Egyptian Pyramids, which are Ancient History’s most important monuments were built during the time when Egypt was the most powerful and prosperous civilization in the world. They inspire great mystery and awe even to the present day.
Among the dozens of the pyramids, the Great Pyramids of Giza have worldwide popularity. They are some of the most amazing man-made wonders of the world today.
Archaeologists believe that the earliest known Egyptian pyramids are the ones located at Saqqara, northwest of Memphis in Egypt. The oldest among them is the Step Pyramid that was constructed by the first dynasty of the Old Kingdom around 2630 BC – 2611 BC.
Egypt enjoyed political stability and economic prosperity during the third and fourth dynasties of the Old Kingdom. The kings, given the unique title – pharaoh, were considered to be an intermediary between the gods and the people. Hence, they held a special and unique position in Egyptian society. Their grandeur must be kept intact even after their passing. The people further believed that the deceased king became Osiris – god of the dead and therefore, the king’s spirit must be properly looked after.
Ancient Egyptians were of the view that when the king passed away, part of his spirit – “ka” – stayed in his body. Thus, the corpse was surrounded with essentials they may need in their afterlife such as food, gold vessels, furniture etc. To ensure that there is no setback to the kings’ magnificent stature after their death, majestic pyramids were constructed by their subjects.
History tells that from the start of the Dynastic Era (2950 B.C.), royal tombs were converted into “mastabas”. They were first carved into rocks and then covered with a flat-roofed rectangular structure. With time, the mastabas were adapted into pyramids.
The first pyramid builder was Imhotep – a priest and healer. During the construction of the Step Pyramid, which started during the reign of Djoser, gathered around six stepped layers of stone that gradually reached the staggering height of 204 feet (62 meters). At that time, it was the tallest building.
Around the Step Pyramid, various courtyards, temples, and shrines were built so that Djoser could enjoy his afterlife. After Djoser, the stepped pyramid became a tradition for royal burials. However, there is no pyramid that is as famous as the Great Pyramids of Giza, located on a plateau on the west bank of the Nile River. The Great Pyramid is regarded as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
About the Author:
The author of this article Amita Vadlamudi is a prolific blogger and writer of many articles on the subject of ancient Egypt, including the ones listed below: