Ancient Pyramids Around the World

It is highly likely that when you hear the word “pyramid,” your mind takes a direct path to Egypt. Indeed, the Egyptian Pyramids hold a special place in our collective consciousness. However, other pyramids of great note and equal mystery exist around the planet. Let’s look at the famous Egyptian Pyramids while having a look at a few of the others.

  • Great Pyramid of Giza

    Great Pyramid of Giza

    One of the most recognizable sights in the world, the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, is said to have been built in a 27-year period in the early 26th century BC. The Great Pyramid was once covered in a smooth white limestone and removed long ago, and the stone was used elsewhere. As a result, the Great Pyramid suffered a decrease in height from 481 ft to 454 ft. The Great Pyramid was the tomb of Khufu and was the tallest man-made edifice in the world for more than 3,800 years. It is so close to the city of Cairo that it is part of the cityscape. Visiting the King’s Chamber (and nearby Queen’s chamber) is accomplished through a passageway from the Grand Gallery inside.

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  • Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan

    Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan

    Located in Teotihuacan, an ancient Mesoamerican city, the Pyramid of the Sun name comes from the Aztecs, but it had been abandoned centuries before by the Teotihuacanos, and it is not known what they called the monument. Whether built for a god or gods remains unknown due to the destruction of the temple atop this 216-ft tall pyramid. It aligns it both in perpendicular directions to sunrises and sunsets on specific dates of the calendar year.

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  • Meroë


    Further south of the Nile River from Egypt and its great pyramids is the Nubian Pyramids. Specifically, they were built in the Nubia region of the Nile valley that is now northern Sudan. But the main attraction of this expansive grouping of pyramids is Meroë. With more than 200 pyramids built around 300 BC, these are far smaller than Egyptian ones with steeper sides. While Egyptian pyramids were hundreds of feet high, the Nubian pyramids of Meroë reached 90 feet at maximum. However, there are more pyramids in Sudan than in Egypt!

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  • Ziggurat of Ur

    Ziggurat of Ur

    Built during the 21st century BC, the Ziggurat of Ur is one of the best-preserved pyramids in Mesopotamia. It now resides in a remote area of southeast Iraq. This pyramid rises 98 ft above the desert, though it is only the foundation that survived. It is unknown how tall it originally was when built. Abandoned when the Euphrates River changed course, this site has been under projects, and the interior remains closed to the public - but climbing to the top via stairs is permitted.

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  • Temple of the Feathered Serpent, Teotihuacan

    Temple of the Feathered Serpent, Teotihuacan

    Otherwise known as the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, Quetzalcoatl was the god of learning, writing, and books. When explored, more than a hundred possible sacrificial victims were found buried underneath. The images of a feathered serpent adorn much of this tiered pyramid. In late 2003 a tunnel beneath the Temple of the Feathered Serpent was accidentally discovered after significant rainfall collapsed an entranceway.

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  • Temple of the Two-Headed Serpent

    Temple of the Two-Headed Serpent

    Located in the ancient city of Tikal in Guatemala, the Temple of the Two-Headed Serpent was built by the Mayans around 741 AD. As one of the tallest buildings in the Mayan world, it rises above the surrounding jungle at 212 feet. Within the temple is a shrine measuring 105x40 ft. This shrine’s walls have three giant stone masks with mosaics over the entrance. Also inside the shrine are heavy wooden lintels, or beams, that feature intricate carvings.

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  • Pyramid of Khafre

    Pyramid of Khafre

    The Pyramid of Khafre is one of the three in Giza, Egypt. Not as grand as its neighbor, this pyramid is still the second tallest of the Pyramids of Giza, rising to 448 ft. Two passageways lead to the burial chamber, one from the side of the pyramid and the other from an underground tunnel. It is a short walk through the tunnels, leading to a burial chamber of 46x16 ft with the sarcophagus of pharaoh Khafre. This pyramid sits almost directly behind the Sphinx.

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  • Temple of Kukulcan

    Temple of Kukulcan

    One of the more famous pyramids built in the world, it sits in Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. The classic and well-preserved stonework of this tiered temple is the centerpiece of this ancient Mayan city. Built between 600-1000 AD. The pyramid is also located above a cenote (sinkhole) where human remains were found and believed to be the original temple. During the spring and autumn equinoxes, the afternoon sun casts triangular shadows, creating the illusion of the feathered serpent “crawling” down the temple.

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