History and Archaeology of Giza

 

Giza

By the Editors of the Madain Project

Giza (Gizah or Jizah; Arabic: الجيزة‎) is the third-largest city in Egypt and the capital of the Giza Governorate. It is located on the west bank of the Nile, 4.9 km (3 mi) southwest of central Cairo, and forms a part of the Greater Cairo metropolis. Giza is most famous as the location of the Giza Plateau: the site of some of the most impressive ancient monuments in the world, including a complex of ancient Egyptian royal mortuary and sacred structures, including the Great Sphinx, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and a number of other large pyramids and temples. Giza has always been a focal point in Egypt's history due to its location close to Memphis, the ancient pharaonic capital of the Old Kingdom. Its St. George Cathedral is the episcopal see of the Coptic Catholic Eparchy of Giza.

Back to Upper Egypt / Ancient Egypt

Brief History

The history of Giza dates back to prehistoric times, and the area was inhabited long before the construction of the pyramids. The location's proximity to the Nile River made it an attractive site for early settlers, providing fertile land for agriculture and trade routes.

Giza became the royal necropolis during the Old Kingdom period, which marked the peak of ancient Egyptian civilization. The construction of the pyramids began around 2600 BCE and continued for centuries. The pyramids served as elaborate tombs for pharaohs and were surrounded by temples, causeways, and other funerary structures. The precise techniques used for pyramid construction, the organization of labor, and the religious significance of these structures reflect the advanced knowledge and beliefs of ancient Egyptians.

Following the Old Kingdom, Egypt experienced periods of political and social changes. During the Middle Kingdom (circa 2055-1650 BCE), Giza remained a significant religious and funerary site.

Temples and smaller pyramids were built in the vicinity of the Great Pyramid. In subsequent periods, such as the New Kingdom (circa 1550-1070 BCE) and the Late Period (664-332 BCE), Giza continued to be venerated, but the focus of royal burials shifted to other locations, such as the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, European explorers and archaeologists, such as Napoleon Bonaparte and later scholars, rediscovered and extensively studied the Giza pyramids. Excavations and research revealed valuable information about ancient Egyptian architecture, engineering, and religious practices.

Archaeology in Giza

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