By Josefien Koet
In Egypt, there are numerous huge
creatures, made out of stone with the head
of a human and a lion's body. A being with
the strength of a powerful predator and the
intelligence of a human ruler. These things
are sphinxes. The word sphinx means
strangler; it was first given by the Greeks to
a fabulous creature which had the head of a
woman, the body of a lion and the wings of
a bird. In Egypt the sphinxes usually have a
lion's body and a head of a king wearing his
headdress. The ancient Egyptians thought
it would scare off enemies and they
believed the creature would protect the
Egyptian Pyramids www.picozone.nl
The ancient Egyptians believed in many
different gods and goddesses, each one
with their own role to play. They thought it
was important to recognise and worship the
gods so that life continued smoothly. When
people died they thought that life continued
in the afterlife. They brought their
possessions with them when they were
dead so they could use it again in their
Archaeological studies have shown that the
building style and positioning of the
pyramids are associated with the worship
and that there was a connection between
the place and form of the pyramids and the
positions of the stars.
The construction site and size of the
pyramids were always carefully chosen.
Often they were built on a foundation of
limestone because that gives a strong base,
and a strong foundation is necessary for
carrying the weight of the pyramids. Also
because the limestone was used to build
the pyramid itself, it was convenient as the
stone blocks were won near the built place.
However, the Egyptians were at the
beginning not very well in building pyramids.
In the end, though, they have done a pretty
The earliest form of a pyramid is the
mastaba, a box-shaped construction in
which important people were buried .
The Step Pyramid of Pharaoh Djoser at
Saqqara is the first step towards the
construction of true pyramids.
The Egyptians mummified their corpses.
The earliest ancient Egyptians buried their
dead in small pits in the desert. Because of
the drought and the extremely high
temperatures the corpses became natural
mummies. These bodies were not safe in
the desert because of the wild animals.
They started to bury their dead in coffins.
Through many centuries they discovered a
method of embalming the bodies in order to
preserve them. These were not-natural
The most famous pyramids of Egypt are
those of Giza near Cairo. The complex is
dominated by three large pyramids, the
Pyramid of Cheops, Chephren and that of
Mycerinus. There are in the neighbourhood
also some smaller pyramids. These
pyramids were built between 2551 and
2472 BC. The pyramids are well preserved
due to their stability. The outer layer of
white limestone largely disappeared in the
course of time because they used the
material for other buildings. All the pyramids
were robbed of their contents already in
Nowadays, it is assumed that the
construction of a pyramid was partly the
work of professional builders and that they
were not only slaves. According to modern
reconstructions, tens of thousands of
people were needed for the construction of
a single pyramid.
Probably most of these workers consisted
of local Egyptian farmers as a kind of
"corvée" for the Pharaoh. They helped to
build because there was no work during the
the Sphinx of Giza and
the city Giza
Nowadays one of the most famous
pharaohs is Toetanchamon. He is famous
because his grave was found intact in the
beginning of the last century. The burial
room was full with expensive material, e.g.
the golden mask.
This shows how
important pharaohs were. However, history
learns that Toetanchamon was not at all
one of the more important pharaohs.
Pharaos were the Lord of the two lands:
upper Egypt and lower Egypt. In the
beginning these lands were not united, but
later they were. You could see from the
crown, which was made from two elements,
that the pharaoh was king of two lands.
Because the ancient Egyptians mummified
and buried the bodies of rich people, we
know a lot about them and their time these
days. For example: we know about their
clothes, ages, causes of death, and family
The Sphinx of Giza is the most famous
sculpture of a sphinx in the world. It is also
the largest sculpture that has ever been
created by mankind. Its measurements are
73.5 meters long and over 20 m high. The
great Sphinx is over 4,500 years old.
The pyramids of Giza
- The gods
- The pyramids of Giza
- The spinx of Giza and the city Giza
Giza is a city, built near the Nile, about 20
kilometers southwest of Cairo. It has more
than two million inhabitants, the city is
known for its location on the Giza plateau.
The Giza Plateau is one of the biggest
tourist attractions in the world.
Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt
is a country in north-eastern Africa. Egypt
covers an area of 1,001,450 km ². With over
85 million inhabitants, Egypt is one of the
most heavily populated countries in the
Middle East/Africa and the 15th-most
populated country of the world. Most of the
people who live in Egypt are settled near
the banks of the Nile. The rest of Egypt’s
residents live in urban areas like Cairo and
Alexandria. Large parts of the country are
covered by deserts like the Sahara. Here
lives a small part of the population as
Egypt's history is almost as old as mankind
itself. Ancient Egypt was one of the earliest
civilizations in the world.