The terrific pyramids of the Egyptians (the Egyptian symbol of human advancement) are viewed as the primus inter pares of the seven miracles of the world. From the Aztecs, to Maya, to Teotihuacan, to Chinese and different civic establishments, with every last one of them loaning their own twist to the idea of pyramidal engineering, the masonry structures which date as far back as the third dynasty is what places the Pharaohs on the globe as the trendsetters of modern day civilization.
The word 'pyramid' really originates from the Greek word 'pyramis' which signifies 'wheat cake'. The word 'pyramis' was utilized to portray the old Egyptian structures since they helped the Greeks to remember pointy-topped wheat cakes.
How the pyramids were built has been a mystery that archeologists have been trying to solve for many years. It is believed that thousands of slaves were used to cut up the large blocks and then slowly move them up the pyramid on ramps. The pyramid would get slowly built, one block at a time. Scientists estimate it took at least 20,000 workers over 23 years to build the Great Pyramid of Giza. Because it took so long to build them, Pharaohs generally started the construction of their pyramids as soon as they became rulers. Most pyramids were believed to be made with cleaned, exceedingly white limestone, so as to give them a splendid appearance when seen from afar.
One fascinating point to note is that, apart from Egypt, several other civilizations ventured pyramids. There are many Meso-American pyramids with exceptional highlights. Also, archeologists have discovered submerged pyramids off the shoreline of Japan. China too has its very own pyramidal developments.
Pyramids used to be the last resting place of Pharaohs. The Egyptians built them to show the divine providence of their leaders and to give them a sheltered spot from which to climb to the great beyond (the afterlife). There were not necessarily used as tombs. That said, they were noteworthy to the Egyptian Kings in death. The pyramids served as a center for the king's soul to be accepted to the hereafter. The chamber in the Pyramid includes a stone casket where the body would apparently lie after death and pyramids were filled with treasure and items for the Pharaoh to use in the afterlife.
The walls were often covered with carvings and paintings. Near the Pharaoh's chamber would be other rooms where family members and servants were buried. There were often small rooms that acted as temples and larger rooms for storage. Narrow passageways led to outside, sometimes fake burial chambers or passages would be used to try and trick grave robbers. Due to such valuable treasure within the pyramid, grave robbers would try to break in and steal the treasure. Despite the Egyptian's efforts, nearly all of the pyramids were robbed of their treasures by 1000 B.C.
Some of the earlier pyramids were called step pyramids. They had large ledges which looked like giant steps. Archeologists believe the steps were built as stairways for the pharaoh to use to climb to the sun god. Newer pyramids have had more sloping and flat sides. The modern design of pyramids with sloping and flat sides represent a mound that Egyptians believe emerged at the beginning of time. According to Egyptian folklore, the sun god stood on the mound and created the other gods and goddesses.
There are around 138 Egyptian pyramids. Some of them are huge, the largest is the Pyramid of Khufu. It is also called the Great Pyramid of Giza. When it was first built it was over 480 feet tall. It was the tallest man-made structure for over 3800 years and is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It's estimated that this pyramid was made from 2.3 million blocks of rock weighing 5.9 million tons.