The Great Pyramid of Khufu is ranked number 1 among all the structures found in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, written and declared by Antipater, who was a statesman for Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great. This particular pyramid is the oldest of the seven wonders, having been built 4 to 4.5 millenniums ago, and interestingly, it is the only ancient wonder that still exists today.
If you are curious, the six other wonders are the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (researchers are currently pinpointing its exact location), the Temple of Artemis and Ephesus (burned down by Herostratus in 356 BC), the Statue of Zeus at Olympia (burned down as well, after being reassembled at Constantinople in the 6th century), the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (destroyed by earthquakes between the 12th and 15th centuries), the Colossus of Rhodes (destroyed by an earthquake in 226 BC), and the Lighthouse of Alexandria (affected by the Crete earthquake in 1303).
Despite the pyramid’s age, it still remains mostly intact from its exterior, which is quite impressive and mysterious at the same time. To answer the question as to why it is still standing today, let us look at the theories n regard to its structure and its formation.
In appearance, the base of the pyramid is a wide square, and the apex is pointed at the end, so it is just natural that the structure would remain intact, mainly because of its well-balanced shape. But what most interesting about the pyramid is the uniformity maintained in the slopes found on all four sides. Four corners at the base of the structure would need to be built or arranged at equal angles. If this measurement is not followed, not only will all the four edges not meet at the top once the pyramid is fully built, but the weight of it would also not be distributed evenly at all sides. With about five million tons of weight pushed down by the slabs at the top of the base, some of these slabs would break because of the pressure applied by those at the upper portions of the pyramid. Over the years, there would be further cracks that will appear at the broken slabs of the stone. If the weight of the pyramid causes a few slabs to slip even a little, those above will get dislodged. The pyramid will eventually fall apart if all the slabs are not equal in terms of their proper placement and weight distribution.
Research shows that the men who built approximately 80 pyramids in Egypt must have wide knowledge in trigonometry to understand angles and weight. These craftsmen have not compromised at all in maintaining the slope of the four sides. The angle in the highest pyramid, the Great Pyramid of Khufu, is 51°50’40”. All four sides of the structure have slopes that are built in the same exact angle, so when the slabs finally meet at the top, all of them are able to create the perfect triangular shape. In measuring the angles of the pyramid, it is important to note that the angles are not calculated in integers, but in fractions.
The degree of an angle can be divided into 60 fractions, which can also be called minutes, and each minute can be subdivided into 60 seconds for precise measurements. While building a pyramid of this magnitude, it must have been really difficult for the craftsmen to maintain high accuracy in placing the slabs together, but this has been miraculously achieved when they built the Great Pyramid of Khufu. The Khafre pyramid located next to Khufu has slopes of 53°10’, and a third pyramid named Menkaure had slopes of 51°20’25”, meaning that they are also well-built.
When the construction of the pyramids was performed in the Nile River, modern engineering instruments were not invented. It is surprising how they were able to calculate and measure angles to build the pyramid, but it is quite mysterious as to how they were able to carry all the slabs needed for the structure without taking a long time in the construction of it.
The mystery behind the pyramid’s formation really makes researchers wonder why and how Egyptians took on such a gigantic engineering project of building pyramids while knowing that they don’t have instruments to do it quickly. Without machines to assist in the construction, it would have taken a large number of workmen to build the pyramid. The theories as to how the Egyptians were able to create such a magnificent structure are still being debated until today.