Sunday, September 30, 2012

Egypt - Land of Mystery

Dating back to the land before time, Egypt continues to be a land of mystery and intrigue. Egyptians are still farming and earning a living today much the same way they did in ancient Egypt almost ten thousand years ago.
Many are still seen today farming and tilling their crops, using irrigation water from the Nile River via the same irrigation canals that were used many generations ago. Not much seems to have changed in this ancient land. Viewing the ancient Egyptian pyramids and temples, it almost seems as though their civilization has digressed over time.
Observing the gigantic pyramids of Egypt and the modern day mud houses at the same time, one wonders how the same peoples could be responsible for constructing both types of edifices.
Buildings and homes built over 1500 years ago are very similar to the ones being constructed today, not much seems to have changed in this ancient land.
Standing high on the plain overlooking Cairo are the pyramids of Giza, of the nearly 70 pyramids of Egypt, these three are the most popular and well known. Reputed to be nearly 5,000 years old, but in all probability are much older than that, these three landmarks have been the topic of many books, movies, and legends over time. Nothing can prepare one for the first time they are seen "live" and in person. Rising nearly 300 feet above the plateau which is itself nearly 300 feet above the Nile River Valley, they are quite impressive. The pyramids can be seen while passing homes with no roofs, enabling fires to be built in the living rooms allowing the residents to keep warm during the cold Egyptian winter evenings.
Many legends and much speculation in Egyptian mythology surround the pyramids as to why they were built, as well as to how they were built. They have been described as being burial tombs for the pharaohs and Egyptian Gods, giant observatories, ceremonial sites where many ancient ritual were performed, as well as various other functions. Although it is my understanding that no one has ever been found buried in a pyramid, all of the other functions seem to make sense. The giant pyramid, or pyramid of Cheops (Khufu), is perfectly aligned to the four cardinal points of the earth, following and extending one line along the base, it would pass through Bethlehem, while another line would extend through Stonehedge. The various viewing points available line up perfectly with different constellations that were of importance to the ancient Egyptians.
Much has been written trying to explain how they were built, using pulleys, ramps, and thousands of workman to construct them, however not much of it makes sense. Being built on the highest ground for miles, It's hard to visualize how ramps could have been built, also, there would still be evidence of the ramps, being an extremely arid climate, structures and the evidence of structures last for thousands of years. The tremendous manpower needed to built the edifices would have been staggering, how do you move a stone, some of which weigh 40 tons and are as large as a train locomotive up a ramp 300 feet high?

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