The Pyramid of Khufu
This pyramid, constructed of limestone and granite, was built between 2589 and 2566 BC for King Khufu, also known as Cheops, son of King Sneferu and Queen Hetpeheres. This pyramid is the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and until the early part of this century, it was considered the highest construction in the world. It was originally 481 feet tall, but is now 449 feet.
The Pyramid of Khafre
This pyramid of limestone and red granite was constructed between 2558 and 2532 BC for King Khafre, also known as Chephren or Khefren. He was the son and presumed successor of King Khufu. His pyramid is the second largest at Giza, although since it was built somewhat higher on the plateau, it can seem larger than the Khufu pyramid. It was originally 471 feet tall and is now a height of 446 feet.
The Pyramid of Menkaure
Menkaure, also known as Mycerinus, was pharaoh of Egypt from 2490 to 2472 BC. He is believed to have been the son of Khafre and his sister, Khamernebti I. His pyramid is the smallest of the three, having been originally 215 feet tall. It is now 203 feet tall and is constructed of limestone and red granite.
The Sphinx symbolizes Egypt more than any other monument. It lies to the east of the pyramids and is part of the Khafre pyramid complex. It is carved of limestone and believed to have been constructed sometime between 2555 and 2532 BC, although it is possible that only the base was carved during this period. The actual body of the Sphinx may be older. This monument is 66 feet tall and is the image of a hybrid creature that is part lion, part pharaoh. The lion's body is believed by some to represent the pharaoh's guardian spirit, and the head may be King Khafre in his royal headdress.
Taking a guided tour of the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx is the ultimate way of getting the most out of a visit to these monuments of antiquity. Viator Travel offers reasonably priced tours that are professionally guided by Egyptologists. The tours last between three and four hours, and transport to and from the site is provided.
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Article Written By Kristin Sinclair
Based in Oslo, Norway, Kristin Sinclair has been working as a translator and writer since 1990. She specializes in travel, history and philosophy, and her work has appeared in "Living Now!," "Women Redefining Business" and online at Planetexpat.com and other websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in the history of ideas.