The pyramid is a particular type of architecture developed since ancient times and still used today for modern buildings.


Pyramid of Khafre and the Great Sphinx, Giza
Pyramid of Khafre and the Great Sphinx, Giza

Image source: by twiga_swala


How was a pyramid structured?

pyramid is a structure whose external surfaces are triangular that converge at a single point at the top, making the shape a pyramid in a geometric sense.

The base of a pyramid can be:



-or any polygon shape

this means that a pyramid must have at least three external triangular surfaces, four faces with the base included.

The pyramidwith a square base and four triangular outer surfaces, is the most common version.


Origin and diffusion:

The term “pyramid” is derived from the Greek language pyramis (πυραμίς) which literally means “the form of fire.”

The first pyramids were built in Mesopotamia (ziggurats calls), and then by different civilizations at different times in Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Italy, India, Thailand, Mexico, South America, and some Pacific islands.

File:Ziggarut of Ur - M.Lubinski.jpg
Ziggarut of Ur- Sumerian Great Ziggurat of Ur, near Iran

Image source: by Michael Lubinski from Green Bay, WI, USA

Ziggurat of Ur
Ziggurat of Ur

Image source: by The U.S. Army


What are the most famous pyramids?

The most famous pyramids are the Egyptian pyramids and those of the Mayan civilization.


 The Egyptian pyramids have a square base with the exception of some rectangular base, have four smooth faces which join the edges, at the top was placed the pyramidion.

The Great Pyramid & Sphinx, Cairo, Egypt
The Great Pyramid & Sphinx, Cairo, Egypt

Image source: by RussellHarryLee

The Egyptian pyramids were built as tombs above the tomb of the ruler. The development of these monuments began with the Third Dynasty as an evolution of the tomb mastaba.

The Great Pyramid of Giza (also know as the Pyramid of Cheops) is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It is estimated to have used 5.5 million tons of limestone, 8,000 tons of granite (imported from Aswan), and 500,000 tons of mortar for the construction of the Great Pyramid.

Egypt Pyramids of Giza
Egypt Pyramids of Giza

image source: by Egyptio Private Tours



Mayan civilization:

The most famous pyramids of the Mayan civilization, we find them to Chichen Itza, which is a major Mayan archaeological site located in Mexico, in the north of the Yucatan Peninsula.

In particular, the Temple of Kukulkan, also called El Castillo, is one of the most famous step pyramids pre-Columbian Mexico, with steps that run along the four sides to the top. Each of the four sides of the pyramid has 91 steps which, added together, including the platform at the top of the temple as the final step, produces a total of 365 points (that is equal to the number of days of the year). El Castillo is a world heritage site since 1988.

Temple of Kukulkan (El Castillo), Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico
emple of Kukulkan (El Castillo), Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexic

Image source: by  



The pyramid today

Surely the Mayan and Egyptian civilizations had no idea that their architecture would be able to stand the test of time and would have inspired the modern architects, today we find many buildings made following the pyramid structure.

For example:

-the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas

-or the Pyramid of the Louvre in Paris.

As a work of extreme engineering there is the Tokyo pyramid, a project under construction in a huge multifunctional structure, whose height exceeds 12 times that of the Giza pyramid, designed to withstand earthquakes and tsunami and to work with renewable energy.

Pyramide du Louvre
Pyramid of the Louvre, Paris, 1989

image source: by CampusFrance

The Sphinx (2), Luxor Las Vegas
The Sphinx , Pyramid of Luxor Hotel, Las Vegas, 1993.

Image source: by ADTeasdale

The Luxor
Pyramid of Luxor Hotel, Las Vegas, 1993.

Image source: by photographerglen


Info sources:

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