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03 July, 2012

Architectural Wonders – 5 Splendid Step Pyramids

I always awe at the sight of old buildings for the way they have been constructed without using any modern machinery or equipment; have you? One such architectural wonder is the “Brihadeeswarar Temple” or “Big Temple” in India that does not cast a shadow on the ground. There are so many such architectural wonders and one among them is the pyramids. Step pyramids are large structures and are made of several layers of stone. Here are some of the fabulous and impressive step pyramids just for you.

5. Pyramid of Djoser, Memphis, Egypt

Pyramid of Djoser, first step pyramid in Egypt

Image courtesty
Pyramid of Djoser is the first step pyramid built in Egypt by the architect Imhotep during 27th century BC. It has six mastabs, meaning flat roof rectangular surfaces that are built on top of one another. It is made of white polished limestone. The total height of the pyramid is 62 meters. The complex is surrounded by 10.5 meters high Tura limestone walls. Pyramid of Djoser has six steps and the entire structure was built in two stages.

4. Pyramid of the Moon, Teotihuacan, Mexico

Pyramid of the Moon, Mexico 
This is the second largest pyramid in Teotihuacan and was believed to be constructed between 200 and 450 AD. There is a platform on top of the pyramid; this is where the ceremonies are conducted for the Great Goddess of Teotihuacan. She is the goddess of water, fertility, earth and creation. To the opposite of this platform, one can find Plaza of the Moon; this contains the central altar and the bodies are positioned to form a cross known as the “Teotihuacan Cross.”

3. Borobudur, Magelang, Indonesia

Borobudur, UNESCO World Heritage Site in Indonesia

Image courtesy
This is a 9th century Mahayana Buddhist monument with six square platforms that are topped by three circular platforms. This is decorated with 2,672 relief panels (a sculpture created using relief panels gives an impression that the sculpture is raised above the background) and 504 Buddha statues. Borobudur was constructed during Sailendra Dynasty during the 9th century. Borobudur is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most visited tourist attractions in Indonesia.

2. Ziggurat of Ur, Dhi Qar Province, Iraq

Ziggurat of Ur (house whose foundation creates terror)
Ziggurat of Ur, also called as the Great Ziggurat of Ur means “house whose foundation creates terror” and was built during 21st century BC (Early Bronze Age). This was later restored by King Nabonidus as the ziggurat crumbled during 6th century BC. This is a gigantic step pyramid and is 100 feet high and 210 feet in length.

1. El Castillo, Chichen Itza, Yucatan

The famous equinox at El Castillo, Yucatan
Castillo means “castle” in Spanish; this is also called as the “Temple of Kukulkan” and was built somewhere between 9th and 12th centuries CE. This temple was built for the God Kukulkan; he is the Yucatec Maya Feathered Serpent deity. There are a series of square terraces on all four sides of the temple; each side has 91 steps when all these steps added with the top step, the total is 365. During spring and autumn equinoxes, sun rays fall on the northwest corner of the pyramid; this casts a triangular shadow and it is believed that an illusion of the feathered serpent crawling is formed. National Institute of Anthropology and History is maintaining this site recently.


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