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Everybody want a pyramid
Dated back to 5000 years ago, pyramids started to become popular. Those were the period when almost “everybody” wanted a pyramid. Ancient pyramids can be found several places around the world, each belonging to different cultures and civilizations. Where are they found?
Photo. Pyramids are almost everywhere across the globe. One of them is the Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt, the tallest pyramid in the world.
Pyramids are found most widespread around the world - even more extended than most of us can imagine. There are thousand of them. So far I have counted pyramids or pyramid shaped constructions in at least 13 countries. These have been a fascinating and mysterious subject for me for years, and I something I want to learn more about. I have also experienced some of the sites where pyramids are located such has Mexico, Guatemala, Spain and Boliva.
Why are pyramids found in so many ancient civilisations?
The reasons behind the construction of the pyramids in ancient times vary. Some of them are:
- Symbolise power
- Show wealth
- Religious, ceremonial, and burial purposes
- Shape of the construction: build tall
- Demonstrate technological advancement and architectural innovation
- Energy transmission
Pyramids were the biggest structure that people could build in ancient time. And also the most stable. The shape of the construction enabled the people to build tall buildings. The pyramid is the most important, well preserved and visible testemony of ancient time. Due to its stability it has survived over time many places. I find both the construction, concept and story behind these wonders fascinating. There are so many mysterious related to them. And there are still discoveries that shades new lights on these amazing constructions.
The tallest pyramids in the world are (based on information from Wikipedia):
- Great Pyramid of Giza: 138.5 metres. Giza, Egypt
- Pyramid of Khafre: 136.4 metres. Giza, Egypt
- Borobudur : 118 metres. South-East Asia, Indonesia
- Red Pyramid: 105 metres. Cairo, Egypt
- Red Pyramid: 105 metres. Cairo, Egypt
- Bent Pyramid: 104.71 metres. Circa 2600 BC. Cairo, Egypt
- Toniná pyramid: 74 metres. Chiapas, Mexico
- La Danta: 72 metres. El Petén, Guatemala
- Great Pyramid of Cholula: 66 metres. Cholula, Mexico. The largest pyramid by volume known to exist in the world today.
- Pyramid of the Sun: 65.5 metres. Teotihuacan, Mexico
The pyramid's design, with a wide base narrowing to a point at the top, is inherently stable. This shape distributes the weight of the structure downwards and outwards, reducing the risk of collapse over time. This stability is a key reason why many ancient pyramids have survived for thousands of years. The pyramid shape, therefore, was not just an architectural choice but a complex symbol that held multiple layers of meaning, from the practical to the profound, across various ancient civilizations. The pyramids were probably built independent of each other or “in the shape of a pyramid”.
Here is a brief overview of pyramids or pyramid shaped structured around the world:
- Egypt: The most famous pyramids are located in Egypt, particularly on the Giza Plateau, near Cairo. These include the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The pyramids at Giza are quite simple structures. They're big piles of rock with smooth sides and a handful of interior passages. Other notable pyramid sites in Egypt include Saqqara, Dahshur, and Meidum. There are more than 100 pyramids in Egypt- The first was built during the reign of Pharoah Djoser (2630 B.C. to 2611 B.C) as a grand mausoleum for himself.
- Sudan: Sudan has more pyramids than Egypt, concentrated in the ancient cities of Meroë, Nuri, and El Kurru. These pyramids were built by the rulers of the ancient Kushite kingdoms.
- Mexico: Various pre-Columbian civilizations built pyramids in what is now Mexico. Notable sites include Teotihuacan, near Mexico City, where you can find the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon; and the Mayan pyramids at Chichen Itza, Coba, and Uxmal in the Yucatán Peninsula.
- Guatemala: The ancient Maya civilization built several pyramids, many of which can be found in Tikal, which is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization.
- Peru: The ancient Moche civilization built pyramids called huacas. A notable example is the Huaca del Sol in the Moche Valley. Additionally, the ancient city of Caral features pyramid-like structures and is considered one of the oldest urban centers in the Americas. Chavin de Huantar, Peru: Chavin Temple Complex
- Bolivia: The Akapana Pyramid at Tiahuanaco is essentially a step pyramid whose core is made out of soil. It is faced with massive, megalithic stones.
- Iraq: The Ziggurat of Ur near Nasiriyah is one of the best-preserved monuments of the Sumerian civilization. Although not a pyramid in the strictest sense, it shares some architectural similarities.
