Egyption History & Travel - 2010

Each of the three pyramids at Giza have or had stone terraces surrounding their bases, each was accompanied by at least two temples, and each was surrounded by the rectangular mastabas (the tombs for the noblemen close to the Pharaoh The temples which are almost entirely in ruins were of two types: a mortuary temple where the Pharaoh's body was mummified and a valley temple where the Pharaoh could be worshiped and venerated. The first was usually near the pyramid and the other was close to the Nile. What fascinates most Egyptologists and surprises most first time visitors to Egypt is the fact that these pyramids plus Djoser's Step Pyramid are the only ones built in Egypt! After Menkaure, the Pharaohs stopped building pyramids for themselves. It may be that since grave robberies started in those very ancient times, the Pharaohs who saw their forebears tombs being robbed decided that they did not want to lose their own immortality to such depredations. After the Old Kingdom, Pharaohs had their tombs built into solid rock faces and tried to disguise them and their entrances. Hence, many more Pharaohs are buried in the Valley of the Kings. Another surprising fact we encountered when we toured the pyramid sites: contrary to Hollywood movies, popular legends, and even some religious ideas, slaves were never involved in the building of pyramids - not Jewish slaves or any other of the captive peoples like Nubians, Syrians, or Ethiopians. The Pharaohs had a country full of workers who could not farm during the season of the year where the Nile flooded - about 3

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