Explore 33 Interesting Facts about the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids

If you are a pyramid junkie, test your knowledge with these 33 baffling facts about Egyptian pyramids!

Pyramids always remained a mystery to man. Even in 2018, we are discovering more about these ancient man made marvels. Much to surprise, with every discovery we are realizing that there is more to uncover than ever before!

Here’s the list of some of the most interesting pyramid facts that you might not know:

The Engineering Wonder!

Explore 33 Interesting Facts about the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids
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The Pyramid of Giza was built 4500 years ago in Egypt, yet it remained as the tallest man-made building until the 19th century. That means it stood its place as the tallest building for 3800 years!

The baffling thing about these ancient pyramids is the Egyptians ability to build something so gigantic with prehistoric building methods!

More in Number Than You Think!

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On the subject of pyramids, which number crosses your mind if we were to ask you: how many pyramids are still standing on the earth? 5 or 10? No, the number is well more than 5000!  

Though the real purpose of these Egyptian pyramids is highly debated, it is astonishing that such mighty structures were constructed 4000 years ago.

Stones that Weigh More Than Elephants

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Imagine a time with no advanced machinery, when there were no cranes or forklifts. It was during this time when the Egyptians erected these pyramids with stones that weigh about 5-10 tons per piece!

All of these stones were hoisted and laid one by one on top of each other. We can only imagine how the processes were carried on.

Researchers are still working on figuring out how they achieved such a feat.

The Intricate Tunnels

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Another startling pyramid fact is that there exists an intricate web of passages, shafts and chambers under the pyramids. These tunnels behold hundreds of years of history and thousands of artefacts.

Although the Egyptian authorities have excavated and got hold of most of the found commodities, the details are not available to the common public.

The Slave Hoax

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It was widely believed that slaves were tasked to build the enormous pyramids. This was later contradicted and found out that it was paid workers who were the ones tasked with the construction.

Workers from around north and south, respected for their work, worked tirelessly. The worker tombs were discovered much around 2010; the body is preserved in the dry sand along with jars of beer and bread for the afterlife.

Ancient Air conditioner 

Explore 33 Interesting Facts about the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids
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Another interesting fact about these extraordinary structures is that despite the harsh fluctuating temperatures of day and night, the great pyramids maintain a constant inside temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. Say Hola to the mother of ancient air conditioning.

A Pyramid Around the Coffer

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Inside the main chamber of Giza is a coffer that is way too large to be brought in through the narrow entrance passage.

This realization led the archaeologists to believe that the great pyramid was built around the coffer and not brought in after construction.

How were They this Accurate 4500 Years Ago?

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The Egyptians used two constellations to align their pyramids in a north-south direction. One was big dipper and the other is the small dipper.

The tombs are aligned in north-south with an accuracy of up to 0.05 degrees. This happened in an era where modern-day precision tools were not even imaginable!

The Mystery Mortar

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There is an old Arabic proverb which translates to “Man fears time, time fears the pyramids”. Pyramids are one of the oldest standing wonders.

The reason is the super adhesive mortar made to fix the stones in place. The mortar used in the construction of these pyramids has been analyzed over and over again.

But the exact combination of the ingredients is still a mystery. Almost 5,00,000 tons of mortar was used, and the strength is more than the stones itself.

The Lightest 20-ton Swivel Door

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There exists a total of 3 swivel doors in the pyramid of Giza. One of the enormous doors is a 20-ton swivel door in the great pyramid and is so well balanced that it can be opened from the inside with just one hand!

When it is closed, the fit is so perfect that it blends in with the wall, making an impression that it is not even there!

They Glittered Like Gold!

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At the time of construction, these ancient Egyptian pyramids were covered with a well-polished casing of limestone. The limestone, when laid on the pyramids sparkled literally like diamonds when the sun would shine.

This shine made the structures visible from miles away.

Alignment with The Orion

Explore 33 Interesting Facts about the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids
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The three pyramids of Giza are aligned exactly to be in line with the three stars of Orion belt. While creating a faithful mimicry of the Orion belt, the three pyramids of Giza actually point directly towards Orion’s belt.

Early Flat Pyramid

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Did you know that there exist pyramids with flat tops!? YES, many of the early pyramids around the world were made with the top flat.

In fact, the first pyramid constructed by the Egyptians at the site of Saqqara around 4700 years ago, did not have triangular sides. It was the tomb of the Egyptian king, Djoser and had a flat roof, which led archaeologist to believe that the first ever pyramids were indeed flat.

Many similar pyramids from the past exist even today.

The Mastabas Purpose

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Mastabas were tombs for the people who did not have high ranks and their tombs were built in special chambers inside pyramids. Historians believe that the only reason for the Mastaba tombs being around would be that the souls inside them may continue to serve the king in their afterlife.

The Guard of Khafre

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The huge statue of Sphinx was built near the great pyramid around 4500 years ago. It has the body structure of a lion and the head of a pharaoh.

The sole purpose of the Sphinx was to guard the pyramid of Khafre at Giza.

Multitalented Imhotep

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Imhotep was one of the earliest master architects of Egypt. He is known as the inventor of pyramid. His skillsets don’t end there as he was a physician, astronomer, high priest, etc.

He was a minister of Djoser, and after his death, he was worshipped as the God of Medicine.

