Perhaps the most famous of Egypt's landmarks, these pyramids were constructed as tombs for Egyptian Pharaohs (who were regarded as gods) and their consorts. Of the 118 identified today, the pyramids found at Giza are amongst the more famous, and considered to be the largest structures ever built.
Resting amongst the Giza pyramids is the Great Sphinx - the largest monolith statue in the world, and the oldest known monumental sculpture - built during the reign of Pharaoh Khafra between 2558-2532 BC.
Following the peak of the Fourth Dynasty, new reforms were initiated by Userkhaf during the Fifth Dynasty that weakened the central government. Civil wars sparked after Userkhaf's reign, and continued to escalate, subsequently causing a famine. A severe drought served the final blow between 2200-2150 BC, and the Old Kingdom collapsed.
The government stabilized during the age of the Middle Kingdom, and a renewed prosperity for the country emerged with stronger Nile floods.
With the New Kingdom, the pharaohs set their sights on expanding Egypt's borders, and so the military became a central priority. Egypt's most prominent pharaohs ruled during this period, including: Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti, Tutankhamun and Ramesses II.
In 341 BC, Egypt was conquered by the Persians, and then by Alexander the Great in 332 BC. There was little resistance from the Persians, and the Egyptians welcomed the Greeks with open arms. Under their ruling, the country became a seat of learning and culture; however, the Egyptian culture wasn't completely replaced, as new temples were built Egyptian style, and leaders portrayed themselves as pharaohs.
Rome took a great interest in Egypt, as they relied heavily on Egyptian imports, and in 30 BC Egypt was incorporated into the Roman Empire following the defeat of Marc Antony and Queen Cleopatra VII.
Compared to their Greek predecessors, the Romans displayed a more hostile attitude towards the Egyptians. Christianity took root in Egypt around the mid-1st century, and as it spread through the country over the next couple hundred years temples were closed and pagan rites banned. Anti-pagan riots sparked during the 3rd century AD, and many public and private religious imagery were destroyed
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