At least sixteen people were injured Sunday near the Grand Egyptian Museum, close to pyramids in Gaza, in an explosion that targeted a tourist bus. No group has yet claimed responsibility of the attack.
Most of the injured tourists are from South Africa. Three of them are being treated in hospital while others suffered just minor injuries.
Attacks of Islamist militants on tourists in Egypt are common and in Sunday’s incident an explosive device went off near the museum fence when the tourist bus was passing by.
According to eye witness a very loud explosion was heard and the blast hit a tourist bus carrying 28 passengers. Images of the spot shows a bus with shattered windows and a private car behind the bus was damaged too.
State-run broadcaster Nile News TV reports the bus was carrying 7 South African tourists and 10 Egyptian civilians.
Egyptian officials said after the attack things were under control and there were no life-threatening injuries.
Last December a similar attack by hardcore militants killed three tourists from Vietnam and a local tour guide near the Great Pyramids.
Two attacks in just six months raise questions on the security measures of Egypt at such strategic locations.
Meanwhile, the timing is critical as the country is preparing to host the African Cup of Nations for football (Afcon) scheduled to be held in June.
It took more than 80 years and roughly 20,000-30,000 workers to build the pyramids of Giza. Scientists believe they were built while the Nile River was flooded. That made it possible for limestone blocks to be floated from the quarries to the base of the pyramid.
The stones were then polished and pushed up ramps into position. But manual laborers weren’t the only ones who helped build the pyramids. Architects ran ropes from the outer corners up to the planned summit to make sure the stones were positioned correctly. And since the pyramids are highly spiritual to the Egyptians, priests and astronomers carefully selected the right orientation for each one.
Pyramid of Khufu
The Pyramid of Khufu is sometimes called the Great Pyramid because at 481 feet tall, it’s the largest of the three Giza pyramids. It’s also the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing. The pyramid was built around 2550 BC by Pharaoh Khufu.
The pyramid consists of about 2.3 million stone blocks, weighing an average of 2.5 to 15 tons each. The Great Pyramid has three burial chambers: the first is underground, the second, above ground and the third is the king’s chamber.
During the time of its construction, the Great Pyramid was the centerpiece of an amazing compound that, according to National Geographic, “included several small pyramids, five boat pits, a mortuary temple, a causeway, a valley temple, and many flat-roofed tombs for officials and some members of the royal family.”
Pyramid of Khafre
The Pyramid of Khafre was built around 2520 BC and stands 471 feet high. Though Khafre’s pyramid is smaller than his father Khufu’s, Khafre made up for it by including an elaborate complex which boasts a mortuary temple, niches for royal statuary, an entrance hall, storage chambers, a colonnaded courtyard and an interior sanctuary. It also has more statues than any other pyramid, the most notable of which is the great Sphinx.
The Sphinx is carved from bedrock and stands in front of Khafre’s pyramid. It depicts the pharaoh as a human-headed lion, wearing the headdress of the pharaohs.
The last of the three great pyramids, the Menkaura Pyramid is a lot smaller than the others. Built around 2490 BC, archeologists believe the Menkaura Pyramid is smaller because there wasn’t enough room left at the Giza Plateau and also because the cost of building pyramids had risen so much by that time. Also, Egypt was beginning what we would term an economic recession.
While the other Great Pyramids were made of limestone, Menkaure’s pyramid was covered in granite on the bottom levels and in the burial chamber.
Mysteries of the Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza has stood preserved since at least 2600 B.C. Despite the milestones of research, it is still one of humanity’s most guarded mysteries still looming today. Most studies scarcely brush on the magnitude of this architectural wonder. This is why the search for answers must still be sought out again, and again, until the right questions are asked, or until the answers found explain the final question to why the Great Pyramid of Giza was built in the first place. Until then, here are some mysteries surrounding the Pyramid of Giza, forming questions to the unknown.
The Great Pyramid’s Construction
Humanity has dusted off the Great Pyramid of Egypt to find that it is comprised of two million stone blocks. It stands about 450 feet high, with a missing limestone cap that would have made it originally 481 feet high. Each block weighs an average of 2 ½ tons. The base of this pyramid spans over 13 acres. There was once a time when the Great Pyramid of Giza was encased with white limestone, although this layer is gone now.
How the Great Pyramid Was Built
Egyptologists today believe that the Great Pyramid of Giza was constructed by copper chisels and saws, which sliced through the granite and limestone blocks. Engineers attested against that, stating that copper tools can’t cut through such hard stone. Anthropologists believe that these weighty stones were dragged, lifted or rolled in place using ramps of earth and brick. Sensibility alone makes this explanation a little too difficult to swallow too.
The Great Pyramid’s Geometric Designs
Despite controversy of being coincidence, the pyramid’s dimensions are geometrically proportionate to phi, the Golden Mean, signifying the geometrical blueprint of life itself. Not only that, but the apex of the Pyramid of Giza, stationed in the King’s Chamber, incorporates the Pythagorean Theorem. This geometric feat, which was built in such a monumental stone mass, is so incredible that it still cannot be mimicked with today’s modern sciences and technologies.
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