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African Destinations - Famous Ancient Egyptian Monuments
By Jackline Mwathe

The Great Pyramid of Giza and the Great Sphinx of Giza are the most famous ancient monuments in Egypt. In fact, these pyramids are the oldest and the only remaining monuments of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The ancient people of Egypt believed that death was a continuous journey to the other world.

The pyramids were used as tombs for the Kings. Burying the Kings inside the pyramids provided maximum protection, transformation and ascension to the after life. Egyptians believe that the ancient pyramids were designed to inspire the stable pyramidal natural formation of the sand dunes.

Due to scarcity of wood, the pyramids and other architectural buildings were built of mud-bricks, limestone and sandstone. Bricks were used to construct the royal palaces, stones for tomb and temple construction while mud from the Nile river was used to build houses by the Egyptian people. All ancient tombs and temples were built of tough stones since they were meant to last for millions of years.

The pyramids are a good example of monument architectural designs that are still in good shape today. In order for the houses to last long, the mud was placed in molds and left to dry in the hot sun until it was hard enough for construction.

The Great pyramid of Giza were built in the Fourth Dynasty by three Kings (Khufu, Khafre, Menkaure). The pyramid of Khufu is the largest with an original height of 481 feet. Covering about 13 kilometers of land at the base. 2,300,000 limestone blocks were used to complete the pyramid. Each limestone block had a weight of about 2.5 tons. The pyramid of Khafre belonged to Khufu son while that of Menkaure belonged to the King successor.

The Great Sphinx was built to guard the great Kings monuments of ancient Egypt. This sculpture is built in front of the pyramid of Khafre and it has a human head and a lion body. The age of the monument and the purpose it was built for is still being debated.

The construction of the ancient Egypt begun with King Dioser during the Third Dynasty. Built about 15 kilometers away from Giza, this pyramid is the world's oldest known monumental stone structure. This was a step pyramid, which was designed by layering six tomb structures of descending size one on top of the other.

The Luxor Museum is a good place to learn more about the Egypt ancient history. Opened in 1975, this museum contains displays of highest quality artworks dating from the Pre-dynasty period to the Islamic era. The beautifully displayed objects and sculptures on a low-lit spacious room is an exciting place to visit.


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