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Wonders: Pyramids at Giza


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Photo: pyramid at Giza Near Cairo, in the heart of Egypt, stand the Great Pyramids of Giza. These three pyramids were built by Egyptian Kings of the 4th Dynasty: Cheops, who built the Great Pyramid at Giza roughly 4,600 years ago; his son Khafre, whose pyramid tomb is the second at Giza; and Menkaure, who is known primarily for the smallest of the three pyramids.

Historians and archaeologists disagree about how the Great Pyramids of Egypt were built. However, all agree that the construction of the Great Pyramids was a highly advanced architectural feat. For more than 43 centuries, the 481-foot Great Pyramid was ranked as the tallest structure on earth, surpassed in height only by skyscrapers of the last century. It's surface was covered with a smooth stone casing, some of which remains on Khafre's pyramid. The sloping angle of its sides is 51 degrees and 51 minutes, each side carefully oriented north, south, east, or west. The horizontal cross section of the pyramid is square at any level, with each side 751 feet long. The maximum error between side lengths is astonishingly less than 0.1%.

The Great Pyramid consists of approximately 2 million blocks of stone, each weighing more than two tons. It has been suggested that there are enough blocks in the three pyramids to build a 10-foot high, 1-foot thick wall around France. The area covered by the Great Pyramid can accommodate St Peter's in Rome, the cathedrals of Florence and Milan, and Westminster and St Paul's in London combined.

Compiled by Jamila White

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