Pyramids around the World
Whenever there is a mention of pyramids, even by the National Geographic, the great Land of the Pharaohs comes to the mind. How pyramids were constructed and the reasons behind these monstrous formations are speculated over thousands and thousands of research pages. While these mysteries remain unsolved, there are ancient and modern pyramids that enthrall our sense of mystique. The structure is not copyrighted by the Egyptians, there are other places these man-made wonders can be seen, though shapes and styles in the building may differ from place to place.
Besides the famous Great Pyramid, there are eight others of various sizes in Giza alone. The first of these was built somewhere around 2630 B.C. Abusir has three pyramids, with Lisht and Dashur boasting two. Amazingly enough, they seem to be dotted all over Egypt, in areas such as Saqqara, Medium, Abu Rawash, El-Lahun and Hawara to name just a few more. Picking a place to explore will be the most difficult task in Egypt, guides are much easier to find, ready and willing to take tourists to any and all of the local treasure troves to the past.
Photo by ‘liber’ (Ricardo Liberato)
North America isn’t the best location to find pyramids but, much to the surprise of many, there are a few to be found there. Most North American pyramids resemble stair stacked mounds of dirt, such as Munks Mount at Cahokia near Collinsville, Illinois. These mounds were believed to be involved in religious rites; however there are no conclusive studies as to their exact use. There are also Etowah Mounds in Cartersville, Georgia and Miamisburg Mound in Ohio. Notice, both sites are called mounds instead of pyramids, though the shape seems to be very like what can be found in Egypt. There are a few guides to American pyramids and packages available, but make sure you find a professional guide who knows the drill.
Central and North America
Pyramids here are exclusively Mayan and take much of their style from the Babylonians. They have large stepped levels with a center stair case. Alters, shrines and temples can normally be found at the top. Built for Lord Pacal in around 683 A.D, the Pyramid of Inscription is the most well known of the ones found in Central America. Other pyramids of note in Central America are the Pyramid of Kukulkan and the ancient city of Teotihuacan, which was built around 100 BC. The Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon are the largest two of about 600 structures found on this site. Guides are easy to find, but speaking Spanish can do wonders as not all of the best guides speak English.
Dating from 2600BC to 2000BC, the Caral Pyramids are in the Lima region of Peru. Few pyramids can be found in South America though, mostly because the ruins here are not well preserved. San Isidro in Peru is home to an adobe pyramid that has been restored. It was originally built around 800 BC. Another, Huaca Larga, boasts the distinction of being the largest found in South America. Interestingly enough, they believe it was originally much larger than it is now, even up to thrice its current size.
Though well hidden, there are 16 known Greek pyramids, most of which are monuments to those lost in battle. One such battle, the Battle of Hysiai, left behind ruins dating back to 669 B.C. The only two fully intact ones are at Helleniko and Ligourio, but the other ruins are now being carefully maintained to preserve history. Studies give evidence to prove they are nothing like their Egyptian counterparts which were built for religious purposes. Guides are abundant at the towns closest to the ruins.
Even if the so called Bosnian Pyramids were declared a ‘cruel hoax’ after intense research, a few pyramids do exist in Europe. Most showed up here due to what is believed to be Christian influence. European pyramids have extremely sharp angles and tend to be very tall, with small bases. The Cathedral in San Salvador is one; constructed between 791 and 842 A.D. European style incorporated the old with the new in their design and in so doing saved the heritage of the few pyramids they have.
The art of building pyramids, helped by modern machinery now, has not faded; the mystique remains and we are still enthralled by the grandeur. The Louvre Pyramid in Paris is a functional pyramid that leads into the Louvre Museum. While some gloat at the magnificence of a modern pyramid made of glass and metal, others call the controversial Louvre Pyramid the ultimate American designed wart on the face of Paris. The controversy ebbs from Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code; an interesting read, even if they say he took artistic liberties.
Transamerica Pyramid, the Pyramid Arena, the Walter Pyramid and Vegas’s gem the Luxor Hotel are just a few other modern pyramids that catch the eye.
Influence in the design may vary from country to country, but when exploring, you can find evidence of pyramids world wide. Look closely when visiting other countries; see how many used the design of pyramids to inspire other buildings. No matter where you travel to look, the one constant is amazement at the perseverance of the ancient civilizations that created them.