If you are looking for a unique vacation filled with history and wonder, then you should look into discovering some of Egypt's pyramids. Many of these amazing constructions made of massive stone blocks are still standing several millennia after they were first built.
The Egyptian pyramids were usually built as tombs and funeral monuments for the pharaohs and rulers of Ancient Egypt while honoring their cult's belief in those eras. The pyramids were mostly engineered based on solar coordinates for their positioning and construction.
There currently are about 80 to 110 discovered pyramids in Egypt, with new discoveries still happening from time to time. Many of the smaller pyramids are not always easily featured by Egyptologists and archaeologists since they are sometimes recognizable only as piles of rubble.
The most famous and most visited Great Pyramids site resides on the Giza plateau south-west of Cairo. Besides featuring the tallest Khufu (or Cheops) pyramid and the picturesque Khafre pyramid with its remaining limestone tip, the pyramid field also includes the famous Sphinx monument. The Giza site also has two unfinished pyramids from the Old Kingdom. The Great Khufu pyramid is the last one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World that is still remaining for us to contemplate. It is also listed as a UNESCO-protected world heritage site.
Fortunately, there are also other several pyramid fields to see and explore in Egypt besides Great Pyramids of Giza. Other popular pyramid complexes include :
- Abu Rawash, which is the northernmost pyramid field. The most northerly pyramid, that of Lepsius, was originally thought to have been left uncompleted, but modern thought is that the pyramid was indeed finished. However, the pyramid's location near a major crossroads made it ripe for quarrying, which would have begun during Roman times.
- Abu Sir, which contains 57 pyramids, and contains pyramids of inferior construction than those of the previous dynasty, possibly signaling a decrease in the royal power or in the economy during the time.
- Saqqara is the site of Egypt's oldest stone monument, the Step Pyramid of Djoser, and contains several other pyramids which are each famous in their own rights.
- Dahshur is a very important pyramid field, and includes the Bent Pyramid, believed to be either the first or second attempt at completing a pyramid with smooth sides. This field was originally located within a military base and was mostly unknown except in archaeological circles until 1996. The Red Pyramid was later completed at the same field, and is the first pyramid with smooth sides to have been properly completed, and is the third-largest pyramid in all of Egypt.
- Mazghuna, Lisht, Meidum, Hawarra, and el-Lahun. These pyramid fields include many ruins and crumbled pyramids and are less often the destination of choice for tourists. However, if you wish to escape the crowds and visit some of the more obscure but still incredibly fascinating pyramids, including the Mystery Pyramid of Meidum, which is nothing more than the tower-like remains of the core of a pulverized pyramid.
Over the centuries, many of the pyramids have been broken into, robbed, defaced, or chipped away at by those who wanted to bring home a piece of Egyptian history. Still, just seeing these remaining pieces of history is worth the trip for most. They are a testament to the amazing construction skills, strength, and intelligence of the ancient Egyptians.