- Indonesia: The Gunung Padang site in West Java is sometimes referred to as a pyramid-like structure, though its exact nature and age are subjects of ongoing research and debate.
- Nigeria: The Nsude Pyramids, in the Udi highlands, are circular stepped pyramids that were built by the Igbo people.
- China: Quin Shi Huangdi dynasty, outside the town of Xian in the province Shanxi in northwestern part of the country. Here have archeologs have found circa 40 remains of pyramids.
- Spain: The Pyramids of Güímar are six rectangular pyramid-shaped, terraced structures built from lava stone without the use of mortar. They are located in the district of Chacona, part of the town of Güímar on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain.
- Cambodia: Ankor Wat, holy mountains built by the Khmer regime. A pyramid near Siem Reap called Ta Keo - Pyramid Temple with 5 Towers Near Siem Reap. Ta Keo is a large, temple-mountain style structure, constructed of huge sandstone blocks.
- Phimeanakas – sometimes called Vimeanakas – is a large, 3-tiered pyramid of laterite and sandstone construction.
- Italy: the pyramid of Cestius is a Roman Era pyramid in Rome, Italy, near the Porta San Paolo and the Protestant Cemetery. The construction is 36 metres tall. It was built as a tomb for Gaius Cestius, a member of the Epulones religious corporation. It stands at a fork between two ancient roads, the Via Ostiensis and another road that ran west to the Tiber along the approximate line of the modern Via Marmorata. Due to its incorporation into the city's fortifications, it is today one of the best-preserved ancient buildings in Rome. Source: Pyramid of Cestius -Wikipedia.
These locations represent just a few places where ancient pyramids can be found, highlighting the global extent of pyramid construction by various ancient civilizations for religious, ceremonial, and burial purposes.
These monuments have been the subject of intense debate and speculations since they were discovered:
- Japan. The Yonaguni Monument, also called the Yonaguni Pyramid or the Atlantis of the Pacific, is an underwater rock formation located off the coast of a Japanese island. It is twenty meters tall.
- Bosnia: “The Bosnian` Pyramid”, or also called the “Pyramid of the Sun”, located in the village Visoko around 35 kilometres north of Bosnia’s capital Sarajevo. It`s the site of a group of hills that it is often said look like pyramids.
Stein Morten Lund
Ancient pyramids were built by several cultures around the world as monumental structures intended for religious, ceremonial, and burial purposes. Here are some of the reasons behind the construction of pyramids in ancient times:
- Tombs for Pharaohs and Royalty (Egypt): In ancient Egypt, pyramids were primarily built as grand tombs for pharaohs and their consorts during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods. Egyptians believed in an afterlife where the dead pharaoh would become a god, and the pyramid served as a resurrection machine that helped the pharaoh ascend to the afterlife. The most famous examples are the Pyramids of Giza.
- Religious and Ceremonial Purposes (Mesoamerica): In Mesoamerica, civilizations such as the Maya, Aztecs, and Toltecs built pyramids not as tombs but as platforms for temples. These structures were central to religious ceremonies, including human sacrifices to appease the gods. They served as a way to bridge the gap between the heavens and the Earth, with priests conducting rituals at the summit.
- Astronomical Observations: Many ancient pyramids were aligned with celestial bodies and events, such as solstices and equinoxes. This alignment suggests that pyramids also had an astronomical purpose, serving as calendars or observatories to mark time and plan agricultural activities.
- Demonstration of Power and Wealth: Building a pyramid required a vast amount of resources, labor, and organization. For rulers, constructing such a monument was a way to demonstrate their power, wealth, and divine support to their subjects and neighboring civilizations.
- Cultural and Religious Beliefs: Pyramids reflected the cultural and religious beliefs of the people who built them. For example, the stepped design of Mesoamerican pyramids was symbolic of mountains, which were considered sacred and home to the gods. In Egypt, the pyramid's shape was associated with the primordial mound from which the Earth was created.
- Technological Advancement and Architectural Innovation: The construction of pyramids was also a display of technological advancement and architectural innovation. It showcased the builders' ability to cut, transport, and assemble massive stone blocks with precision.
Pyramids, therefore, were multifaceted structures that served not only as tombs or temples but also as symbols of the cosmic order, expressions of political power, and showcases of technological prowess. Each pyramid, regardless of its location, offers insights into the civilization that constructed it, reflecting their beliefs, achievements, and ways of life.
Stein Morten Lund, updated 8th February 2024
This article is based on generated information fra ChatGTP and supplementary sources as Wikipedia…….
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