There are Seven Wonders of the World, but only one remains to be standing tall and intact. This architectural magnificence comes in the name of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The largest and oldest of Giza’s three pyramids, the Great Pyramid of Giza, is one of Egypt’s most celebrated structures. It calls architects, archeologists, researchers, and even mere tourists from around the globe to visit and marvel at the craft built by Egyptians about 4500 years ago.
However, can present photographs of the Great Pyramid, accurately depict what spectacle the Egyptians of that time, have celebrated?
To answer that question, in 2014, the Smithsonian Channel released a brief documentary to show that the Great Pyramid we are fortunate to still have on present grounds, is not in its original appearance. With Harvard University Egyptologist Jacquelyn Williamson, they revealed what the Great Pyramid would have looked like in the eyes of the Egyptians that lived around 2560 BCE.
On its first construction, the ascending layers of large limestone blocks were polished with a gleaming outer layer of white limestones. The core that we now see was made of blocks in various sizes and textures. Gaps were filled, and lapses were made. However, the outer layer had to be unrivaled, thus demand limestone of higher quality. Scholars have postulated that approximately 67, 390 cubic meters of fine Tura Limestone were taken for the Great Pyramid alone.
Instead of the jagged appearance we have today, the Great Pyramid took pride for a surface beamed upon by the sunlight, giving it a laminating, perfect, smooth slope. Rather than a stairway, the Great Pyramid seemed to manifest itself as a radiant rampway to Heaven.
Upon the end of the pyramid construction, “it must have truly added to the impression of Giza as a magical port city, bathed in sunlight, if not existing ethereally in the celestial light” remarked archaeologist, Mark Lehner in the Smithosian Channel documentary. The Egyptians would inevitably agree with his statement as they called the Great Pyramid “Ikhet,” meaning “Glorious Light.”
Additionally, the Great Pyramid would have been topped with a capstone built from solid granite and surfaced with precious and lavish gold. It then comes to no wonder that the Egyptians revered and fearfully respected their leaders as if they were gods, full of pride and power. On the other hand, some Egyptians may have empathized with their fellowmen for the strife the magnificent Great Pyramid came with. However, who can say? If only this were the view met by Herman Melville, who called the Pyramids as “dumb stones,” perhaps he would’ve been changed his mind after witnessing the remarkable Pyramids of Giza glazed upon this dazzling form of limestone.
The public may have many things to say about what the Pyramid of Giza looked centuries ago and how it looks today. Undeniably, its façade is astonishing, in the absence of the architects and builders of that period. It seemed so complex and complicated that many speculate on how extraterrestrials would have created it. Indeed the idea is ridiculous and unequivocally questionable, but at the very least, it truly exceeded the expectations and standards of their time.
After several years of building, the Great Pyramid once stood as the tallest man-made structure in the world for around 3,800 years. 2.5 million stone blocks were cut, moved and positioned while limestone was quarried, and granite stones were retrieved from sites over 500 miles away. All these were vital for the construction of the core and later, the outer casing and capstone.
A reason behind the Pyramid’s change in appearance was the thought that a tremendous earthquake loosened the stones’ hold onto the Pyramid and was then taken away to build mosques and fortresses in nearby communities like in Cairo. Even more casing stones were removed in the early 19th century to build a Mosque near Giza. However, some say that it was merely dulled by time, portions of limestone drifting away.
Although the Great Pyramid does not present the same splendor it used to, it remains and deserves to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Reflecting both the rich culture and skillful craft of the Egyptians, the Great Pyramid reveals that not everything lasts, that premise cannot diminish its inestimable and precious value.
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