African Destinations - Famous Ancient
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.