Ancient Pyramids Facts for Kids

  • The pyramids were built in Egypt.
  • They are some of the most magnificent buildings that people have ever made. The pyramids were built for kings, who had a special job in ancient Egypt.
  • The pyramids were mostly built in the late third dynasty and continued until the sixth dynasty, about 4,000 years ago.

The great pyramids of Giza are the only remaining monuments of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. They are perhaps the most famous and analyzed buildings in history.

These giant monuments were the best for a long time after they were made. They are so tall and have been around for a long time. People always love them because they are so big and perfect.

Many people have thoughts about where they come from. But no one knows for sure. Some people fantasize that aliens built them. Historians now find it clear that the ancient Egyptians made these magnificent structures. It is still a mystery how they were able to do this, though. Researchers are still trying to figure out how they lived and what they were paid.

Pyramids were tombs that indicate that the dead were prepared for their eternal existence, with people promised everlasting life and pharaohs expected to merge with gods. Mummification was used to keep the body together so that the ethereal soul could animate it after death.

Read more about Ancient Egypt

How to Build a Pyramid

The first step in building a pyramid is to find a good place. Ancient Egyptians wanted to make sure that it was on the west side of the Nile River because this is where the sun sets, and people believed that dead people went there. The king’s lodging would have to be close enough to the capital so that he could inspect the construction work whenever he pleased.

The pyramids also had to be built on high ground away from water when the Nile flooded. However, it couldn’t be too far because they would use the river to transport limestone blocks. The construction site should be in a place where the ground was solid, ideal for building. 

Memphis was the most powerful and renowned city in Egypt and the entire world. During that time, nearly 100 pyramids were built.

The shape of the pyramids was meant to imitate the sun’s rays. The texts that talked about how the rays were a pathway up which the pharaoh would climb to reach heaven were written to say that there would be stairs.

The pyramid was connected to the sacred ben-ben stone. People thought that it had special powers. The pyramid was a place for the dead pharaoh to reach a happy afterlife.

It is thought that there were thousands of skilled workers and laborers on the job, not slaves. They built the pyramid over about two decades. They probably used ramps to move the blocks into place. Archeologists think that as few as 20,000 workers, together with supporting staff (bakers, doctors, priests, etc.), would have been sufficient for the job.

The pyramid builders began to write narratives about events in the king’s reign on the walls of the burial chamber and inside the rest of the pyramid. The Pyramid Texts are ancient Egyptian religious writings considered among the earliest significant religious works written by ancient Egyptians.

From this perspective, ancient Egyptian tombs provide a unique glimpse into the lives of their residents. Tomb art isn’t only about how Egyptians died; it’s also about how they lived their life. Images of ancient farmers working in the fields and managing animals, fishing and fowling, carpentry, clothing, religious rituals, and burial practices have been found in tombs.

Three Ancient Pyramids

The pyramids’ names—Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure—correspond to the pharaohs who commissioned them.

Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops Pyramid)

It was known as the Great Pyramid, and it is the largest of the three, with sides that measure 755.75 feet at the base. The original height of this structure was 481.4 feet, though its actual size has been lost to antiquity.

Khafre and Menkaure’s pyramids are not as big as Khufu’s. Herodotus said that the reigns of Khufu and his son, Khafre, were harsh. But this does not seem to be true because people in Egypt still say that Khufu was a wise ruler.

Khufu’s pyramid is the largest single structure ever erected on the Earth. Its sides rise at a slope of 51°52′ and are aligned with the four cardinal points of the compass.

The Great Pyramid covered 13 acres and was constructed with around 2.3 million stones weighing a ton each. It was erected to match the points of the compass.

The enormous monument is made of yellowish limestone blocks. The outer casing (almost completely gone now) and the inner passageways are lighter limestones.

The inside of the tomb is made from huge pieces of stone. Many blocks were cut, moved, and put together to make a big building which is an amazing work of engineering.

For Khufu’s three wives, three little pyramids were erected. One of the pyramids was discovered nearby, and within it, we discovered an empty sarcophagus for his mother. Khufu’s pyramid, like other pyramids, was surrounded by rows of mastabas where the king’s relatives or officials were buried to accompany and support him in the afterlife.

The Grand Gallery and other chambers inside the Great Pyramid are accessible only by crawling along a narrow ascending chamber that opens into an amazing space known as the Grand Corridor. This beautiful passage rises to 26 feet. It takes you directly to the King’s Chamber, made from red granite.

The king’s sarcophagus is made of red granite, and it is right in the middle of the pyramid. The purpose of this room was to hide the entrance with a series of big rocks and lots of stone on top.

The mortuary of Khufu included seven large boat pits. Five of these were a model and may have been used in the afterlife to transport the king to heaven.

Khufu had two pits in which he kept boats. The boats were completely disassembled and placed in the pits. One of these vessels has been resurrected. This cedar boat, measuring 142 feet long, consisted of 1,224 separate pieces stitched together with ropes.

Khafre Pyramid (Pyramid of Chefren)

The Khafre Pyramid in Giza is the second largest of all the ancient pyramids. It was built for King Khafre, also known as Chephren, who was the son of King Khufu. He built the Great Pyramid in Giza.

During excavation, a massive statue of the king was found buried in the floor of a temple. It’s made from a hard rock called gneiss. This sculpture shows the king sitting on a lion’s throne with symbols of lotus and papyrus. He is holding a hieroglyph for stability.

The king was helped in his task by the Horus falcon. The Horus falcon wraps around the back of the king’s headdress. Today we know there were about 23 images of this pharaoh in this temple before.

The Great Sphinx of Giza, commonly referred to as the Sphinx of Giza, one of ancient pyramids in Egypt.

The Great Sphinx was one of the most remarkable monuments built during the Old Kingdom of Egypt, and it is located near the heart of Khafre’s pyramid complex. The colossal monument is 240 feet long and 66 feet high.

The Great Sphinx was the world’s largest statue when it was built. It was revered as if it were a god by people of antiquity. It was thought to resemble Horus. It served to guard the kings’ tombs in Giza.

Pyramid of Menkaure (Mykerinus Pyramid)

The Menkaure pyramid is the third pyramid and the tiniest of the Giza pyramids. It was built for King Menkaure (Mycerinus in Greek). King Menkaure, like all other rulers who possessed pyramids at Giza, ruled Egypt during the 4th dynasty.

The pyramid of Menkaure was formerly 215 feet high, but removing the pyramid’s outer casing and capstone has reduced it to 204 feet. The lower portion of the pyramid of Menkaure was encased in pink granite, while the upper portions were encased in white limestone, just like other Giza pyramids.

Excavation at the site of Menkaure’s pyramid revealed a series of statues depicting the pharaoh. The beautiful diad of the king and queen was discovered in the valley temple, which was originally erected around the open court. Pharaoh Menkaure’s black granite sarcophagus was discovered within the monument, but it sank while being transported to England in 1838.

Pharaoh Burials after the Pyramids

The pharaohs gradually ceased constructing pyramids during the New Kingdom, instead opting to be buried in the Valley of the Kings, which is about 300 miles south of Giza. The valley became a place where pharaohs, queens, and aristocrats could be buried.

The king’s underground tombs were full of treasures that people might need in the afterlife. Tombs were made to give food and drink to the people in the next world. They also had objects that could help you live forever.

For ages, tomb robbers, treasure hunters, and archaeologists have scoured the Valley of the Kings looking for riches—but it still surprises them. Many people believed that the 62 tombs unearthed before 1922 represented all there was to find in the area—until Howard Carter stumbled upon the burial place of a young king named Tutankhamun.


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