Pyramids of Giza Approx. Time: 7 hours
Activity Level: Moderate

The Pyramids are the only surviving of the Seven Ancient Wonders. They are located in Cairo and were built to serve as tombs for royalty. It is believed that it took around 20 years to build the great Pyramid.

Cheops is the largest and the oldest of the Pyramids of Giza. Not much is known about Cheops (Khufu). The tomb had been robbed long before archeologists came upon it. Any information about him was taken with the objects inside the tomb. He is thought to have been the ruler of a highly structured society and he must have been very wealthy. He was buried alone in this massive tomb. His wives may have been buried nearby in smaller mastabas. The top platform is 10m square. The base of the pyramid is 754 feet and covers 13 acres. The original entrance to the pyramid was about 15m higher than the entrance that is used today.

The Pyramid of Chephren is often called the "Second Pyramid". Chephren is the son and successor of Khufu and Hensuten. This pyramid is designed more modestly than Khufu's. The Chephren pyramid originally was 10 feet (3m) shorter and 48 feet (14.6m) more narrow at the base. The estimated weight of all the stones in the pyramid is 4,880,000 tons. Because it is built higher on the plateau, it looks taller from most angles than Khufu's pyramid. The slope of the angles is higher, 53 degrees compared to Khufu's 51 degrees.

The Pyramid of Menkaure' (Mycerinus) is the smallest of the three pyramids of Giza and shows the beginning of the decline in workmanship in the Egyptian pyramid building. The attention to detail is not as it is on the earlier pyramid. Menkaure' was the successor to Chephren. The pyramid was not complete when Menkaure' died. Shepseskaf, who was Menkaure's son, finished the pyramid. The granite encasement was never finished. The pyramid stands 66.5m high, which is much smaller than the other two pyramids at Giza. Another difference between Menkaure's and Chephren's and Khufu's pyramid is that Menkaure's burial chamber was the lower chamber. The walls were lined with granite and below the pyramid's foundation. The sarcophagus was found, but was lost at sea while it was being shipped to England. A wooden coffin was found, supposedly that of Menkaure's. It was actually put in the pyramid about 1800 years later. It is thought to have been an act of restoration. In 1968 an inscription was found near the entrance in the casing which referred to this action.

Courtesy of Egypt Tourism Board