This is the Great Pyramid of King Khufu. Everybody knows the Great Pyramid of King Khufu, but you probably don’t know about the Shit Pyramids of his father, King Sneferu. This is a shame, because they are amazing.
When King Sneferu came to the throne of Egypt, the cool thing that all the pharaohs had was a Step Pyramid, like the original one built by King Djoser and designed by Imhotep (not the mummy). King Sneferu could easily have had one one because his predecessor King Huni had died before his could be finished. All Sneferu had to do was step in and put the last few blocks on.
But King Sneferu had a vision. He didn’t want any old Step Pyramid. He was going to build Egypt’s first smooth-sided pyramid, and make King Huni’s pyramid way taller in the bargain. It didn’t work. The core of Huni’s pyramid couldn’t handle the modifications and nowadays the Step Pyramid at Meidum looks like this:
It’s not on a hill - that’s the outer layers of the pyramid that have fallen down all around it. The name of the structure in Arabic is Heram el-Kaddaab, which means something like The Sort-Of Pyramid.
Anyway, King Sneferu was understandably disappointed and made his pyramid-builders start over from scratch at a different site. Apparently having learned nothing about the Big Fat Nowhere that hubristic pyramid ambition was going to get him, this pyramid was designed to be even taller and pointier than the last effort! Too tall and pointy, in fact - the bedrock proved to be less stable than he might have hoped, and by the time the pyramid was half-finished stuff was already moving and cracking inside of it. There are ceilings in this pyramid that are to this day partially held up by wooden beams.
The builders seem to have panicked and decided that the only way to finish the pyramid without another disaster was to make the top half lighter than the bottom half. They did this by changing the angle of the slope, ending up with a pyramid that looks like this:
Egyptologists call this one the Bent Pyramid for fairly obvious reasons. Uniquely among Egyptian Pyramids, it has most of its smooth outer blocks intact, rather than having them all stolen to build other stuff (most of medieval Cairo is built from the skin of the Giza pyramids). I’m guessing this is because nobody dared touch the thing for fear the whole structure would come down like a giant limestone game of Jenga.
I’m sure the pyramid-builders were very proud of this solution. Sneferu appears to have been less so. He had them move over about half a mile and start over. Again. Why only half a mile when he had them move 34 miles between the Sort-of Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid is a mystery. I think he wanted to keep them in sight of the Bent Pyramid so they could look at it and feel ashamed every once in a while.
And there they built Sneferu’s third pyramid, which is called the Red Pyramid. As pyramids go, it’s a very cautious one - it’s got the shallowest slope rise of any Egyptian pyramid, and while it’s the same height as the Bent Pyramid it spreads its weight over a much greater base area, making it far more stable. Sneferu seems to have been happy with this one, because he was buried in it. Either that, or after a forty-eight-year reign he just finally died and that was the pyramid they used because it was the nicest of the three.
These three pyramids together actually contain substantially more stone than the Great Pyramid of Sneferu’s son Khufu. By the time Sneferu died, his workforce had honed themselves into a lean, mean pyramid-building machine. They had already made every possible pyramid mistake. So when Khufu announced that he didn’t just want a great pyramid, but The Great Pyramid, these guys built him a pyramid so fucking great that we now think aliens must have done it.
You may know that a pyramid has 4 faces ( excluding the base ) and the pyramid of Giza has been the popular exemplar for a pyramid.
But, the great pyramid has 8 faces ( excluding the base ), not 4!!
PC: The History Channel
In his book The Egyptian Pyramids: A Comprehensive, Illustrated Reference, J.P. Lepre wrote:
very unusual feature of the Great Pyramid is a concavity of the core
that makes the monument an eight-sided figure, rather than four-sided
like every other Egyptian pyramid. That is to say, that its four sides
are hollowed in or indented along their central lines, from base to
This concavity divides each of the apparent four sides in half,
creating a very special and unusual eight-sided pyramid; and it is
executed to such an extraordinary degree of precision as to enter the
realm of the uncanny. For, viewed from any ground position or distance,
this concavity is quite invisible to the naked eye.
The hollowing-in can
be noticed only from the air, and only at certain times of the day.
This explains why virtually every available photograph of the Great
Pyramid does not show the hollowing-in phenomenon, and why the concavity
was never discovered until the age of aviation.
It was discovered quite
by accident in 1940, when a British Air Force pilot, P. Groves, was
flying over the pyramid. He happened to notice the concavity and
captured it in the now-famous photograph. [p. 65]
Satellite image of the Great Pyramid.
Were the pyramids built this way on purpose or did it turn out this way over time is something that still requires a much deeper investigation.
Nefertiti was the wife of Akhenaten, an Egyptian pharaoh. It is debated whether or not she was Tutankhamun’s mother, although she was married to his father. She was made famous in the present day by her bust, which has been recreated many times. In life she was known to be extremely beautiful, and the reign she and her husband had is thought to be the most prosperous and rich in Ancient Egyptian history.
The Great Pyramid of Giza has been probed with the tools of modern particle physics by scientists who say they have discovered a huge, secret space hidden within its ancient walls.
It is located above a tall, cathedral-like room known as the Grand Gallery, and this newly found space is comparable in size — about 100 feet long, according to a report in the journal Nature.
That makes it a major structure within this royal tomb, which was built around 2500 B.C. and is considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Yet until now, despite centuries of study, no one knew this space was there.