Great Pyramid of Giza

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 August, 2009, 12:00am

Ancient wonder

There are 138 pyramids in Egypt. The most famous one is the Pyramid of Khufu. It is also called the Pyramid of Cheops and the Great Pyramid of Giza. Giza is a place near Cairo, the capital city of Egypt.

The Pyramid of Khufu is one of the famous Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It is the only one left. Most of the others, such as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, were destroyed by earthquakes centuries ago.

A place to rest

We are not really sure where Khufu finally rested in his huge tomb. It was probably in a chamber high up inside the pyramid, so he could be close to the heavens. But there is another chamber underneath the pyramid. One expert thinks the lower one might have been made in case Khufu died before the pyramid was finished.

Glittering monument

The Great Pyramid is more than 4,500 years old. For nearly 4,000 years, it was the tallest man-made structure in the world. It was nearly 147 metres tall - now it has lost a little of its height due to erosion. That may not sound so tall, but it's about 40 storeys high. Bear in mind the Egyptians did not have the machinery we have today to build skyscrapers.

Not everyone agrees about how Egypt's pyramids were built. Most experts think it took about 20 years to build the Great Pyramid. They also believe the more than 2.3 million blocks of limestone were dug from the ground and then carried down the Nile River by boat.

We are still not sure if the pyramid was built by slaves and how many people built it, but probably there were about 100,000 workers.

Man of mystery

Khufu, the man behind the Great Pyramid, was a pharaoh - an Egyptian high king. He probably reigned for about 25 years, but some people think he might have reigned much longer. Pyramids were built as gigantic tombs for the mummies of pharaohs. But Khufu's mummy has never been found.

For a long time, we did not even know what Khufu looked like. But in 1903, a British expert on Egypt - an Egyptologist - found a tiny statue with no head in a temple in Egypt. When he realised that the headless statue was Khufu, he spent three days sifting the sand to find the head.

now do this

1 Khufu is ...

a. a place near Cairo

b. the name of a skyscraper

c. an ancient Egyptian pharaoh

2 The Pyramid of Khufu is ...

a. 100 years old

b. the tallest building in the world

c. one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

3 The Pyramid of Khufu is made out of more than ... blocks of limestone

a. 51 million

b. 2.3 million

c. 23 million

Answers:

1. c, 2. c, 3. b