Every year, millions of people visit Egypt. Many go there just to see the amazing pyramids that the Egyptians built thousands of years ago. The pyramids are massive structures in the middle of the desert. The tallest one is almost 500 feet tall, and made of stone! But why did the Egyptians build these pyramids? What purpose did they serve? Pyramids were designed as burial tombs for Egyptian kings and pharaohs. The families could also be buried in the pyramids. The Egyptians believed that their kings were negotiators between gods and the people on Earth. This meant that kinds received the greatest respect from all of the Egyption people. Egyptians wanted to treat them well, even in death. Egyptians also believed in life after death. They wanted to make sure that kings were comfortable in the next life. That is why they made their kings into mummies to preserve their bodies after they died. They buried kings with gold and valuables. They wanted to make sure the kinds had everything they would need in the next life. A pyramid was the last part of the burial ritual for kings. The pyramids showed the importance of the kings. The first pyramid was built 4,500 years ago in Saqqara, Egypt. The first pyramids looked a little different from the ones that we know today. They were not smooth on the sides. They had steps going up all sides. The pyramids were built by stacking steps on top of each other. The pharaoh Sneferu created the style of pyramid that we see today. His pyramids were built with smooth sides all the way up. The smooth sides were important. They symbolized the rays of the sun. The Egyptians also believed that the smooth sides would allow the souls of the kings to ascend into heaven. Sneferu’s son, Khufu, built the Great Pyramid in Giza. It is the most famous of the pyramids. People still visit it today. For 4,000 years it was the tallest man-made structure in the world! Building the pyramids took a very long time. The Egyptians did not have construction equipment. They did not have electricity. The wheel had yet to be invented! The pyramids required a lot of workers. 20,000 men contributed to the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza! The pyramid had 2.3 million limestone and granite blocks on the outside. Each one weighed over 2 tons! Inside, there were many chambers and passages. It was like a mansion. That is why construction of the Great Pyramid took over 20 years. Eventually, the Egyptian culture lost some of its wealth and power. As that happened, fewer and fewer pyramids were constructed. Today, the insides of the pyramids are mostly empty. Over the course of time, grave robbers took the valuables from the inside of the pyramids. The outsides of the pyramids are still intact. They are amazing to see. The pyramids are still some of the most impressive man-made structures in the history of the world. Maybe you will visit them someday!