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5 Fun facts about the Pyramids of Giza

Sep 01, 2020 by Emily Houston

The pyramids in Egypt (not to mention the many other statues, museums, and historic sites) are one of the main reasons travelers dream of visiting this north African country. Read on to discover five facts about the Pyramids of Giza that may just inspire you to take a future trip to Egypt.

a pink sunset behind two Giza pyramids

1. The Pyramids of Giza are located just outside of Giza, Egypt

The city of Giza is found in the northern region of the country, on the western bank of the Nile River. Giza is the third-largest Egyptian city, behind Cairo and Alexandria, and its strategic location near the former, ancient capital of Memphis has made it an important city throughout Egyptian history.

Now, it’s time for some Pyramids of Giza facts! The Giza Plateau is located on the eastern outskirts of the city and is where you’ll find the Giza pyramid complex. The juxtaposition of the modern city set against the ancient pyramids shows how the region has changed (and not changed!) over time, so be sure to snap a photo of the view. While the most famous pyramids in Egypt are the three largest ones on the Giza Plateau, this site is home to a total of nine pyramids.

This site is also commonly referred to as the Giza Necropolis, since each pyramid holds the remains of members of the Fourth Dynasty. This royal family reigned from around 2613–2494 BC and all of the pyramids were built during their time in power. The Giza Necropolis is also where you’ll find the enigmatic Great Sphinx, the largest monolith statue in the world.

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ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics

2. The Pyramids of Giza were built more than 1,200 years before the rule of King Tut

One of the most interesting fun facts about the Great Pyramid of Giza is that it’s the oldest and last remaining of the original seven world wonders. This pyramid is also the oldest and largest of the nine at the Giza Necropolis, and is the final resting place of king Khufu. The pyramid was completed in 2560 BC and took around 20 years to build.

The second-tallest pyramid, known as the Pyramid of Khafre, was completed in 2570 BC for king Khufu’s son. The Pyramid of Menkaure is the smallest of the three pyramids. It’s the final resting place of king Khufu’s grandson.

Another one of our favorite Pyramids of Giza facts? While the Great Pyramid of Giza is the tallest one, the Pyramid of Khafre appears to be taller. That’s because Khafre’s pyramid was built atop bedrock that is 33 feet higher than the foundation below Khufu’s pyramid.

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3. The Great Pyramid of Giza is 481 feet tall

The Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest building in the world for 3,800 years! The Lincoln Cathedral in Lincoln, England, which was completed in 1311, was the first building to surpass the height of the Great Pyramid.

Here are some more Pyramid of Giza facts so you can see how the three pyramids stack up against one another, and other famous monuments.

Great Pyramid of Giza

  • 481 feet tall
  • This UNESCO-listed site is just a little bit shorter than the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

Pyramid of Khafre

  • 448 feet tall
  • This pyramid is about 100 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.

Pyramid of Menkaure

  • 213 feet tall
  • You know famous sails on the Sydney Opera House? This pyramid is the exact same height!

an ancient pharaoh's tomb displayed under a spot light in giza

4. The Egyptian people built the Pyramids of Giza

Egyptologists are still not quite sure how the pyramids were built, but the most widely believed theory is that the Egyptian people all helped construct the buildings as an act of civil service. These builders were skilled laborers who were paid for their work. The discovery of a village located near the pyramids has led archaeologists and Egyptologists to believe that, at the peak, around 20,000 Egyptians were working to construct the pyramids.

One of the most impressive Great Pyramid of Giza facts is that each of the limestone blocks used to build the pyramid weighs two tons, which is about the same weight as a midsize SUV. How exactly the locals were able to lift those stones and form the perfect pyramid is up for debate. Some scholars say the Egyptians used a ramp and pulley system.

the Great Sphinx in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza

5. Visiting the Pyramids of Giza is easy

On a guided tour you’ll visit the top sites, skip the lines, and have an Egyptologist sharing their expertise with you along the way. That’s a win-win-win! Our travelers can’t get enough of our Egypt & the Nile tour. “This tour was one of the best that I have experienced,” said traveler Frances. “It was fun, educational, and a great value. The accommodations and meals were outstanding both on land and on the cruise. I was awestruck by the Pyramids, the Great Sphinx, temples, museums, and everything else there was to see/visit. There was a new experience at every turn.”

Check out more highlights from tour that our travelers are raving about. On tour, Egyptologists like Samia will lead you on a Pyramids of Giza tour, but you’ll also see the Great Sphinx, Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, and of course, all the sites along the Nile River. There’s so much more to Egypt than just the pyramids! But, since visiting the Pyramids of Giza is the main event for most travelers, you can even add an excursion to see the iconic site at night. Think: lights illuminating the pyramids and the Great Sphinx while hearing stories of Egyptian kings and queens.

Learn more about visiting the Pyramids of Giza on tour!

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About the author | Emily Houston
Emily loves the simple travel moments—like watching hours pass by in minutes while sharing a meal and a laugh (or many) with her friends and family. Outside the office, you'll find Emily listening to anything and everything John Mayer, attempting to cook a New York Times recipe, or dreaming up her next trip.

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