12 Unexpected Facts About The Ancient Pyramids In Egypt
The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Thousands of tourists from all over the world flock to Egypt every year to see for themselves this glorious monument that has stood the test of time.
While there have been other pyramids from the old world discovered in other parts of the world like China, the Egyptian pyramids’ mystery and intrigue remain undefeated.
These old structures are an architect’s dream.
From their precision to design, researchers are amazed at what Egyptians in pre-historic times could achieve with little technology. Here are some facts about pyramids.
1. Built To Preserve Tombs
Pyramids were burial sites for Egyptian Pharaohs. The Egyptians were spiritual people who believed in life after death. Because of this, they made pyramids to preserve the tombs, bodies, and souls of their Pharaohs.
To further smoothen their transition into the afterlife, Pharaohs were buried in the tombs with their belongings and riches. This was to ensure that they had everything they needed.
You can tell they believed in the afterlife with their tradition of making offerings to the dead.
It was discovered that the pyramids had some chambers below them called Mastabas where people of lower rank would be buried.
The existence of Mustabas further shows how far the ancient Egyptians went in ensuring their Pharaoh’s smooth transition to the afterlife.
It was believed that the souls buried in the mastaba tombs would continue serving the King in the afterlife.
3. No Slavery
At some point, it was believed that the construction of the pyramids was forced upon slaves. This theory was later squashed when researchers found out that it was done on a voluntary basis.
People would volunteer to help in the construction and would be paid a daily wage for their work.
Since the building of these pyramids was no easy task and heavy rocks were involved, workers were provided with complimentary food to give them strength.
It could not have been done by slaves also because it was regarded as an honor to build these monuments.
4. West Of The Nile
Most of the Pyramids in Egypt were built to the West of River Nile. River Nile was the main source of transport at the time.
By burying their Pharaoh’s to the West, they were giving their Pharaohs eternal life of sorts.
This is because they associated the setting of the sun with the afterlife as the sun would ‘die’ in the West before rising in the East the next morning.
5. Heavy Stones Used
The stones used to construct the pyramids were very heavy, approximately 5 to 10 tonnes each. Some have likened this weight to that of an elephant.
Considering how tall the pyramids are, it remains a mystery how the builders got these heavy stones up there without today’s technology and machinery.
The Pyramid of Giza, for example, was built 4500 years ago. It remained the tallest structure until the 19th century.
6. Giant Clock
The Great Pyramid of Giza has the surprising ability to tell the time by the hour through its shadow.
It can also tell seasons as well as equinoxes and solstices. For example, during spring, the pyramid’s shadow does not show at noon.
7. Air-Conditioning Box
While the temperatures in Egypt are known to fluctuate day and night, the Egyptians built the pyramids in such a way that the temperatures inside were never influenced by that outside.
The temperatures inside the pyramids remained at a constant level of 20 degrees Celcius. It remains a mystery to researchers how they managed to pull this off.
8. Mysterious Tunnels
One of the greatest architectural mysteries of all time also had a web of chambers, tunnels, and passages underground and inside the pyramids before the development was rediscovered.
The great pyramid of Giza was also known as ikhet, which translates to glorious light. This is because when it was constructed, these buildings were made of limestone, and the outer layer was well-polished to a high sheen.
This casing of limestone would make the pyramids shine like jewels and diamonds when hit by the sun.
The reflective nature of this surface helped to deflect the sunlight and keep the mummies preserved.
10. Used Astronomy
All the pyramids were aligned to the stars and the constellation of Orion. They all pointed to the north, and the pole star was precisely above the pyramid.
The tombs are aligned in north-south with an accuracy of up to 0.05 degrees.
11. Flat Top Pyramids
Not all the pyramids had the triangular sides we associate with pyramids today.
Among the earliest pyramids built, their roofing was flat. A good example is the tomb of Djoser the Egyptian King located in Saqqara.
As mentioned earlier, the kings were buried with their riches and wealth to assist them in the afterlife.
Over the years, however, many tombs and pyramids have been raided and the precious gems and treasures were stolen.