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Where are pyramids located? What are some famous pyramids?

Where are pyramids located

Pyramids, since ancient times, have fascinated historians, archaeologists, and tourists alike due to their complex architecture and the mystery that surrounds their construction and purpose. A gigantic, triangle-shaped structure, a pyramid, which is mostly built as a tomb, symbolises the divine aura of monarchies because of its association with the physical shape of the sacred, ancient Egyptian symbol ‘benben.’ In this blog, we will look at some of the most notable pyramid locations and famous pyramids.

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1) Egypt

Egypt is one of the greatest archaeological sites known for pyramids worldwide.

The Pyramids of Giza, the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure, were built during Egypt’s Fourth Dynasty, dating from 2613 to 2494 BC.

The Great Pyramid of Khufu, also known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is designed and constructed using around 2.3 million blocks of stone.

Despite the limitations of their time, the ancient Egyptians demonstrated immense architectural proficiency in building their pyramids. The positioning of the pyramids also speaks volumes of their knowledge of astronomy.

The carvings and inscriptions inside the pyramids are significant in the study of Egyptian pyramids. Hieroglyphs, pictorial representations of words and phrases, inside the pyramids, provide insights into ancient Egyptian culture, rituals, and beliefs. These hieroglyphs often depict Pharaohs’ lives and the gods they worshipped, highlighting the religious significance of these structures.

2) Sudan

Sudan, located to the south of Egypt, houses numerous pyramids, more than Egypt itself, built by the monarchs of ancient Kush.

The Meroë pyramids, smaller and steeper compared to their Egyptian counterparts, are a testament to Sudan’s rich historical heritage.

Historians believe that Sudan houses approximately 255 pyramids, spread over different sites and primarily clustered around ancient cities such as El Kurru, Meroë, and Gebel Barkal. These pyramids were constructed from the 8th Century BC to the 4th Century AD by the Kushite civilizations, ancient kingdoms that ruled parts of modern-day Sudan and Egypt.

Unlike their Egyptian counterparts, Sudanese pyramids are smaller in size, typically 20-30 metres tall, but they offer an equally profound insight into the past. The pyramids served as royal tombs for the Kushite royalty. The sharp, narrow pyramid design signifies the distinctive Kushite architectural style.

A notable feature of the Sudanese pyramids is the decorative elements. Kushite Pyramids, especially at Meroë, the last royal Kushite cemetery, are adorned with intricate hieroglyphics and funerary texts.

However, in the late 1800s, explorers, driven by greed, excavated and severely damaged several sites resulting in an irreversible loss of the cultural heritage.

Today, efforts are underway to conserve Sudan’s rich archaeological treasures. UNESCO inscribed Gebel Barkal and the Sites of the Napatan Region and the Archaeological Sites of the Island of Meroë as World Heritage sites, highlighting their cultural value.

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3) Europe

The Pyramid of Cestius located in Rome, is a tomb for Gaius Cestius, a magistrate and member of one of Rome’s four great religious corporations in the 1st century BCE.

Constructed in 12 BC, the Pyramid of Cestius, blends Egyptian and Roman architectural styles, striking an imposing figure amidst Rome’s classical architecture.

In Spain, specifically the Canary Islands sits the Guimar Pyramids, presumed to be the handiwork of the demolished Guanche civilization.

Bosnia, in southeastern Europe, is also home to a controversial site, which some believe houses the largest pyramid in the world, named the Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun. This structure’s legitimacy is still under discussion among researchers.

Europe’s pyramids are reflections of the continent’s varied historical background. They offer a unique perspective into ancient times and continue to be worthy of further exploration and study.

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4) America

Several pyramids from pre-Columbian civilizations can be found throughout Central and South America. Some of the most well-known are the stepped pyramids of the Maya, nested within the lush greenery of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

The Kukulkan Pyramid, or El Castillo, in the ancient city of Chichen Itza, is a popular tourist attraction.

On the other hand, Peru, in South America, is home to the adobe pyramid Huaca Pucllana, built by the Lima Culture around 500 AD.

Cahokia, located in contemporary Illinois, boasts of an earthen pyramid named Monk’s Mound. At 100 feet tall, this magnificent structure is known to be the largest prehistoric earthen construction in the Americas north of Mexico.

The Aztecs, who lived in what is now central Mexico, also built remarkable pyramids such as the Great Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon at Teotihuacan.

In South America, cultures like the Moche, Chimu, and Inca were also familiar with the pyramid architecture. The Moche civilization, in particular, constructed the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon in the coastal desert of Peru.

Even though they have not received as much global recognition as their Egyptian counterparts, the American pyramids are unquestionably magnificent structures that deserve recognition globally for their historical, cultural, and architectural significance.

5) China

The existence of pyramids has been reported in various parts of China such as in the Shaanxi province, where the Maoling Mausoleum pyramid is found.

The estimated 38 pyramids in the Shanxi and Shaanxi regions mark the resting places of Han and Tang rulers and their families. These pyramids, although not built from stone like their counterparts in Egypt, are constructed from compacted clay termed ‘rammed earth.’

The pyramids of the Xian region, characterised by flat-topped structures are called trapezoidal burial mounds. Their construction dates, ascribed from 206 BC to 220 AD, highlight the fact that they were built during the Qin and Han dynasties.

The Chinese pyramids remain enveloped in secrecy. Continuous research and exploration of these pyramids could bring these well-guarded narratives to light.

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Despite architectural variations and differing regional characteristics, pyramids across different geographical areas continue to intrigue us, serving as a window into the past, narrating the legacies of the civilisations that created them. Preservation of these invaluable edifices must be of paramount importance, for human history and world heritage at large.

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