Gizeh  or Ghizeh  (´ze ) is situated on the Nile about three miles west-southwest of Cairo. The Gizeh group consists of the Great Pyramid, the second and third pyramids, and eight small pyramids.


This cross-section clearly exhibits the known passages within the seven million ton monument, which for six thousand years has stood to commemorate Cheops

The Great Pyramids  is the tomb of the Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops), of the fourth dynasty. Its original height was four hundred and eighty-one feet (present height, four hundred and fifty-one), and the original length of the sides at the base, seven hundred and fifty-five. It is built of solid masonry in large blocks, closely fitted, with use of mortar. The exterior forms a series of steps, which were originally filled with blocks of limestone accurately cut to form a smooth slope. The entrance, originally concealed, is on the north side, forty-five feet above the base and twenty-four feet to one side of the center. The passage slants downward for three hundred and six feet; but the corridor, slanting upward to the true sepulchral chambers, soon branches off from it. A horizontal branch leads to the queen's chamber, about eighteen feet square, in the center of the pyramid, and the slanting corridor continues in the Great Gallery, one hundred and fifty-one feet long, twenty-eight feet high, and seven feet wide, to the vestibule of the king's chamber, which is thirty-four and one-half feet long, and seventeen feet wide, and nineteen feet high, and one hundred and forty-one feet above the base of the pyramid. It contains a plain, empty sarcophagus.

The Second Pyramid , or pyramid of Chephren (Khafra), was originally four hundred and seventy-two feet high and seven hundred and six feet in base-measurement. It has two entrances, and interior passages and chambers similar to those of the Great Pyramid. It retains at the top, part of its smooth exterior casing.

The Third Pyramid , that of Menkaura, was two hundred and fifteen feet high, and three hundred and forty-six feet to a side at the base. The entrance-passages and sepulchral chambers are similar to those of the other pyramids. All three were built by the fourth dynasty. Temples, now ruined, stand before the eastern faces of the second and third pyramids.

Sphinx  (sfingks ).—This celebrated figure is a quarter of a mile southeast of the Great Pyramid. According to present opinion, it is older than any of the pyramids. It consists of an enormous figure of a crouching sphinx of the usual Egyptian type, hewn from the natural rock, with the flaws and cavities filled in with masonry. The body is one hundred and forty feet long; the head measures about thirty feet from the top of the forehead to the chin, and is fourteen feet wide. Except the head and shoulders, the figure has for ages generally been buried in the desert sand.

Between the paws were found an altar, a crouching lion with fragments of others, and three large inscribed tablets, one, fourteen feet high, against the Sphinx's breast, and the two others extending from it on each side, thus forming a sort of shrine. The Sphinx was a local personification of the sun-god.