The Egyptian pyramids are one of the grandest edifices of ancient world architecture indicating a grand leap of human civilization.
In Egypt, pyramids were built as the tombs of the pharaohs. The first Pharaohs erected simple tombs called ‘mastabas’, which consisted square rooms with coffins, mummies and some belongings. Then came the stylish step pyramid. In the Fourth Dynasty, during the rule of king Snefru pyramids became smooth sided. The scholars accept that pyramids were built as monuments of royal solar and stellar cults.
Some Popular Pyramid Sites:
Lepsius in 1842 made a list of pyramids, which counted the number of pyramids at 67, but since his time more pyramids, has been discovered. The present number of Egyptian pyramids as per the sources ranges from 80 to 110.
Some Important Pyramid Sites As Per The Archaeologists:
Abu Rawash is the most northerly pyramid site. Present archaeological surveys regard this as the third largest pyramid about the same size of the pyramid of Menkaure, the third largest Giza pyramid.
Pyramid of Khufu, popularly known as The Great Pyramid is located in Giza, in outer reaches the city of Cairo. Pyramid of Khafre, which is relatively small and Pyramid of Menkaure are also located here. Great Sphinx also resides here. Giza also consists of a number of satellite edifices called the Leen pyramids.
Giza Necropolis became popular since the Hellenistic era when Antipater of Sidon listed the Great Pyramid as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It has been a hotspot tourist destination since the yore and is the only remaining wonder of the ancient world.
Zawyet el Aryan
This is the site of two unfinished Old Kingdom Pyramids. The northern monument is believed to be of Pharaoh Nebka’s and the southern one is of the Third Dynasty Pharaoh Khaba’s.
Abu Sir was the main royal necropolis during the Fifth Dynasty. Seven Egyptian pyramids adorn this site. Though the architectural excellence is not up to the level of the Fourth dynasty. This site speaks of a less glorious period in rule and of economics. All the chief pyramids of Abu Sir are built as step pyramids. The three prominent pyramids are Sahure, Neferirkare Kakai and Niuserre.
The other famous pyramid sites are Saqqara, Dahshur, Hawarra , El- Lahun, Mazghuna, Lisht and Meidum. Some archaeologists opine that the Meidum pyramid, one of the three pyramids constructed during the reign of Sneferu, might be the first failed attempt of constructing a ‘true’ or smooth sided pyramid.
The great Egyptian Pyramids exudes the charm and mystery and arouses the curiosity and interest of the travelers and scholars worldwide. It is the mystifying edifice of the mystic ancient Egypt.