The most famous pyramids are the Egyptian pyramids — huge structures built of brick or stone, some of which are among the world’s largest constructions. They are shaped as a reference to the rays of the sun. Most pyramids had a polished, highly reflective white limestone surface, to give them a shining appearance when viewed from a distance. The capstone was usually made of hard stone – granite or basalt – and could be plated with gold, silver, or electrum and would also be highly reflective. After 2700 BC, the ancient Egyptians began building pyramids, until around 1700 BC. The first pyramid was erected during the Third Dynasty by the Pharaoh Djoser and his architect Imhotep. This step pyramid consisted of six stacked mastabas. The largest Egyptian pyramids are those at the Giza pyramid complex. “The Egyptian sun god Ra, considered the father of all pharaohs, was said to have created himself from a pyramid-shaped mound of earth before creating all other gods. The pyramid’s shape is thought to have symbolized the sun’s rays”(Donald B. Redford, Ph.D., Penn State).
The age of the pyramids reached its zenith at Giza in 2575–2150 BC. Ancient Egyptian pyramids were in most cases placed west of the river Nile because the divine pharaoh’s soul was meant to join with the sun during its descent before continuing with the sun in its eternal round. As of 2008, some 135 pyramids have been discovered in Egypt. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the largest in Egypt and one of the largest in the world. It was the tallest building in the world until Lincoln Cathedral was finished in 1311 AD. The base is over 52,600 square metres (566,000 sq ft) in area. While pyramids are associated with Egypt, the nation of Sudan has 220 extant pyramids, the most numerous in the world. The Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It is the only one to survive into modern times. The Ancient Egyptians covered the faces of pyramids with polished white limestone, containing great quantities of fossilized seashells. Many of the facing stones have fallen or have been removed and used for construction in Cairo.
The ancient pyramids of Egypt
Most pyramids are located near Cairo, with only one royal pyramid being located south of Cairo, at the Abydos temple complex. The pyramid at Abydos, Egypt were commissioned by Ahmose I who founded the 18th Dynasty and the New Kingdom. The building of pyramids began in the Third Dynasty with the reign of King Djoser. Early kings such as Snefru built several pyramids, with subsequent kings adding to the number of pyramids until the end of the Middle Kingdom.
The last king to build royal pyramids was Ahmose with later kings hiding their tombs in the hills, such as those in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor’s West Bank. In Medinat Habu, or Deir el-Medina, smaller pyramids were built by individuals. Smaller pyramids were also built by the Nubians who ruled Egypt in the Late Period, though their pyramids had steeper sides.A pyramid (from Greek: πυραμίς pyramis) is a structure whose outer surfaces are triangular and converge to a single point at the top, making the shape roughly a pyramid in the geometric sense. The base of a pyramid can be trilateral, quadrilateral, or any polygon shape. As such, a pyramid has at least three outer triangular surfaces (at least four faces including the base)