Whopping Weight of Great Pyramid

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The Great Pyramid of Khufu weighs a whopping 5750000 tons! If you want a comparison, the Burj Khalifa weighs only a 500,000 tons!  

The Great pyramid is made of an estimated 2.3 million blocks of stone, and each block weighs 2267.96 kilograms (2.5 tons) approximately. Do the math!  

The Location Theory

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In 1877, Dr. Joseph Seiss found an interesting discovery. He showed that the pyramid of Giza is located exactly at the intersection of the longest line of longitude and longest line of latitude.

Or we can put it in this way- the great pyramid in the exact center of all landmass on planet Earth. Interesting right?

An Attempt to Destroy Pyramids

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King Al-Aziz, son of Saladin, a Kurdish ruler, planned to destroy the pyramids in the 12th century. Thankfully, he gave up because the job was too big of a task, even for a king!

Though the attack left a gash on Menkaure’s pyramid.

Average Time Taken for 1 Pyramid

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Though highly sophisticated in terms of accuracy and architecture, the Great Pyramid of Giza took almost 23 years to complete. Most of the pyramids were built simultaneously.

Pyramids are one of the marvelous examples of engineering from ancient history, which still remain a subject of research and curiosity.

The Hieroglyphics Mystery

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Everyone associates hieroglyphics with pyramids. Although visitors won’t find hieroglyphics inscribed inside, in 2011, researchers found hieroglyphics inside the secret chamber of Giza pyramid with the help of a robot.

Astonishing Number of Workers

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The figures about the number of workers vary. Historians take into account various factors including how many men it might have taken to lift one block.

One such account suggests that there might have been almost 60000 men outside the structure and 30000 inside it, requiring a jaw-dropping 90000 workers to build the pyramid.

The Face of Sphinx

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The Sphinx was constructed to guard the pyramids. In the records of many, it is noted that the face of the Sphinx is much to the likeness of Pharaoh Khafra.

It is 241 feet long and is facing towards the rising sun.

Burial Goods

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Also known as Grave goods, Egyptians believe that Egypt was the best place God could have created for any human to live. They believed that once a person is dead, he/she enters a similar mirrored world like Egypt.

The only difference they imagined was the absence of grief or sorrow. They believed that one might need things in another life just like one need things when alive. 

So they buried a body with necessities, and in case of kings in the Pyramids, they used to bury gold and other valuable commodities with the body.  

All the precious artifacts found in pyramids are with Egyptian authorities.

Count Them Again!

Explore 33 Interesting Facts about the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids
Source: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center/Flickr

Though pyramids may give an impression that they have only 4 sides, Pyramid of Giza has 8 sides. Each of the four sides of the pyramids is evenly split from base to tip.

The discovery goes back to 1940 when a pilot named P. Groves noticed the strange site of 8 sides while flying over it.

The indentations are visible from above only with appropriate light.

Descending Passage and Alpha Draconis

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In the Great Pyramid of Giza, the descending shaft or passage was aligned exactly to the polar star ’Alpha Draconis’ when it was built in 2141 BC.

The polar star comes in alignment with earth once in 25920 years. When the pyramid was being built, the architect used the alignment of Alpha Draconis to determine the direction to the true north.

Logic of Ikhet

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The word “Ikhet” means glorious light. When Pyramids were constructed, they were cast in limestone which used to sparkle in the sunlight.

This light was the reason why pyramids were called Ikhet. The limestone casting eventually faded or got destroyed and what was left was just mortar and gigantic stones.

The Sapphire Drill

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Khafre’s coffer was drilled out from a solid black granite, which required bronze saws 8 to 9 feet long with teeth of Sapphire.

Analysis of the coffer reveals that it was carved out by a single-point drill, which used hard jewel bits and a drilling force of almost 2 ton.

No Shadow Time

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Pyramids are one of the most extensively studied structures in the world. The mystery around its construction still haunts researchers.

Among many properties of the pyramid, one was of being a Sundial. It was one of the most sophisticated Sundials found across the globe, which indicated solstice and equinox.

At noon, during the spring, the Great Pyramid of Giza casts no shadow.

Correlation with Pi

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Researchers have proposed the idea that Pi might have been incorporated into the design of Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza. John Taylor discovered that if one divides the perimeter of Pyramid by its height, the resultant value is equal to 2Pi.

He further suggested that Perhaps Great Pyramid was deliberated to represent the earth, the height is analogous to the radius joining center of the earth in the North Pole, and the perimeter is analogous to earth’s circumference at earth’s equator.

The Enigma of the Building Process

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The Pyramids have been talked about for centuries. They leave us mesmerized with how accurate the architecture was back then. But not much is known about the building process.  

For instance, we can only guess how the blocks were lifted so high and what other processes were included.

The researchers are still looking to recreate the mortar, and the web of interconnected tunnels was only recently discovered.

Enough to Build a Wall Around France

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The Quarry of Aswan is the place which supplied stones for the construction of the pyramids.

It is suggested that the blocks from these three pyramids are actually enough to construct 10 feet high, and one-foot thick wall around all of France.

The One Stone Coffer

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There is a mysterious coffer in the Great Pyramid of Giza, which is made out of a single stone Granite. The Huge Granite block has been drilled and converted into a coffer.

The coffer is inside the king’s chamber within the pyramid and it was put in before the ceiling was constructed.

People believe that the coffer has magical properties.