The Great Pyramid of Giza is the ultimate symbol of Egypt, representing the incredible ancient civilizations who made such remarkable achievements more than 4,000 years ago. Set within the Giza pyramid complex, it is the last remaining monument from the original seven wonders of the ancient world, and a protected UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts millions of tourists every year. Once the resting place for King Khufu and a temple to the sun god Re, the colossal pyramid remained the tallest monument in the world for thousands of years until the advent of modernity. We take a look through a handful of incredible facts about the Great Pyramid of Giza, for those planning a visit or looking to find out more about this remarkably well-preserved historical wonder.
1. The Great Pyramid of Giza Is 481 Feet Tall
The largest Egyptian pyramid in the world, the Great Pyramid of Giza is 449 feet tall and 756 feet long on each side. At the time it was constructed the pyramid was 481 feet high, but over time the pyramid lost 31 feet from the top. Nonetheless, it is still one of the largest structures in the world, reaching well above the Statue of Liberty, Big Ben, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. How such a huge construction was made from solid blocks of stone has been the subject of discussion and debate for centuries, at a time when there would have been no access to the heavy-lifting machinery of today.
2. The Pyramid Weighs Approximately 5.7 Million Tons
The whole structure of the Pyramid of Giza is estimated to weigh 5.7 million tons, with each of the 2.3 million blocks of stone in its structure weighing around 3 tons. Such a colossal volume of stones would have to be transported from quarries near and far, and some of them would have been carried more than 500 miles to the desired site. In order to move them, researchers believe the Egyptians used wooden sledges which were pulled across the desert sand, but they would have had to wet the sand first in order to make moving the vehicles across the uneven surface of sand easier.
3. It Might Have Taken 20 Years to Build
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Experts believe the Great Pyramid of Giza took around 20 years to complete, from start to finish. They believe some 20,000 men, who were highly skilled workers, completed the construction during such an impressive time frame that would have meant each block was moved into place every five minutes of the day and night throughout that time period. How they managed to complete the work is still a subject of great mystery, although scholars believe they would have used a system of rollers, levers and ramps in order to move the phenomenally heavy stones into place. Since the pyramid gets smaller towards the top, once the lower layers and inner chambers were built, it would have taken the Egyptians less time to put the narrower upper levels in place.
4. The Great Pyramid of Giza is More Than 4,500 Years Old
The Pyramid of Giza is one of the oldest surviving monuments in the world, a great testament to the engineering ingenuity of the ancient Egyptians. Scholars estimate the pyramid was built more than 4,500 years ago, during the fourth dynasty of ancient Egypt, when the empire was ruled by the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu, who began planning the construction of the monument not long after taking up his leadership.
5. The Great Pyramid Is Visited by Over 14 Million Tourists Every Year
The Pyramid of Giza is one of the most visited and popular tourist sites in the entire world, attracting more than 14 million tourists every year, who come to marvel at the ancient monument, its sheer scale, and the weight of history it carries within its hefty walls.