Pyramids were stone structures built as burial tombs for Pharoahs and their families.
The afterlife was very important in ancient Egypt, and the Pharoah would prepare for the building of his tomb early in his reign as the construction took many years to complete.
In the Old Kingdom pyramids were built with ledges or steps; these were known as step pyramids. In later Kingdoms they were built with sloping sides that were flat.
Pyramids were named after their shape and were built in many different sizes. They were usually built close to the River Nile as this made it easy to ferry the stone blocks in by boat. Slaves would then cut the blocks into smaller sizes and put them in position one block at a time. The blocks were put in position by the use of a ramp.
Thousands of slaves were used in the building of pyramids and some pyramids are believed to have taken over 25 years to complete.
Many rooms were built into the pyramid with passages and stairs leading to them. The Pharoah would have a main tomb with many anti-chambers leading off this for other members of his family and his consort. These were buried deep in the pyramid and contained traps to keep grave robbers out and also had curses painted or carved into the walls. Fake tombs were also built to confuse robbers. This was an important part of the construction, as Pharoahs were buried with all their worldly goods that would be needed in the afterlife; therefore there was much treasure to be had by grave robbers.
There have been over 130 pyramids identified and the largest of these is the pyramid Khufu, also known as the Great Pyramid of Giza. This is the oldest of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World and is still standing today.