The rich, fertile soil of the Nile valley gave birth to Egypt, a civilization that began over 5,000 years ago and lasted more than 3,000 years. The River Nile made the black soil around it productive, and the civilization of Egypt grew wealthy. For much of its history Egypt was stable. Its pharaohs, the rulers of Ancient Egypt, ruled with the help of officials called viziers who collected taxes and acted as judges.
Why were pyramids of Egypt built?
The Egyptians worshipped many gods and believed that when they died they went to the Next World. Pharaohs built elaborate tombs for themselves; the best known are the magnificent pyramids. These pyramids were built for the burial of king’s and queen’s dead bodies. It took a long time for the ancient Egyptians to develop the art of building pyramids. Stones were transported across the Nile from quarries on the east side. The base of the pyramids was nearly a perfect square. An immense amount of slave labour was needed to raise the vast structures. Stone-cutters and masons used saws upto nine feet long. The place of burial was designed in a much complicated way so that thieves were not able to find out the treasure. Usually dead bodies were put at the centre of pyramid. The Egyptians believed in an eternal life after death in a “perfect” version of Egypt. After their bodies had been preserved by embalming , pharaohs were buried in pyramid tombs. The earliest pyramids had steps. People believed the dead king’s spirit climbed the steps to join the sun god at the top. Later, the pyramids were built with smooth slanted sides. However, people could rob the pyramid tombs easily, so later pharaohs were buried in unmarked tombs in the Valley of the Kings and guarded day and night. Royal tombs were filled with food, jewellery, clothing, weapons, tools and statues of servants.
The most famous Pyramids
At present there are about 70 pyramids in Egypt, the most famous of which are the three at Gizeh near Cairo. The largest of these is the pyramid of the Pharaoh Cheops. This was once regarded as one of the seven wonders of the world. It has been estimated that these pyramids are built probably between 2690 and 2560 BC. The three famous pyramids of Egypt are the pyramids of Mycerinus, Cheops and Chephren. They are 215 feet, 481 feet and 471 feet high respectively. Among all these, the pyramid of Cheops is the highest. Sides of its base are 756 feet and the base covers an area of 13 acres. Its estimated weight is about 5,500,000 tons. The number of stone blocks used in its construction are 2,300,000. About one lac labourers were employed for its construction which were replaced every three months by new workers. These workers took about 30 years to complete it. Many instructions have been written on the inner walls of pyramids. These are for the guidance of the soul of the dead man. They warn the dead man of the dangers he might have to face during his voyage to the next world.