You can’t talk about Stone Age construction without talking about the giants of that time: the pyramids of Giza. Traveling to Egypt today and standing in front of these magnificent structures, it’s hard not to be awed by the skill and determination of people who could build such structures thousands of years ago. But what exactly were these amazing structures built upon?
Located in the heartland of Africa, the desolate plains of Giza seem like an odd spot to build something so historic. But these endless sand dunes provided the perfect backdrop for the construction of the great pyramids, and for that matter, for a number of smaller structures that can be found scattered around the area. While experts still debate about the actual use of these constructions, there’s no denying that they are awe-inspiring works of architecture and engineering that continue to amaze people to this very day.
The Rise Of Pyramids And Todays Construction
Though it’s been more than a decade since the global economy took a sharp turn for the worse, the construction business has been very fortunate. With limited work opportunities and a high demand for luxury apartments, land speculators have seen a great opportunity and have bought up huge chunks of prime real estate, often paying far above market value. With the advent of the internet, the interest in purchasing real estate for investment purposes has grown, and many young people have become wealthy through land ownership. From there, they’ve been able to acquire the building materials they need to construct their dream homes.
The result is that we’re now living in a golden era of construction. Projects that were once considered impossible are now on the agenda, and many a times these ambitious buildings have made it past the drawing board and into full-fledged reality. Take, for example, the case of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
This wonder of the ancient world still awes and amazes people today because it’s the epitome of craftsmanship. Despite the fact that the Great Pyramid was designed hundreds of years before the mechanical arm was even invented, architects and engineers have still gone through great efforts to make it function smoothly. The result is that the Queen’s pyramid continues to be one of the world’s most iconic structures. Similarly, many other historic buildings that were built centuries ago still retain their mystique and are considered unique works of art.
An Engineering Masterpiece
While we’re on the subject of historic buildings, it’s important to take a moment to appreciate the incredible amount of craftsmanship that went into their construction. For instance, take a look at the Roman Forum, the center of Roman culture and activity during the reign of Emperor Augustus. The remains of this incredible building still stand today, and though much of it was destroyed during the Middle Ages, its reconstruction in the 1800s was careful and precise, using techniques that were developed over hundreds of years by the greatest minds in Roman engineering. Today, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most photographed buildings in the world.
Now, compare that to the mechanical diggers and earth moving equipment used in modern construction. While technology has made our job easier in many ways, especially when it comes to the logistics of transporting heavy materials, as the need for human labor has decreased, construction as an industry has changed. These days, a lot of the work is done by robots, eliminating the need for skilled labor. But the quality of the work is still astonishingly high, considering that it’s man-made. If you’ve ever seen the movie Frankenstein, you know what I mean.
Fully Funded, Well-Liked
Another great example is the Rockefeller Center in New York City. Though it was originally built in the 1930s, the complex still boasts an astonishing amount of original Art Deco details. While it was initially built as an insurance company headquarters, its construction was fully funded by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and the design still reflects its charitable mission. Ever since its construction, the complex has been a well-liked and well-visited tourist spot. Interestingly, since its construction, the surrounding area has undergone a significant transformation. In the past, there were no green spaces near the center, but today, there are lush parks, reflecting the revitalization of the area.
The Next Generation Of Constructors
Even now, centuries after its construction, the Great Pyramid of Giza is still a great example of engineering mastery. Yet even more astonishing is that the construction of this amazing structure spanned over a century, with multiple generations passing the torch of knowledge and expertise from one to the next. While it started as a pyramid project for the King’s son, King Khufu, it was actually his grandson, King Cheops, who finished and perfected it. And not only was it completed with the help of his sons and grandsons, but also his wife and daughters. So not only did King Khufu coin the term “Great Pyramid,” but he also had a hand in building it. Through careful documentation and analysis, we now know that the Great Pyramid was designed to last for eternity and to serve as a template for future generations.
While we’re on the subject of documentation and analysis, it’s important to point out that even today, thousands of years after its construction, the Great Pyramid of Giza is still held in high regard by the scientific community. In 2004, renowned scientist Sir Isaac Newton was credited with coming up with the design for the great pyramid, and in 2015, the Guinness World Records recognized it as the largest constructors project ever undertaken.
Since then, a team from North Carolina State University has been hard at work analyzing data from ancient surveys and applying modern science to try and figure out just how big the structure really was. Using all sorts of cutting edge technology, the researchers have been able to put the dimensions and weight of the structure into context, using mathematical equations and models to determine its exact composition. All this data has been published in a peer-reviewed paper in the Journal of Quaternary Science, and the results are truly astounding. With a base area of about 125,000 square feet, and a height above ground of 481 feet, the Great Pyramid of Giza stands as the largest construction ever known, even today.
The Largest Construction Ever
Forbes recently conducted a study to determine the most expensive real estate projects ever completed. One of the structures that made the list is the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in England, which was completed in 1995 for the princely sum of £16 million ($23 million at today’s prices). But the real stunner is the Great Pyramid of Giza, which was originally built in the Giza Necropolis in Egypt more than 5,000 years ago and which still stands today as the largest construction ever built. The report found that the structure cost more than £500,000 to build and that its restoration alone cost more than £300,000. So even now, more than 5,000 years later, the Great Pyramid of Giza remains one of the most expensive constructions ever built.
It’s not just the great pyramids of Giza that stand out as some of the biggest, most expensive, and most amazing structures ever built. We also have the Parthenon in Athens, the Roman Forum in Rome, and the Burj Al Arab in Dubai to consider. In 2007, it was reported that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had purchased the entire city of Duba for the princely sum of £25 million, and it’s still one of the world’s most luxurious real estate projects, to this very day.
The Largest Civil Engineering Project Ever
Not content with being the largest construction project ever, the Great Pyramid of Giza also holds the record for the largest civil engineering project ever. This record was originally set in 2015, when it was revealed that the Chinese government had begun construction on the world’s largest mechanical digger, according to news reports. Standing at over 300 feet high and more than a thousand feet long, the mammoth mechanical digger is designed to excavate a whole mountain, and it will be the machine that the report’s authors will ride into history, literally. Standing at the controls of this incredible piece of machinery, you’ll be able to survey the entirety of the Giza Necropolis, as well as the rest of Cairo, from atop. It’s safe to say that this will be one ride that you won’t forget.
Bold As Art
One of the reasons why the Great Pyramid of Giza still stands out today as an engineering masterpiece is because of its brilliant design. After all, the structure wasn’t built for practical use or for existence as a memorial. Rather, it was crafted with artistic brilliance, and it continues to amaze people because it is as beautiful as it is functional.