MANY strange sights and wonderful ruins are to be seen in the Eastern countries, prominent among which are the pyramids of central Egypt. 

There are five groups in all, numbering forty structures. Most of them are quite small, but some of them are of such dimensions as to entitle them to a place among the wonders of the world. They all stand upon the brow of hills looking back into the great Lybian desert.

The one we shall describe is of a group of three, called the group of Gizah, situated in central Egypt, about eight miles from Cairo, and between five and six miles west of the Nile. It is called Cheops, and is supposed to have been built by a king of that name.

The foundation of this pyramid is a limestone rock. It stands on the very edge of the desert, and is in form an exact square, facing the four points of the compass. The length of each side is 764 feet. It covers an area of 571,536 square feet. The solid contents have been estimated at 85,000,000 cubic feet. Its original height was 480 feet, but the upper twenty feet have been removed for building purposes, leaving a level top of about thirty feet. Perhaps you do not realize how high this really was. Eighty feet is considered very high for a tree to grow, but six trees eighty feet high placed one on the top of the other would only reach the height of this pyramid. It covers an area of thirteen acres. Think of that! Thirteen acres is considered quite a farm.

 Now for a description of this pyramid. It is built of solid rock, hewn from a quarry in the mountains on the opposite side of the valley of the Nile. Herodotus, who traveled through this country 455 B. C. says it took 100,000 men ten years simply to grade the road on which the stones were to be conveyed from the quarry for building. Then the rocky hill on which the pyramid stands had to be leveled, the blocks of stone cut from the quarry, and brought to the place where they were to be used. To do this and build the structure it took 360,000 men twenty years. It was built by laying one layer of stones on the ground prepared for it, then another layer on the top of this, followed by another, and another, each layer drawn in a little as it goes up, just enough to make good steps. This work was continued, layer following layer, and the top growing smaller and smaller, till at last it became so small that no more stones could be added. 

Then the pyramid was finished.  On the inside of this structure are passage ways and two chambers. The following diagram will show their location.

No. 1. Entrance on the north side. 2. Queen's chamber. 7. King's chamber. 8. Smaller chambers above the king's chamber to relieve the roof from so great weight.

The shaded portion shows the native bed of limestone rock on which the pyramid is built. The passageway from 1 to 2 is eighty feet long. From 2 to 4 is 225 feet. 

From 4 to 9 is 105 feet. Ascending from 2 to 3 you strike two passages. One leading to 5, the queen's chamber, which is entirely empty. The other leads to 7, the king's chamber a room thirty-four feet long, seventeen feet wide, and nineteen feet high. This is no doubt the room for which this astonishing structure was built. The only article of furniture, which it contains, is a granite sarcophagus, a chest of red granite chiseled from a solid block. It is seven feet and five inches long, three feet and two inches broad, and three feet and three inches deep. This is the only tomb found in the pyramid.

What a tale of suffering and wrong this pile tells. Think of the 100,000 slaves compelled to work ten years in building a road. And think of the 360,000 compelled to work twenty years in building the pyramid and what for? To gratify the ambition of a king in having such a burial place. 

But did he succeed? The old granite sarcophagus standing in the king's chamber is empty. No traces of his remains are to be found. Some think he never was buried there. Others think that his remains have been removed. Which ever way it is, did it pay?

J. E. White