Giza

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Giza,

 

Gizeh

(both: gē`zə), or

Al Jizah

(äl jē`zö), city (1990 est. pop. 2,680,500), capital of Giza governorate, N Egypt, surburb of Cairo. It is a manufacturing and agricultural trade center. Products include textiles, cigarettes, and apparel. Giza is the seat of government ministries, cultural and research institutes, the Univ. of Cairo, and Egypt's film industry. The area was settled in antiquity. Nearby are the three Great Pyramidspyramid.
The true pyramid exists only in Egypt, though the term has also been applied to similar structures in other countries. Egyptian pyramids are square in plan and their triangular sides, which directly face the points of the compass, slope upwards at approximately a
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, surrounded by mastabas, with the Great Sphinxsphinx
, mythical beast of ancient Egypt, frequently symbolizing the pharaoh as an incarnation of the sun god Ra. The sphinx was represented in sculpture usually in a recumbent position with the head of a man and the body of a lion, although some were constructed with rams'
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 to the south; it has been a heavily trafficked sightseeing area for centuries.

Giza

 

or Al Jizah, a city in the Arab Republic of Egypt, in Upper Egypt, on the left bank of the Nile, on the Cairo-Aswan railroad. The southwestern suburb of Cairo. Population, 571,200 (1966). It is a major trade (mainly grain) and tourism center. There is some tobacco industry.

Near Giza, in the Libyan Desert, stand the majestic pyramid-tombs of the pharaohs Khufu (Cheops), Khafre (Chephren), and Menkaure (Mycerinus). They were built in the first half of the third millennium B.C. and in Hellenistic literature were listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The grandest is the pyramid of Khufu, or the Great Pyramid (architect, Heminunu; height, 146.6 m; base length, 233 m). The pyramid of Khafre is 143.5 m high and 215.25 m long at the base. The pyramid of Menkaure is 62 m high and 108.4 m long at the base. A memorial temple was joined to each pyramid on the eastern side and was connected by a passageway to the smallest (lowest) temple in the valley. Near the lowest temple of Khafre’s pyramid is the Great Sphinx, a fantastic being with the body of a lion and a portrait head of the pharaoh, carved out of a cliff (length, 57 m; height, 20 m).

There is also a necropolis in the field of the pyramids, where over 7,000 noble Egyptians from the second to the sixth dynasties are buried. Excavations began in the 19th century. The tombs of Giza have provided rich material for studying the means of production, social life, and culture of Egypt in the time of the Old Kingdom (c. 2800-c. 2250 B.C.). Many tombs revealed objects of the burial cult, household utensils, work tools, and weapons. One tomb contained a set of flint knives, which were used along with bronze knives. Pottery of all kinds and some sculpture were found. Beautiful bas-reliefs with scenes from the lives of the deceased as well as hieroglyphic inscriptions were uncovered in several tombs.

REFERENCES

Reisner, G. A. A History of the Giza Necropolis, vols. 1-2. Cambridge-London, 1942-55.
Hassan, S. Excavations at Giza, vols. 1-10. Cairo, 1932-60.
Junker, H. Giza, vols. 1-12. Vienna-Leipzig, 1929-55.