The Great Egyptian Pyramids

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• Part 2: Why Were They Built?
Part 3: How Were They Built?

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7 Wonders of the Ancient World
An Introduction to Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Civilizations

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Part 1: The Large Stones

We certainly know that the Pyramids existed because they're still with us. Rising out of the desert sands, the Pyramids of Egypt stand as a monument to the skill and determination of the Egyptian pharaohs and their ability to get thousands of people to do hard labor for generations.

Huge blocks of rock were cut from places many miles away and taken by boat to Giza and other places where pyramids were being built. The slaves used a series of logs rolling on the ground to move the giant stones. Then, they put them in place as parts of a pyramid.

The first pyramids were called "Step Pyramids" because they looked like giant steps. (The greatest of these was commissioned by the pharaoh Djoser.) The pyramids we most recognize today, the smooth ones, were built later.

The Pyramids were built over a period of many years. The first great pyramid was ordered built by King Khufu (or Cheops), about 2600 B.C. This is the Great Pyramid, near Giza. It is 481 feet tall and 755 feet wide at each base. Historians believe that about 100,000 workers slaved away for more than 20 years to build this one pyramid.

Other pyramids followed, ordered built by other pharaohs. Historians still don't know how many pyramids were built in all because they are always finding remains of others beneath the constantly blowing sands of the Sahara Desert.

Graphics courtesy of ArtToday

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