The Giza pyramids have now taken on the tawny tones of the adjacent Libyan Desert. They did, however, sparkle in their heyday. The pyramids were originally enclosed in slabs of highly polished white limestone. But over time these stones have weathered to a tan color.
In fact, archeologists believe the pyramids were painted black at one point. The Egyptians used coal and oil as fuel sources at that time, and so they would have needed some way to heat their buildings with such little firewood available. Also, evidence suggests that the Egyptians made attempts to paint certain parts of the structures dark to help protect them from the sun's ultraviolet rays.
Today, visitors can see the original white color of the pyramids' walls through many of the openings in the structure. These include the entranceways and windows, which allow light into the chambers where the bodies of the pharaohs are buried.
Also, most of the casing around the caps of the pyramids was removed when they were converted into temples. This allows for much more light to enter the burial chambers, revealing the original white color of the stone even further.
Finally, some areas may be painted using traditional Egyptian methods. While excavating the tomb of King Tutankhamun, archaeologists discovered that certain rooms were painted using ingredients found in ancient recipes.
The Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the world's most famous structures. Built during the Fourth Dynasty (2561–2498 BC), it is nearly perfectly rectangular with four sides that are almost exactly equal in length. It has a base that is about 24 meters long and 12 meters wide, and its height is approximately compared to that of other pyramids-- it is about 275 feet or 84 m tall.
The pyramid was used for tomb purposes by several pharaohs including Khufu (who built it), his son Djedefre, and his grandson Menkauhor. It may also have been used as a temple of Osiris. The Egyptians believed that after death, humans became part of the universe of souls called "the afterlife". In this life-after-life, humans existed in limbo, neither in heaven nor in hell. They would be able to join either group if they performed certain actions while alive. By building pyramids, individuals hoped to earn a place in paradise after death. Actually entering paradise, however, required the pharaoh to perform additional tasks the Egyptian priests could not explain.
Khufu's pyramid is an example of a simple structure meant to last forever.
It is the third biggest Egyptian pyramid, after those of Khufu and Khafre at Giza, and is named for the rusty reddish tint of its red limestone stones. The color of the Red Pyramid was not always red. It was formerly clad with white Tura limestone, but just a few stones remain near the pyramid's base, at the corner. Some believe that the only reason why this stone remains there is because it was used as building material to construct another monument instead.
The Red Pyramid is one of two surviving kings' pyramids (the other being Khafre's at Giza). It is the largest preserved structure on Earth by volume of solid rock removed from the ground. Its maximum height is 76 feet (23 m), equivalent to about 10 stories, and it has a base diameter of 197 feet (60 m). It would have been surrounded by large gardens and orchards when new, but now only small trees grow in its vicinity due to overgrazing by goats.
Its original appearance is therefore quite different from what we see today. Originally, the exterior of the pyramid was covered in a thick layer of dark red pigment which had seeped into the cracks between the stones. This coating was later worn away by wind and rain, leaving the stones bright red.
The interior of the pyramid is also hollow, but it is much less well-known than its exterior. In fact, no king is known to have been buried here.
The Pyramids of Giza are a group of three large pyramidal structures built over 4,000 years ago near Cairo, Egypt. They are particularly famous as tombs of ancient Egyptian pharaohs.
The Great Pyramid of Giza was originally named the Pyramid of Cheops (Khufu). It is the largest pyramid in the world by volume of its contents if not by actual height. The Great Pyramid has a base area of about 22,500 square meters (about 500,000 sq ft) and it is nearly complete inside except for the passage ways to the king's chamber. It stands 484 feet (147 m) high with an estimated weight of 2.5 million pounds (1.1 million kg).
The second pyramid is known as the Pyramid of Khafre. It is similar in size to the Great Pyramid but it lacks the third side which makes it less pyramidal. The third pyramid is called the Pyramid of Menkaura. It is smaller than the other two but still very large compared to other pyramids of its time. It had been used for royal burial purposes since its construction around 2494 BC until its abandonment around 2350 BC.