5 amazing pyramids you should visit around the world
Initially being built as a mausoleum to bury royalties, pyramids have always been revered as marvels of human engineering and a sense of wonder. Even though we picture Egypt and the great pyramid of Giza when we hear the name pyramids, these magnificent structures exist in just about every ancient culture and civilization. With time, pyramids have made their rightful place in the wonders of the world lists.
Here are our top 5 travel-worthy pyramids around the globe.
Pyramid of the Sun, San Juan Teotihuacán, Mexico
The largest structure in Teotihuacán and the third largest pyramid in the world makes it to the top of our list. Although the purpose of the Pyramid of the Sun remains unclear, the researching archaeologists believes the structure to originally have an alter at the top; most likely to honour a deity.
Teotihuacán, once the largest city in Mexico and consisted of Mesoamerican indigenous civilisation, predated the Maya by five hundred years and the Aztecs by a thousand years. Many hypothesises the cause of the city's destructions may have been harsh climate and harsher looters. Now it is a blooming destination for travellers and backpackers due to active archaeological investigations and museums.
Brihadisvara Temple, Tamil Nadu, India
Built from 1003 to 1010 during the reign of Chola king Rajaraja I constructed the temple pyramid in the honour of the Hindu god Shiva. Located on the south side of the Kaveri River, this temple is also known as the Thanjai Periya Kovil in Tamilian and is noted as one of the greatest structures from the Chola dynasty.
Covered in Chola frescoes and different faces of Shiva, this pyramid structure is completely made of granite and a fun fact, its top alter does not cast a shadow at noon. Brihadisvara Temple pyramid remains, till this day, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the South of India.
Pyramid of Cestius, Rome, Italy
This Roman pyramid was a customer order; built as a tomb for the highly affluent magistrate at the time named Gaius Cestius between 18 and 12 BC. The tomb was sealed when it was built with no exterior pathways to or from it.
The pyramid is open to visitors on the second and fourth Saturday of each month so one has to book their slot in advance. The white marble with hint of Roman frescoes can be admired fully from within the Aurelian Walls near the Protestant Cemetery on the northwest side.
Pyramid of Djoser, Saqqara, Egypt
Egypt is known for its signature landmarks, pyramids, and this particular one was built during the reign of Pharoah Djoser from 2630 BC to 2611 BC as a grand mausoleum for himself. While all the other pyramids were just 'mounds of clay' Pharoah Djoser consulted his chief architect Imhotep to build the first step pyramid; six successively small steps carved out of limestone, some 200 feet high.
The pyramid of Djoser remains the world's first large-scale cut stone structure which forms the centre of the massive mortuary complex. Since it is located in Egypt, land of the pyramids, if you are planning on visiting, make sure to check in on the opening tour dates and follow the rules and refrain from causing any form of damage to the already fragile pieces of history.
Mayan Pyramids of Tikal, Petén, Guatemala
Tikal is a complex of Mayan ruins deep into the Guatemalan rainforest. Historians and archaeologists believe that the more than 3,000 structures on the site are the remains of a Mayan city called Yax Mutal, which was the capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient empire. The significance of these pyramids had to do with the Mayan timeline starting at least as early as 672 AD, the city's rulers constructed a twin pyramid complex at the end of every K'atun; 20-year period according to Mayan calendars.
Tikal is also one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centre of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization consisted of more than 3000 structures and pyramids. You can travel the Mayan Pyramids of Tikal all on your own by simply buying your tickets in advance and booking a shuttle to avoid the crowded tour.