Ancient Pyramids Around the World
No matter if the civilization was Mesopotamian, Egyptian, or Mayan, its legacy today is in part marked by towering pyramids
- By Amanda Bensen
- Smithsonian.com, November 20, 2009
(Jon Arnold Images Ltd / Alamy)
There are more than 100 pyramids in Egypt, but this was the first, built during the reign of Pharoah Djoser (2630 B.C. to 2611 B.C) as a grand mausoleum for himself. Previous pharaohs’ tombs were flat-topped mounds made mostly of mud, but Djoser’s chief architect, Imhotep, came up with a more durable and attractive idea: A “step pyramid” design, involving six successively smaller layers of carved limestone rising some 200 feet high. Imhotep, also a reputed healer, was later worshipped as a god of medicine in Greco-Roman culture.