Inner core stones and outer casing stones These blocks of white Tura limestone would have given the pyramid a smooth surface and been quite bright and reflective. At the very top of the pyramid would have sat a capstone, known as a pyramidion, that may have been gilt. The pyramid was built by King Khufu for himself and his family to be buried in. It was probably constructed over a period of about 20 years, from 0 to 25 years old. The exact date of its construction is not known with certainty, but it is estimated to have been either July 4th or October 31st.
The pyramid is so large that it can be seen from far away. It is said that you can see it from up to 250 miles away. This is because it dominates the skyline everywhere it is found. It is also believed that people migrate toward the Great Pyramid to get closer to God.
Some people think that the Great Pyramid is an instrument used by God to send messages to us. They claim that when put under a microscope, the patterns on its sides look like words. Others believe that it is part of a larger structure that includes the Henge Temple and the Valley of Kings. Yet others think it is only one piece of a much larger whole that includes other famous pyramids such as those at Giza, Dahshur, and Bishr-era Medinet Habu.
It was once covered in white Tura limestone, but just a few stones remain near the pyramid's base, at the corner. Much of the white Tura limestone was stripped for architectural purposes in Cairo throughout the Middle Ages, exposing the red limestone beneath. The Egyptians called this stone reed or "red", which is why they used it to build their pyramids.
The base of the Red Pyramid is about 300 feet on a side and stands over 20 feet high. It consists of six large, flat stones that are still in good condition. Some researchers believe they were originally part of an as-yet-undisclosed other pyramid. But others think they were taken from other sites, such as Dahshur, and used to build the Red Pyramid.
The largest stone in the base is known as the "Amenemhat III" stone because it was found in 1885 near the east bank of the Nile not far from Luxor. The site of its discovery is now a small museum that is open to the public. A smaller version of this stone is on display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The four remaining stones are known as the "King's Stones". They're set in a square formation about one foot off the ground. Each stone is about three feet long, two feet wide at the top, and 1.5 feet wide at the bottom.
The capstone, or "pyramidion," is the finished pyramid's peak. It was employed to complete the pyramid's appearance by generating a crisp and polished mathematical form. The capstone was usually made of granite or marble.
Modern scholars believe that the pyramid builder used layers of fine sand and mud to create the effect of a smooth stone surface at the top of the monument. The capstone would have been coated with bitumen or asphalt to prevent water from entering the cavity and causing erosion. A wooden platform called a "mastaba" was placed on which the capstone could be mounted. There are mastabas under the Great Pyramid where it is believed they were used for mounting the capsstones.
In addition to the Great Pyramid, there are more than 100 smaller pyramids in Giza, all built by Egypt's ancient royalty. They range in size from less than 10 feet (3 m) high to over 60 feet (20 m). Many were used as tombs for the wealthy or powerful, but some remained empty. It is believed that the Pharaohs used them to show off their own power and status among their people.
There are several theories about how the Egyptians managed to transport such large stones over great distances using only primitive tools. Some think they were moved using ropes and pulleys driven by teams of horses.
This is one of the few remaining casing stones from King Khufu's Great Pyramid of Giza. Outside of Egypt, it is the only pyramid casing stone on exhibit. Did you know that? The last piece of the Great Pyramid was used to cap the burial chamber of Khufu, the fourth Pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty. It was originally found in 1877 by a farmer named Emilius Paulus who was digging a canal for the Nile River. He gave the piece to an Egyptian priest named Father Mackey who knew how important it was so he sent it to the Vatican Museum in Rome where it remains today.
Some believe that the Great Pyramid was built as a tomb for King Khufu but this has never been proven. Some historians think that it may have been built as a memorial to honor him. Either way, it's a great example of ancient engineering technology. There are many more surviving stones from the Great Pyramid than people might imagine. In fact, most of the original stones were probably taken out of Egypt and used in other pyramids across Africa and Asia before being replaced with new pieces. But a few stones did make it back home and they're still here in Egypt today.
In addition to the casing stone from the Great Pyramid, parts of two other pyramids (Khafre and Menkaura) have also been preserved.