The Great Pyramid: Largest Pyramid in the World

The Great Pyramid: Largest Pyramid in the World

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The Great Pyramid: Largest Pyramid in the World

The great pyramid was built during the reign of Khufu, 2nd king of the
fourth dynasty (2,720-2,560 BC). It stands on the Giza plateau nearby
Cairo and is the biggest pyramid in the world. It measures 230 m (756 ft)
on each side of its base and originally measured 147 m (482 ft) high.
Beginning in the 10th century AD the entire Giza complex served as a
source of building materials for the construction of Cairo; as a result,
all three pyramids were stripped of their original smooth outer facing of

The core masonry consists of large blocks of local limestone taken from
the nearby quarries and built around and over a rocky knoll. The size of
the knoll cannot be determined, since it is completely covered by the
pyramid. The entrance to the pyramid is in the center of the northern face.
It is located in the thirteenth course of masonry from the base. This
entrance has a pointed roof formed of massive slabs of local limestone and
opens into a long steeply descending passage. From there a 36 meters long
ascending passage leads to a 35 meters long horizontal passage that leads
to the so called 'Queen's chamber'. This chamber measures 5.2 by 5.7
meters and the maximum height of its pointed roof is about 15 meters. The
north and south walls each have a small hole a few centimeters square
about 1 meter from the floor. These lead into narrow channels that
originally opened on the exterior of the pyramid. At the juncture of the
ascending and horizontal passage is an opening of a shaft which descends
to a depth of 60 meters. It opens into the lower part of the descending
passage, close to the unfinished, underground chamber, and is believed to
have been an escape shaft for the workmen who filed the ascending passage
with huge stones after the king's funeral.

From the horizontal passage the Grand Gallery, which leads to the king's
chamber, starts. It is 47 meters long and 8.5 meters high, and has a
corbelled roof. In the center of the floor is a sunken ramp about 60
centimeters deep. The Grand Gallery ends in a horizontal granite passage
which serves as an antechamber. It measures 8.4 meters long and 3.1 meters
high, and has slots for three portcullises. Beyond the antechamber is the
so-called 'King's Chamber' which is lined, roofed and paved with red
granite. It measures 5.2 by 10.8 meters and is 5.8 meters high.

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Its flat
roof is formed of nine monolithic slabs of granite. The northern and
southern walls each have an 'air channel', one of which is open to the
outside. The Pyramid can be seen to have about two hundred level courses
of squared stones. The layers all have a different thickness ranging
between approximately 50 and 145 centimeters. The average block size is
about 1 cubic meter.

On the Khufu pyramid, all the casing elements were removed in the 14th
century. The few casing stones which do remain in the Great Pyramid all
lie in the 1.5 meter thick bottom course and cannot be representative of
the stones which would have been used in the higher parts of the
construction. The only examples of face work such as this which remain are
those on the pyramids at Meidum, Dashur andGiza.
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