Al Ahram, Giza Governorate, Egypt
GPS: 29.977412695437, 31.133096982925
Located on the left bank of the Nile, in the outskirts of the city of Cairo, the Giza pyramid complex represents the oldest and most massive monuments in the world. These large-scale constructions serve as a place of royal necropolis, burial and eternal abode of the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. Supposed to offer immortality to their founders, they are dated almost 5,000 years (the middle of the 3rd millennium BC). This period corresponds to the Old Kingdom of Egypt and the golden age of the pyramids.
The Giza Pyramid Complex succeeds the first mastabas and step pyramids of Egypt, more modest-sized funeral structures foreshadowing the monumental pyramids. It is the pharaoh Sneferu, second sovereign of the Fourth Dynasty, who evolves the construction techniques to lead to the first pyramid with smooth faces (pyramid of Meidum). His son Khufu (or Cheops) inherits this know-how and begins the royal construction site of a pyramid complex on the Giza Plateau. The latter consists of three large aligned pyramids, decorated with a colossal sculpture of Sphinx with a human head and a lion’s body: the Pyramid of Khufu (the oldest and largest also called the Great Pyramid of Giza), the Pyramid of Khafre or Chephren (second son of Khufu) and the Pyramid of Menkaure (little son of Khufu succeeding Chephren). First excavations carried out in the 20th century reveal that these smooth-faced pyramids are surrounded by other vestiges: the workers’village, funeral burials, an ancient ship (solar boat) and smaller pyramids.
With its colossal dimensions, the Pyramid of Khufu was 146 meters high (against 138 meters today) with a constant slope of 51 degrees. According to archaeologists, it consists of around 2 million blocks of stone weighing more than 2 tonnes each on average. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and remains the only structure to exist today. The recent discovery of a set of old papyrus and wooden boats give new elements of understanding on the realization of this extraordinary site. A network of port cities and a system of artificial canals, specially fitted out, made it possible to take advantage of the annual floods of the Nile to transport the stones as close as possible to the Giza Plateau.