The Great Pyramid of Giza

One of the oldest, probably the oldest ancient wonders in the world is surprisingly still standing today. Some wonders which may have been twice as young have not survived. The Great Pyramid was built as a tomb for the pharaoh Khufu, who lived around 2589 and 2566 B.C.E. So the birth of Jesus is closer to present day than when the Great Pyramid was planned, constructed, and finished.

It is almost exactly aligned with the cardinal directions, with one side facing north and another facing south, one facing east and one west. It was also the tallest structure in the world for almost four millennia, being surpassed by the spire of Lincoln Cathedral in 1300 C.E. But here’s some of the real mind blowing facts about this wonder. When Napoleon first saw it, he calculated that there was so much stone that he could have built a wall 10 ft high and 1 ft wide around all of France with it. While estimations on how  many men worked on it and for how long are very volatile, Herodotus claimed it took over 100,000 men 20 years to finish.

But there are even more. The pyramid is made up of 2.3 million limestone blocks. Assuming that it took 20 years to finish, a block would have to be placed every 2 minutes in a 10 hour day every day of the year. The time it would take for a modern American limestone quarry with today’s technology and normal working rate to cut, dress, and transport the amount of limestone blocks in the Great Pyramid is 2673 years, without delays!

As you can clearly see, the Great Pyramid is full of mind blowing facts. I came in to this thinking that this was going to be a normal ancient wonder  post, but I ended up writing a lot of facts. I think I have mentioned Antipater’s list of ancient wonders on my blog before. In the preface of my book, it claims that many lists of wonders were made in the ancient world. However, unlike many lists, Antipater’s is still known today. In his poem, Antipater says that he saw many great wonders, including the Pyramids, but when he saw the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, he says that all of the other wonders lost their brilliancy. If you’re like me, you might be thinking “How can something made of 2.3 million limestone blocks, taken approximately 73,000 hours to construct, and was standing for more than 2,000 years of the time the list was created, not have any brilliancy anymore?”

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