“How I wish that I had a daughter that had skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony.”
Many of us have heard this line, and probably not just once. This is the opening line from Queen Eva in the widely popular animated series, Snow-White, and the seven dwarfs.
The German fairy tale, Snow-White, and its US adaptation by Disney have been on our screens ever since all of us were born. Growing up in my hometown of Gweru, Zimbabwe, I remember that we all (both boys and girls) had some form of Snow-White themed toys. Girls loved Snow-White and Queen Eva dolls (rarely would you find Queen Grim Hilde or the evil Queen dolls) while boys loved the castle houses.
The best moments, however, came during the summer season (November to March). You would find groups of children gathered outside their homes after the rains, all building sand castles. Such was the impact Snow-White had then and continues to have now with its subsequent revamps.
In our childhood innocence, the mainstream media largely blinded us then; we did not get to appreciate the fine things near us. Only when we were much older did we learn that in Africa, we have our own ‘castles’, and ours, we call them pyramids.
Egypt is the home of pyramids. These huge towering pieces of architectural brilliance were first constructed around 4 A.D. They were built as graves for the Egyptian kings or Pharaohs as they are officially known. Pharaohs were highly regarded in ancient Egyptian society; they were seen as intermediaries between the people and God. Egyptians believed that at death, the soul divided itself one part would ascend to heaven and the other would remain connected to the body. In designing the pyramids, they took this in hindsight. On the outside, the pyramid has smooth angled sides; these symbolize the rays of the sun and aid the soul to ascend into heaven. Inside, there is enough room for large stocks of food, furniture, and other offerings for their Pharaoh. Egyptians believed in life after death, so they made sure their King would not suffer or go hungry in the afterlife.
The Giza pyramids are the faces of ancient Egyptian civilization. They are listed as one of the seven natural wonders. The Giza pyramids are located on top of the Giza plateau on the west bank of the Nile river. The Giza pyramids consist of three towering pyramids each with its own history and magical allure.
The pyramid of Khufu or Cheops that is widely known as the Great Pyramid of Giza, greets you from a distance before you even take your first steps climbing up on the Giza Plateau. The Khufu pyramid was built for Khufu who was the second of the eight Pharaohs of the fourth dynasty. During its early years, the Khufu pyramid measured 146 meters in height. However, it has depreciated over the years but it still has an impressive height of 137 meters.
Contrary to popular opinion, slaves did not build the Great Pyramid of Giza. However, skilled workers who took pride in their work designed and built the Giza pyramids. The pyramid of Khufu is surrounded on one side by three much smaller pyramids, which belong to King Khufu’s wives. On the other side, there are five boat pits. Two of the ships recovered intact from these boat pits are housed inside one of the pyramids which acts as a museum.
The pyramid of Khaffre is located several meters away from the pyramid of Khufu. Though the Khaffre pyramid is smaller in height and volume in comparison to the pyramid of Khufu, it seems as if it is much bigger. This, however, is because it was built on higher ground. The pyramid of Khaffre is famous for the various statues inside it. Most of them are of former Kings.
The pyramid of Menkaure is the other pyramid found in the Great Pyramids of Giza complex. The Menkaure pyramid is the hardest hit pyramid of the three by decay. It has lost its entire interior limestone casing. However, with the other two, it has a valley temple offering good viewing of the entire area around and surrounding the Great Pyramids of Giza complex.
The Great Pyramids of Giza complex is one of the many such complexes in Egypt. Other equally fascinating structures include the Sphinx. This is a pyramid, which unlike all others were created using one solid enormous limestone rock. The Sphinx features in most images portraying the Egyptian pyramids. On the outside, it has a body of a lion from the base and at the top has the head of a human. The Grand Egyptian Museum, which is partial, opened housing popular ancient Egyptian drawings, writing, and sculpture.
Though having appreciated the beauty of Egypt’s pyramids from the many articles on the Internet, there is no greater feeling than coming up close with the towering grandeur and magical allure of Egypt’s timeless pyramids.