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Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Mexico all have something in common, their unique architecture of their pyramids. Although, they do differ, but they also have some similarities as well, such as the way they were built and the purpose for which the pyramids were built.


MESOPOTAMIA


In Mesopotamia the pyramid-like structure that had smaller platforms that were built onto larger platforms were called a ziggurat. The ziggurat was the typical style of Mesopotamian temples from Sumerian through Babylonian and Assyrian times. Although ziggurats looked somewhat to some extent like the Egyptian pyramids, they were in fact quite different in ways. The ziggurat had steps on the outside of the structure and a shrine at the top. The basic Mesopotamian building material for a ziggurat was dry mud which was shaped into rectangular bricks made to last a long time. The ziggurats were very important because they served as the center for worship and were also temples where gods and goddesses could descend to earth and where humans could climb their way to heaven. Many of the ziggurats continue to be outstanding features of Mesopotamia.


EGYPT


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The pyramids in Egypt were built as monuments to hold the tombs of the pharaohs and to protect the bodies of the pharaohs. The Egyptian pyramids were mostly filled with stones and rubble. Archaeologists have found 46 pyramids so far and believe that there may possibly be more lying beneath the desert sands of Egypt. Egypt’s pyramids were the first buildings made by precisely cutting and putting together blocks of stone. The structures of all the pyramids in Egypt were made of small cut limestone blocks, granite and desert clay. It has been discovered by archeologists that the pyramids were built during a king’s lifetime because hieroglyphs on the tomb walls have been found showing the names of the individuals who had built the pyramids for their kings.


The first pyramid was built as the burial site of King Djoser (Zoser) in 60 B.C. by architect Imhotep. Later it was called the Step Pyramid of King Djoser in Saqqara, Egypt. The Step Pyramid of King Djoser was modeled after Mesopotamia’s ziggurat. The pyramid was much more than a tomb, it was a religious monument. It represented a stairway pointing to the sky for the king to climb to join the sun god.


In the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt, the largest and most famous pyramid of all was the Great Pyramid of Giza in Cairo, Egypt; it was built around 550 B.C. for King Khufu. The Great Pyramid of Giza is known worldwide as the largest stone building in the world and is almost half as tall as New York’s Empire State Building. It is also one of the last remaining wonder of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was built from almost two and a half million blocks of limestone and granite that weigh anywhere between .5 to 15 tons a piece.


The Great Pyramid of Giza took about 0 years to build without disruption from the outside world and was very risky work. Lacking the advantages of modern machinery, the Egyptians depended on abundant manpower, determination, and skill. Many men worked day in and day out, crushed bones, or fell to their death. Some laborers even believed that helping to build a pyramid gave them a better afterlife. Many ancient Egyptian pyramids still stand today in the desert as a reminder of the ancient Egyptian exaltation of life after death.


MEXICO


The great period of early civilizations of Mesoamerica was created by the Maya between the years 00 B.C. and 00 A.D. The Maya were well-known for their highly decorated and detailed ceremonial architecture, which included temples, pyramids, palaces and observatories. Remarkably enough all of the structures were built without metal tools of any kind. About the same time that the Maya cities increased in population in the southern part of Mesoamerica, the great civilization of Teotihuacan (meaning “where men become gods” or “the city of the gods”) controlled the central area of the region. Teotihuacan was built around a ceremonial made up of great temples-pyramids. Teotihuacan’s pyramids became a series of pyramids and became a site for religious purposes and ceremonies. All of the pyramids of Teotihuacan were built to be aligned with the stars and the solar system from exact points using highly developed understanding of mathematics, geometry, and astronomy as a guide for preciseness. Egyptians believed in doing this, that the dead pharaoh could climb his way to heaven.


The biggest pyramid in Teotihuacan, today, known as the Pyramid of the Sun, made of mud, is approximately seven hundred feet square and over about two hundred feet high. The great Pyramid of the Sun was discovered in171 and was built over a natural cave that was believed by Mesoamericans to be sacred and was a gateway to the spiritual world. Teotihuacan fell around 650 A. D. to invaders, but the civilizations of Mesoamerica lasted for centuries and the Pyramid of the Sun still stands high today, but the names of the builders still remain unknown.


Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Mexico all built pyramids for similar reasons, to protect their pharaohs or god(s). Some of the materials they used to build the pyramids weren’t the same, even though they may have looked similar. In Mesopotamia the ziggurats were made of dry mud shaped into rectangular bricks, while on the other hand, in Egypt the pyramids were made of limestone, granite, and desert clay. Then in Mexico the pyramids were made of dry mud.


Pyramids are amazing creations of man. Although pyramids are now a part of history and are not really used today except for tourist attractions, they are evidence that people a long time ago were very independent. They didn’t need all the fancy machinery that we have now; they had their bare hands to work with. Now we can see and learn about these magnificent pyramids all over the world.





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