The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and most imposing structure on earth. It is over 4500 years old and is deservedly acknowledged as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The purpose of the pyramid as well as the question of how it was constructed remain a mystery to this day, despite years of scientific study and many fantastical theories.
We know that the Great Pyramid was built by the Egyptian Pharaoh, Khufu (also known by its Greek name Cheops). The architect of that work was Hemiunu. The Great Pyramid was completed around 2770 B.C. and is part of the Giza pyramid complex, and part of a group of three great pyramids all built at approximately the same time. The pyramid is located on the outskirts of the modern city of Cairo.
The Great Pyramid was the tallest building until the fourteenth century (finally surpassed by the spire of Lincoln Cathedral in England) and the highest stone building in the world until well into the nineteenth century. To put this in perspective, this means that the Great Pyramid was the tallest building on earth for a period of over 4,500 years. Considering that it was built by one of the earliest human civilizations, with comparatively primitive tools and building techniques, this achievement is even more striking. When the Great Pyramid was built, most of the world's population was still nomadic or lived in primitive villages, had not yet mastered agriculture, or invented the wheel. If this monument still impresses and awes us today, imagine the effect that the sight of the pyramids must have had on ancient humans.
The Great Pyramid was built with about 2,300,000 blocks of stone, whose average weight is two and a half tons per block, although some of them weighing up to sixty tons. Originally it was covered with about 27,000 blocks of polished white limestone blocks weighing several tons each. The pyramid maintained this appearance until the early fourteenth century, when an earthquake caused the limestone cladding to fall off. Subsequently, the Ottoman Turks used this coating for the construction of various buildings in Cairo and the Mosque of Hassan. It is believed that the pyramid took over 20 years to build. This may seem like a long time, but when one considers that many of the great cathedrals in Europe were built over the course of centuries, it is remarkable that ancient Egypt had the technical know how as well as the social organization needed to complete the project in such a short time.
The Great Pyramid is a marvel of engineering, not only in terms of its size but in its internal structure. There are a number of internal chambers, and passageways within including a hall with the longest cantilevered roof ever built. The purpose of this hall, as with most of the internal structures of the pyramids is not fully understood.
It was customary for Pharaohs to be buried with great treasure, based on the belief that they would be able to enjoy these riches in the next life. Even a minor Pharaoh such as Tutankhamun was buried with an enormous amount of gold and luxury items. One would therefore have expected the Great Pyramid, which was built by one of the greatest rulers of Egypt, to have contained vast treasures. However none has been found, and the rooms inside the Great Pyramid were mostly empty, though archaeologists have found hand tools belonging to the workmen.
The lack of any objects, within the pyramid has been attributed to the work of grave robbers. However it is significant that not even the mummy of the king has been located, though mummies were generally not stolen by ancient grave robbers. As well, other pyramids that were clearly subjected to looting still yielded some funerary artefacts and clear evidence that the structure was used as a tomb. In this case, there is no clear evidence what the pyramid was used for.
Partly as a result of these uncertainties about the purpose of the pyramid, the Great Pyramid often plays a role in non-scientific, esoteric and spiritual philosophies, which are referred collectively as Pyramidology.
An interesting detail is the presence of so-called air shafts in the north and south walls. The shafts are only about 25 inches wide and high. The shafts in the lower chamber stop in the middle of the pyramid. Recent research by a robotic camera showed that arrive at a door which no one knows why it is there. The shafts are linked to the position of the stars. If one looks out from a corridor, they see 4 big stars that represent gods. The shafts in the upper chamber will go through the entire pyramid, hence they are called air shafts. No other Egyptian pyramids has such shafts.
There is also a persistent rumor that the Pyramid houses a library, or hall of records, a vast storehouse of the knowledge of the ancient Egyptians. There are pseudo scientists headed by Edgar Cayce the media who believe that the building dates from 10,000 BC. and built by Atlanteans. This would in a room all have hidden documents.
There are also more scientific data to support this theory. A text from ancient Egypt tells of a king searched the pyramid to find the wisdom of Thoth. Some ancient Greeks also believed that the pyramid was the tomb of the god Hermes.
After the Arabs conquered Egypt, they too explored the pyramid for hidden rooms and treasures. Around 820 A.D. the caliph Al-Mamun made a hole in the side of the pyramid to look for lost knowledge. Modern explorers have used ground penetrating radar and ultrasound in an attempt to make the structure yield its secrets, but to this day it is not certain whether there are any other rooms or what secrets remain undiscovered.
It is not certain whether the Great Pyramid contains a number of as yet undiscovered rooms, and
Opinions differ about the exact date of construction of the pyramid, but experts agree that was built during the reign of Khufu (Cheops) that is, in the first half of the XXVI a. C., for his chaty, architect Hemiunu.
The Interior of the Pyramid
The pyramid consists of three main chambers, both located inside the pyramid, now called King's Chamber and Queen's House, and the underground chamber.
A chamber was entered from the north side, by a descending passage, obstructed by the end of large blocks of granite, which communicates with two passages, one ascending, which empties into the Grand Gallery, and another downward, reaching to the manhole.
The Grand Gallery
The Grand Gallery is a great passage upward of about 47 meters long and eight feet high. The walls of the Grand Gallery are flattened to a height of eight feet, from there, spread, forming a false ceiling for approximation of the courses.
The House of the king
The King's Chamber is made up of slabs of granite and is rectangular, with smooth walls and ceiling, without decoration, and only contains an empty granite sarcophagus without inscription, placed there during construction of the pyramid, since it is wider the passageways; on the roof are discharge chambers, and a gable, to divert the heavy pressure exerted by the upper blocks of the pyramid. It is accessed by an anteroom through a horizontal passage of the upper end of the Grand Gallery.
The House of the Queen
The Queen's House, was given this name by the Arabs, but according to most Egyptologists, this chamber is not actually dedicated to the king's wife but rather to the Ka (one of the three souls) of the Pharaoh. This chamber is located almost in the center of the pyramid, accessed through a horizontal passage that connects to the bottom of the Grand Gallery, initially concealed by the paving stones. It has arectangular, smooth, walls, undecorated, with a niche.
The Underground Chamber
The subterranean chamber, excavated in the basement, is rectangular, with uneven surfaces, walls and roof levels; contains two dwellings, as a sarcophagus, a well and a small gallery. It is accessed by a descending passage, which is an extension of the first corridor of the pyramid. Also this statement with the Grand Gallery through a narrow tunnel, nearly vertical, perforated blocks.
The ventilation channels
The ventilation Channels are two narrow chutes along the north and sout walls of the pyramid. They are called Ventilation Channels or Vents because this is how they are currently used. They are also used to carry electrical wiring into the interior of the pyramid. However their original purpose is unknown since the House of the Queen did not communicate with the interior or the pyramid until recently, when the original granite slabs that covered the walls were removed.
The ventilation channels: real start of each chamber two narrow chute on the north and south walls, called vents, because that is its current use, ventilate using electric thrusters; original function is unknown because the House of Queen did not communicate with the interior in the last part, since they were covered by large granite slabs lining the walls. The King House was discovered by R. Howard Vyse, and the Chamber of the Queen W. Dixon.
Cameras and interior passages
1. Original entrance at the north face, which is currently blocked
2. Access today ordered the opening of Al-Mamun
3. Granite blocks, sealing off access to the higher passage
4. Passage communicating with the vault
6. Passenger access to the Great Gallery
7. Queen's House
8. Passage communicating with the Queen's House
9. Great Gallery
10. King's Chamber and chambers of discharge
12. Drilled passage that connects the Grand Gallery and the manhole
7.10 Ventilation channels