hundred meters away). The Giza necropolis is famous for the great pyramids (Great Pyramid of Giza, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure). These pyramids had their own funerary and temple complexes that included the Great Sphinx of Giza.

There are many tours of the Giza Necropolis and one can browse a range of tour options on Memphis Tours. The Pyramids of Giza were built to endure for eternity, and while 4,500 years is not exactly eternity, they are some of the oldest structures still standing today. They have bewildered and dazzled travelers in Egypt throughout the ages and even today the exact methods of how they were built are not fully understood.

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The Giza Necropolis - A Wonder Of The World

The Giza Necropolis or Giza pyramid complex includes the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing today - namely the Great Pyramid of Giza. But the other major monuments like the Pyramid of Kharfra, the Pyramid of Menkaure, and the Great Sphinx of Giza are majestic and stunning enough to be wonders of the world in their own rights.

The Pyramids of Giza have been one of the world's first World Heritage Sites since 1979.

  • Largest Pyramid In Egypt: The Great Pyramid
  • Second-Largest Pyramid: The Pyramid of Khafre

The Giza Necropolis was built during the fourth dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt. Archeologists consider the fourth dynasty to be the Golden Age of Ancient Egypt. So great are these pyramids that none of the subsequent pyramids were able to come close to rivaling them in their size or quality. The Giza Necropolis is important as the pinnacle of Egyptian pyramid building.

Despite their fame and role in shaping the Western perception of Egypt, the Giza Pyramids only represent a short moment in Ancient Egypt's extremely long history.

Related: See The Pyramid Of Djoser: The Oldest Intact Egyptian Pyramid

Why the Giza Necropolis Was Built

The pyramids are funerary complexes that are believed to have been built to entomb the remains of the deceased god-pharaohs. It was believed that a part of the pharaoh's spirit (called "ka") remain in his corpse.

  • Why Giza Was Built: To Entomb The Pharaoh And Guide Him to The Afterlife

The ancient Egyptians thought that it was important for his remains to receive the proper care so that the "former Pharaoh could perform his new duties as king of the dead". It is also thought that the pyramid served as a storage pit for the things the Pharaoh would need in the afterlife.

The embalmed body of the Pharaoh was placed underneath or within the pyramid so that it would be protected and so that it would transform and ascend to the afterlife.

The pyramids are all ruins, they are not stand-alone structures. Instead, they all had their complexes that included temples, causeways, cemeteries, worker's villages, secondary pyramids, and even the Great Sphinx of Giza. It is difficult to imagine what the pyramids once looked like when they were first built.

  • Location: 5.5 Miles West of the Nile Adjacent to The City of Giza
  • Built: Between 2600 and 2500 BC

Related: Prior To Being Separated, The Great Pyramids Looked Like This

The Great Pyramids Of Giza

The Great Pyramid of Giza

The first of the Giza pyramids were built by Pharaoh Khufu in circa 2550 BC. His pyramid rose to become the Great Pyramid reaching a height of some 481 feet (147 meters) above the plateau. Khufu stood on the proverbial shoulders of giants - in this case, his father before him who had experimented with building the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid at the Dahshur Necropolis.

It is estimated there are around 2.3 million stone blocks in the Great Pyramid with each averaging between 2.5 to 15 tons.

Pyramid Of Khafre

Khufu's son, Pharaoh Khafre, continued the tradition and built the second pyramid at Giza, circa 2520 B.C. It is believed that the Great Sphinx of Giza was part of his pyramid complex with limestone being carved from around the Sphinx to build the pyramid. The Sphinx is thought to have been the sentinel for the tomb complex.

  • Sphinx: Likely The Sentinel For The Pyramid of Khafre

The Pyramid of Menkaure

The third pyramid is considerably smaller than the other two and was built by Pharaoh Menkaure circa 2490 B.C. But where it was more sophisticated is that it has a much more complex mortuary temple.

The building spree that gave rise to the pyramids continues to stump scientists today. There is still uncertainty about exactly how they were built. Still, much has been learned, and now it is known that the builders were skilled and well-fed Egyptian workers.

Visiting the Pyramids of Giza is a must.