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The Great Pyramid of Giza, also known the Pyramid of Khufu, is an Egyptian pyramid built during the reign of the Pharaoh Khufu, around the 2580 to 2560 BCE. Located in Giza, the pyramid was built atop the ancient Isu complex Khesesh Em Sesh Em Eeneb and served as the Khufu's tomb.[1]

Description

The Great Pyramid was built around 2550 BCE as the final resting place of Pharaoh Khufu, and is considered one of the most iconic structures in Egypt. It is biggest of the pyramids and the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing. It was built by a workforce of over 20,000 people, six million tons of stone, and took twenty years to complete.[2]

The pyramid is part of the Khufu's expansive funerary complex, which additionally included two temples, three satellite pyramids, a causeway and a builder's necropolis. It has been theorized that Khufu wished to proclaim himself the most powerful Pharaoh in all of Egypt, even in death.[3]

The Pyramid was precisely orientated north-south to the four cardinal points of a compass, the length of each side of the pyramid was 230 meters and its original height was 147 meters. The pyramid is only a small 0.5% error away from being a perfect square.[4]

History

In 48 BCE, the Medjay Bayek of Siwa travelled to the pyramid in pursuit of Khaliset, a member of the Order of the Ancients, having learned about her activities from people in the area and from clues within her lair. Exploring the pyramid, Bayek deciphered an Old Kingdom stele and discovered an entrance which led to the Isu complex.[5]

In 46 BCE, the Hidden Ones rushed to the pyramid in order to prevent the "Ibis Reborn" breaking into the Isu vault beneath the pyramid. On their way, they took down several members of his sect.[6] Entering the pyramid, the "Ibis Reborn" used several decoys to delay the Hidden Ones. Since he didn't know how to activate the pedestal, he turned his anger to the Hidden Ones who faced him. The Hidden Ones unveiled his true face after defeating the "Ibis Reborn". He was not the resurrected Ibis of the Order of the Ancients as he had claimed, but a priest named Menkhtu, a follower of the deceased Medunamun.[7]

Materials

The materials used in the construction of the pyramid consisted of locally quarried limestone blocks, weighing between 2 to 15 tons each.[8] These blocks were only used for the exterior of the pyramid however, as the interior chambers were build with red granite from Aswan.[9] It is estimated that it took between 600,000 and 2 million blocks of the stone to construct the pyramid.[10]

Interior

ACO DT - Great Pyramid inside

Diagram of the interior structures of the Great Pyramid.

Located 17 meters above ground lays the entrance to the Great Pyramid facing due north, likely to align with the North Star. Although the entrance was discovered in antiquity, further access was barred by large vertical slabs of rock.[11]

The entrance to the ascending passage contains three granite flagstones weighing an estimated 25 tons each. These heavy stones were used to protect the pyramid from thieves. Also the thieves merely dug around the stones, thereby creating the Robbers' Entrance.[12] The ascending passage is accessed 30 meters from the entrance along the descending corridor, it leads directly to the Grand Gallery. Each corridor has the same similar 26-degree incline.[13] Smooth masonry finishes off the ascending passage and the layout includes many trapezoidal stones. The floor and ceiling show evidence of having been widened, possibly to allow the transport of the large granite blocks.[14]

Queen's Chamber

Although the chamber is attributed to the Queen, it is believed there was never anyone else buried in the tomb. It was likely intended to hold the king's serdab, a statue of his ka - housing his spirit.[15] The chamber is situated exactly in the center of the pyramid, on its east-west axis. The chamber's vaulted ceiling measures 5.7 by 5.2 meters. The ka statue was possibly held in a niche in the eastern wall, tuck away in a small corbelled archway. Another smaller hole can be found behind the niche, possibly from thieves searching for further treasure.[16]

Grand Gallery

ACO - Great Pyramid Grand Gallery

The Grand Gallery of the Great Pyramid of Giza

The Grand Gallery's purpose is still largely unknown. Possible theories include being a buffer to protect the King's Chamber, or to align with the stars. It could also simply been to facilitate moving the granite blocks inside the pyramid. Access to the Queen's Chamber was at the beginning of the Grand Gallery.[17] The corbelled vault is the longest ever built measuring 8.6 meters high and 47 meters long. Its walls were made to taper inward in order to allow for a better weight distribution. As a result, the ceiling measures just over a meter wide at its highest point.[18]

The far end of the Grand Gallery leads to a small antechamber, with a portcullis preventing access to the King's Chamber.[19]

King's Chamber

The King's Chamber was the room that held the sarcophagus of Khufu and was made entirely out of red granite. The King's Chamber measured 5.8 meters in heights. The room features an imposing cover of five stacked levels overhead, with granite beams weighing 25 to 40 tons each. The chamber's highest level is surrounded by a vault of stones, arranged in chevrons to bear the extreme weight of the overall structure.[20]

Modern entrance

ACO - Great Pyramid entrance

The entrance of the pyramid

Modern day visitors of the pyramid must enter via the Robbers' Entrance.[11] Opened during the 9th century by Caliph Al-Ma'mun. The Caliph had his men dig inside the Great Pyramid in search of treasure. The entrance they entered through was a preexisting opening by grave robbers in antiquity that was then expanded by the Caliph's men.[21]

Gallery

Appearances

References

  1. Assassin's Creed: Origins
  2. Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt – The Secrets of the Great Pyramid: "The Great Pyramid of Giza"
  3. Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt – The Secrets of the Great Pyramid: "Khufu's Legacy"
  4. Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt – The Secrets of the Great Pyramid: "Some Numbers"
  5. Assassin's Creed: OriginsThe Hyena
  6. Assassin's Creed: RebellionThe Mask of the IbisThe City of the Dead
  7. Assassin's Creed: Rebellion – The Mask of the IbisThe Bounty of Thoth
  8. Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt – The Secrets of the Great Pyramid: "An Impressive Realization"
  9. Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt – The Secrets of the Great Pyramid: "The Stones of the Great Pyramid"
  10. Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt – The Secrets of the Great Pyramid: "An Artificial Mountain"
  11. 11.0 11.1 Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt – The Secrets of the Great Pyramid: "Entrances of the Great Pyramid"
  12. Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt – The Great Pyramid of Giza: Upper Chambers: "The Ascending Passage"
  13. Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt – The Great Pyramid of Giza: Upper Chambers: "A Path to the Grand Gallery"
  14. Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt – The Great Pyramid of Giza: Upper Chambers: "Smooth Masonry"
  15. Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt – The Great Pyramid of Giza: Upper Chambers: "The Queen's Chamber"
  16. Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt – The Great Pyramid of Giza: Upper Chambers: "The Queen's Chamber Dimensions"
  17. Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt – The Great Pyramid of Giza: Upper Chambers: "Access to the Queen's Chamber"
  18. Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt – The Great Pyramid of Giza: Upper Chambers: "The Grand Gallery"
  19. Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt – The Great Pyramid of Giza: Upper Chambers: "The Antechamber"
  20. Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt – The Great Pyramid of Giza: Upper Chambers: "The King's Chamber"
  21. Discovery Tour: Ancient Egypt – The Secrets of the Great Pyramid: "Robber's Entrance"
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