The Ancient Egyptians are most famous for the giant pyramids which they built as tombs for their deceased kings, known as the pharaohs. They were also built for other senior members of Egyptian society, such as the queens and the heads of the pharaohs’ governments.
These tombs were built as huge pyramids of large stone blocks, often standing hundreds of feet high. They contained chambers and passageways, within which the body of the deceased would be placed, along with objects for them to use in the afterlife.
The Egyptians began building these pyramids in the early third millennium BC. The oldest surviving example is the pyramid of the Pharaoh Djoser, a pharaoh who reigned around 2650 BC. This is known today as the Step Pyramid Saqqara and was built in several tiers or steps next to the ancient city of Memphis near modern-day Cairo.
However, the most famous pyramids are those which were built near modern-day Giza on a plateau overlooking Cairo in the twenty-sixth and twenty-fifth centuries BC. These were built out of huge blocks of stone, which were transported to Giza on boats along the River Nile. Today, the stone is exposed on the outside, but in ancient times the outside was covered with fine limestone. A partly golden pyramid-shaped capstone was perched at the very top, which shone in the desert sun.
In total there are over a hundred pyramids still standing across Egypt and Sudan, and the Egyptians continued to build them for centuries.