Before describing the imposing and famous funerary complex at Gizeh we might look at what that famous Greek «journalist», Herodotus, had to say about it on the basis of the testimony of various foreigners who had lived in Egypt. Although Herodotus often criticized Egypt and its inhabitants he nevertheless left us an incredible amount of precious information.
It took ten years to build the track along which the blocks were hauled, a work of hardly less magnitude than the pyramid itself, for it is 5 stadia long (923.5 metres), 10 orgyia wide (18.47 metres) and 8 orgyia high (14.78 metres) at its highest point, and is constructed of polished stone blocks decorated with carvings of animals. It took ten years to build, including the underground burial chambers on the hill where the pyramids stand. A cut was made from the Nile, so that the water so deviated turned the site of the pyramid itself took twenty years. It is square at the base, the length of each side, 8 plethras (246.26 metres), being equal to the height. It is made of polished , beautifully fitted, stone blocks none of the blocks being less than 30 feet long (9.24 metres).»
At Gizeh the visitor is presented with one of the most beautiful sights created by the hand of man. It is here that the Egyptian saying «Everybody fears Time but Time fears the pyramids» is most apposite. Gizeh is the present name given to the great necropoli of Cairo and it consists of a plateau having an area of about two thousand square metres. The Sphinx together with the three Great Pyramids, those of Cheops, Chep- hren and Micerinus are found here. The latter has three small satellite pyramids. The three monuments are arranged diagonally but in such a way that none of them hides the sun from the other two. Typically each pyramid consists of a funerary temple in the valley. The complex of Cheops is almost completely destroyed while that of Chephren is largely extant. The pyramid of Cheops is the largest of the three. It was originally 146 metres high, today it is only 137 metres high, its truncated summit being a platform 10 metres square. Today the pyramid has completely lost its external facing, thus revealing the enormous internal blocks of stone over which one must laboriously climb in order to reach the summit. However the stupendous view from the top makes the effort involved well worth while. Chep- hren’s pyramid is the only one which still has, at least at the top the smooth external facing. Although it was lower than Cheop’s today it is in fact the same height because it is not truncated. It originally had a red granite facing at the base.