Great Pyramid of Khufu

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Giza, Egypt; c.2500 BCE

The Great Pyramid at Giza was built to honour a god-king, the pharaoh Khufu, who was called Cheops by the Greeks. It stood 146 metres (480 feet) high and was the tallest man-made structure in the world for 4,000 years, until it was overtopped by the spires of the most ambitious medieval cathedrals.

Khufu’s memorial was not the first of its kind, but the last and largest in a 200-year-old tradition that began when Imhotep organized the building of the pyramid at Saqqara (2667 BCE) as a monument to the pharaoh Zoser. Imhotep’s pyramid did not have the neat geometrical lines of the later pyramids, ...

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