For most of us when we think of ancient pyramids the first things that comes to mind is the Egyptian pyramids. And why wouldn’t they?
They’re monumental structures which fascinate people around the globe. That said however, there are countless other ancient pyramids which are equally as fascinating and breathtaking to behold.
In fact, there are ancient pyramids in almost every country in the world and while not all of them resemble the Egyptian pyramids there’s little doubt that they’re equally as wondrous.
1. El Tajin, Mexico
Anyone who visits El Tajin will be met by a truly awe inspiring collection of ancient pyramids. It is thought that the city was first inhabited around 5600BC and in the time until it’s eventual abandonment in around 1200AD temples, palaces, living quarters, and ballrooms were but a few buildings which were constructed on site.
At the heart of the city lies the magnificent Pyramid of the Niches, a grand pyramid which stretches seven stories high and would have once been topped by a temple. Today the pyramid is still incredibly well preserved and everything from the intricately designed structure to the magnificent stone tablets attract thousands of tourists each year.
2. Pyramid of Cestius, Italy
At the fork between two ancient roads in Rome stands the Pyramid of Cestius. The pyramid was constructed between 18BC and 12BC as a tomb for Gaius Cestius, an important Roman magistrate, and today is a popular lure of tourists (though gaining permission to enter is rare and typically only granted to scholars).
Sadly by the time the pyramid was reentered by archaeologists in 1660 the tomb had been plundered and little was left to behold but the decoration on the walls and the marvelous pyramid itself.
3. Nubia, Sudan
Believe it or not, there is in fact a country that has twice as many pyramids as Egypt. Within Sudan there are 255 pyramids, each of them constructed on three sites around Nubia. While Nubia was once a part of Ancient Egypt, there hadn’t been an Egyptian pyramid build for over 500 years when these pyramids were built.
In some ways they look similar to their Eyptian cousins however for the most part they’re much smaller seeing as the majority of them were built as a tomb for just one person (namely kings and queens). Sadly many of these magnificent structures are in ruin now but walking among them it’s impossible not to appreciate their magnificence.
4. The Pyramid Mausoleum, China
While it may not look like much today, the Pyramid Mausoleum built for the First Emperor of China was once a structure like no other (and a deadly one at that). Construction lasted from 246BC to 208BC and supposedly 700,000 men aided in the build, many of whom were buried alive within the pyramid to protect its secrets. To help guide him to the afterlife, the emperor had several platoons of clay soldiers also built to accompany him in eternal rest.
The reason this pyramid is so incredible is due to the lengths the Emperor went to protect himself in the afterlife. As well as having the pyramid covered in grass to make it seem like a hill, he had its hallways built with countless traps inside of them to overcome any unsuspecting thieves. What kind of traps you ask? It is known that a river of mercury was installed within the tomb, something which even today prevents the Chinese government from excavating properly.
5. Chacchoben, Mexico
Set amidst the jungle 110 miles south of Tulum, Mexico, lies Chacchoben, one of the many remaining ancient Mayan sites. On the site there are three large pyramids which are connected by circular paths as well as several mounds, each of which are known to contain further buildings, which are still being excavated.
What makes these ruins so special isn’t just the intricate design of each pyramid but the fact that Mayan hieroglyphics can still clearly be made out carved into the stone and traces of the red paint which once coated the giant structures still remains. It is thought that the ruins were first inhabited around 1000BC, though settlers seemingly came and went so building started and stopped, and the site was finally abandoned in 1000AD.
Question of the Day
Do you know of any Pyramids that aren’t in Egypt?
Let us know in the comments below!