Ancient Egypt - a land of mysteries. No other civilization has so captured the imagination of scholars and laypeople alike. Mystery surrounds its origins, its religion and its monumental architecture: colossal temples, pyramids and the enormous Sphinx. The Egyptian pyramids are the most famous of all the ancient monuments, the only remaining wonder of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Egyptian civilization in northeastern Africa that dates from the 4th millennium bc. Its many achievements, preserved in its art and monuments, hold a fascination that continues to grow as archaeological finds expose its secrets.
The Egyptians also believed that the body and soul were important to human existence, in life and in death. Their funerary practices, such as mummification and burial in tombs, were designed to assist the deceased find their way in the afterworld. The tombs were filled with food, tools, domestic wares, treasures -- all the necessities of life -- to ensure the soul's return to the body so that the deceased would live happily ever after.
The most imposing tombs are the famous pyramids, shaped like the sacred mound where the gods first appeared in the creation story. These were incredibly ambitious projects, the largest structures ever built. Their construction was overseen by highly skilled architects and engineers. Paid laborers moved the massive limestone blocks without the use of wheels, horses or iron tools. The conscripts may have been motivated by a deep faith in the divinity of their leaders and a belief in immortality.
Just as life arose from the waters of the primeval sea, so the waters of the Nile gave birth to the pharaonic kingdom. A gift to the people of Egypt, the longest river in the world flows north from the heart of Africa to the Mediterranean Sea. Its flood plain was an extensive oasis, a magnet for life -- human, plant and animal. Humans were drawn there because they could grow crops and settle into permanent villages. The annual flooding of the Nile deposited nutrient rich silt on the land, creating all the ingredients needed to support life..
Bounded on the south, east and west by a impenetrable desert, and on the north by the sea, ancient Egypt was protected from outside influences, which allowed it to evolve in its own unique way.
The Egyptian or the Nile Valley civilization developed, as the name suggests, along the banks of the river Nile in Egypt. Its long, narrow flood plain was a magnet for life, attracting people, animals and plants to its banks, and providing ideal conditions for the development of stable communities. Seen as a gift from the gods, the annual flooding of the river deposited nutrient rich silt over the land, creating ideal conditions for growing wheat, flax and other crops.
The ancient Egyptians built their pyramids, tombs, temples and palaces out of stone, the most durable of all building materials. Although earthquakes, wars and the forces of nature have taken their toll, the remains of Egypt's monumental architectural achievements are visible across the land, a tribute to the greatness of this civilization. These building projects took a high degree of architectural and engineering skill, and the organization of a large workforce consisting of highly trained craftsmen and laborers.
Apart from the pyramids, Egyptian buildings were decorated with paintings, carved stone images, hieroglyphs and three-dimensional statues. The art tells the story of the pharaohs, the gods, the common people and the natural world of plants, birds and animals. The beauty and grandeur of these sites are beyond compare. How the ancient Egyptians were able to construct these massive structures using primitive tools is still a mystery. PYRAMIDS
Built during a time when Egypt was one of the richest and most powerful civilizations in the world, the pyramids especially the Great Pyramids of Giza are some of the most...