Pyramid Shape

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The Egyptian pyramids have fascinated the Western world for 26 centuries, and have become the symbol of the culture of the Nile Valley. The myths that have been woven around them and their builders continue to live in all those who visit the country.

1.Definition of Pyramid
2.Properties of a Pyramid
3.Types of Pyramids
4.Volume of a Pyramid
5.Surface Area of a Pyramid
6.Net of a Pyramid
7.FAQs on Pyramid

The elements that made up the pyramidal complex, its function and symbolism, the ritual carried out by the priests, the economic infrastructure it needed to sustain it, the technology applied in its construction or the personnel in charge of it are just some of the aspects that contribute to understanding the complexity of these buildings. Buildings that go beyond mere architecture to reveal the cultural richness of a nation in the earliest moments of its history.

Right pyramids with a regular base[edit]

Since the dawn of the Pharaonic State, and even before, we find in primitive graves some element that shows part of the symbolism that will later be attributed to the pyramidal shape.

  • The Egyptian, zealous observer and knowledgeable of his environment, with whom he had to live, attributed the emergence and development of life to the small piles of fertile silt that began to emerge when the waters of the annual flood of the Nile descended.
  • The birth of the world thus starts from a primordial hill from which the sun rose for the first time, which in turn began the creation of all beings and elements.
  • It is very probable that this idea appears already reflected in some tombs of the proto-dynastic period, whose superstructure (visible part) was covered by a mound of earth, thus symbolizing the rebirth of the deceased to a new life.
  • The pharaoh incarnates the creator god on earth and is in charge, through daily ritual, of maintaining cosmic order, repeating the initiating act of all existence that the creative divinity once performed.
  • It can thus be understood that both birth and rebirth were the same thing for the ancient Egyptians. At the same time, the tomb will be conceived as the residence of the deceased, and will contain everything necessary for their survival.
  • Both ideas, place of resurrection (hill) and house for eternity, appear perfectly documented from Dynasty I, especially in royal graves.

From these very early moments a conception of the afterlife of an underground type is assumed, since the burial chamber is dug into the ground.


The passage to a celestial and solar destiny, which will be exclusive to the kings, will take place in Dynasty III and will mean a true revolution. Not only does it affect beliefs, but it also represents a whole series of changes in funeral architecture, which will require the adoption of technological innovations.

Frequently Asked Questions on Pyramid

2667-2648 BC), pharaoh of Dynasty III, commissioned the construction of his mortuary complex from Imhotep, architect, vizier and high priest of Ra. He planned an authentic palace for the occasion, possibly a full-scale copy of the one in Memphis .

Square Pyramid Shape

In addition, all the funerary buildings destined to ensure the rebirth of the king were included in the enclosure. In keeping with tradition, Imhotep creates a mastaba, which he will enlarge twice.

Pyramid Formulas

However, later, and without knowing the circumstances that led him to make that decision, he reconverts the initial mastaba into a pyramid of four steps, to which he will add two more, for a total of six. This change of idea is fundamental, since it was not only a technical innovation (the construction involved the acquisition of previously unknown architectural knowledge), but it also manifests a new vision of the conception of the afterlife. As the Pyramid Texts will later point out, the structure is a gigantic stairway so that the king can ascend through it and reach heaven.

Calculator Use

Thus, and for the first time, in the Djoser complex we find two possibilities from beyond: the primitive underground (the chamber is still excavated in the ground) and the celestial, whose instrument of ascension is constituted by the pyramid.


This, in turn, represents the primordial hill, and therefore the place of transformation of the monarch to his new state of rebirth. The architect of all this was Imhotep. No doubt, as the high priest of Ra, he used his influence over the king to help change his mind.

Since then, the solar god will acquire primacy in the pantheon, as also, evidently, his clergy. The relationship of the royalty of the Old Kingdom with Ra will from this moment be very close, and will be felt in all aspects of Egyptian culture.

The pyramid reflects the symbol of that union of the pharaohs with the solar divinity. Djoser’s successors not only use it as a tomb, but a multitude of small pyramids will be built throughout Egypt, probably as a reminder to its people of the monarch’s extensive power, but also of his benefactor nature.

Imhotep had a profound impact on the later Egyptian mentality, to the point of considering him their first sage and even being deified.

To Djoser and Imhotep we also owe the habitual use of stone in architecture. Although it is known that the last monarchs of Dynasty II began to use it in the construction of their tombs, the development of the working technique is seen in their funeral complex in Saqqara.

The revolution

It is an initial phase, and the artisans do not yet know its constructive possibilities. For this reason, the stone is carved into small blocks slightly larger than mud bricks. Gradually, and through practice, they will become familiar with its characteristics and potential, while perfecting the extraction, carving, transport and placement techniques.

A good example of this are the multi-ton blocks that are known from Dynasty IV.