10 Largest Pyramids in the World

Pyramids have long stood as iconic statements of power, mystery, and architectural prowess around the globe. These structures are often truly staggering in size, causing those who visit them to wonder just how large the pyramids can get. Today we’ll be learning about 10 of the largest pyramids in the world and ranking them by height.

When most people think of pyramids, their thoughts jump straight to the wonders of the ancient world. However, this list will include a more modern addition that takes the familiar pyramid structure to new heights, as well as the largest ancient pyramids that have impressed tourists for thousands of years.

  1. Temple of Kukulkan (El Castillo)

Height: 98 ft
Base Width: 181 ft
Location: Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, Mexico
Founded: 700-1100 CE

Temple of Kukulkan (El Castillo)
Source: wikimedia.org

The iconic Temple of Kukulkan (or Quetzalcoatl) is the center of many local legends and is renowned for its astoundingly-skilled architecture. The mathematical and astronomical proficiency of the Maya have long fascinated and baffled enthusiasts, and the precision of the pyramid’s architecture remains impressive even by today’s standards.

Did You Know?

If someone stands at the base of the Temple of Kukulkan and claps, the sound echoes off the structure and surrounding landscape to create a remarkable chirp reminiscent of the Quetzal bird’s call.

  1. Pyramid of Cestius

Height: 119 ft
Base Width: 97 ft
Location: Rome, Italy
Founded: 15-12 BC

Pyramid of Cestius
Source: wikimedia.org

The construction of this pyramid was requested by Roman magistrate and praetor Gaius Cestius Epulo, and is thought to have actually been inspired by the steep pyramids of Nubia. Egyptian architecture increased sharply in popularity in Rome after the Roman conquest of Egypt during the year 30 BC, and the architectural influence showed itself clearly in the Pyramid of Cestius.

Did You Know?

At its time of construction, the Pyramid of Cestius was actually built outside the city of Rome, since burial places were not permitted to be built within the city’s boundaries.

  1. Pyramid of Menkaure

Height: 200 ft
Base Width: 335 ft
Location: El Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Founded: 2510 BC

Pyramid of Menkaure
Source: wikimedia.org

The smallest of the three famous Pyramids of Giza, the Pyramid of Menkaure boasts complex chambers and exquisite carvings that proved invaluable to archaeologists. Contrary to what some people believe, the Old Kingdom Egyptian pyramids did not actually hold the Pharaohs’ bodies. Instead, they likely served as monuments to the late rulers, and stored items that would be needed in the afterlife.

Did You Know?

Some of the best specimens of Egyptian statuary were unearthed at the Pyramid of Menkaure, their subjects indicating devotion to Ra, Hathor, and Horus.

  1. Pyramid of the Sun

Height: 216 ft
Base Width: 760 ft
Location: Teotihuacán, Mexico
Founded: 100-200 CE

Pyramid of the Sun
Source: wikimedia.org

One of the more mysterious pyramids, and the largest structure of its type in the Western Hemisphere, the Pyramid of the Sun was constructed in the ancient city of Teotihuacan. The Pyramid of the Sun and its counterpart, the Pyramid of the Moon, were considered to be holy places built to honor the birth of the sun and moon gods.

Did You Know?

The city of Teotihuacan is said to have been the first true city in Mesoamerica, and was once home to over 100,000 people.

  1. Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum

Height: 328 ft
Base Width: 1,591 ft
Location: Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, China
Founded: 246-208 BC

Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum
Source: flickr.com

This awe-inspiring mausoleum is the resting place of China’s first sovereign emperor, Qin Shi Huang. Qin Shi Huang was the first emperor of a unified China, and constructed such famous landmarks as the Great Wall of China and Lingqu Canal. His mausoleum contained around 8,000 life-sized terracotta soldiers, alongside hundreds of other figures such as horses and chariots, intended to guard him in the afterlife.

Did You Know?

The amazing Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum and its terracotta army have been described as the “eighth wonder of the world.”

  1. The Bent Pyramid

Height: 344 ft
Base Width: 622 ft
Location: Dahshur, Cairo, Egypt
Founded: 2600 BC

The Bent Pyramid
Source: wikimedia.org

The first pyramid to be built at the necropolis of Dahshur, the Bent Pyramid boasts a distinctive, unusual appearance. When Pharaoh Sneferu’s pyramid reached a certain height at its 54-degree inclination, the structure purportedly threatened to collapse under its own weight. The angle was then modified in order to successfully complete the pyramid.

Did You Know?

The Bent Pyramid is said to be the best-preserved structure in the Dahshur Necropolis, and retains more of its original, smooth exterior than the other pyramids.

  1. The Red Pyramid of Dahshur (The North Pyramid)

Height: 344 ft
Base Width: 722 ft
Location: Dahshur, Cairo, Egypt
Founded: 2613-2589 BC

The Red Pyramid of Dahshur (The North Pyramid)
Source: wikimedia.org

This towering pyramid was built by Pharaoh Sneferu, father of Pharaoh Khufu, and was Sneferu’s second pyramid. Construction of the Red Pyramid is said to have begun after Pharaoh Sneferu’s frustration with the end results of the Bent Pyramid, and the closely comparable angles of the two pyramids seem to support this theory.

Did You Know?

The angle of the Red Pyramid is 43 degrees, which matches the corrected angle at the top of the Bent Pyramid.

  1. The Luxor Las Vegas Pyramid

Height: 350 ft
Base Width: 646 ft
Location: Paradise, Nevada, USA
Founded: 1992-1993

The Luxor Las Vegas Pyramid
Source: wikimedia.org

While many people associate pyramids with ancient history rather than modern resorts, the age-old design has inspired an impressive landmark: the Luxor Pyramid. This colossal pyramid cost $375 million to build, and was the tallest building on the Las Vegas Strip when it opened. This striking hotel and casino boasts a black glass exterior and the Luxor Light at its top.

Did You Know?

The Luxor Pyramid is inspired by The Great Pyramid of Giza, and is around three-quarters of its size.

  1. Pyramid of Khafre/Chephren

Height: 448 ft
Base Width: 706 ft
Location: El Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Founded: 2570 BC

Pyramid of Khafre/Chephren
Source: wikimedia.org

The Pharaoh Khafre followed in the footsteps of his father, Pharaoh Khufu, and built his tomb next to The Great Pyramid of Khufu to contribute to the Giza Necropolis. Several of the burial chambers deep within the pyramid appear to remain unfinished, joined by causeways of granite and alabaster.

Did You Know?

The Pyramid of Khafre has two separate entrances. One is at ground level, and the other is about 38 feet up the side, however, both entrances are on the north-facing side of the pyramid.

  1. The Great Pyramid of Giza/Khufu/Cheops

Height: 481 ft
Base Width: 756 ft
Location: El Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Founded: 2580-2560 BC

The Great Pyramid of Giza/Khufu/Cheops
Source: wikimedia.org

Khufu, the Great Pyramid of Giza, is the largest pyramid in the world by height. Built to serve as the tomb of the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu, this pyramid is perhaps the most well-known of the Pyramids of Giza. It is also the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the World, and the only one still standing. While this astounding pyramid originally bore a smooth, white exterior carefully crafted from limestone, plunderers and weathering throughout the years have worn the surface down.

Did You Know?

Pharaoh Khufu’s pyramid was the first of the Giza pyramids to be constructed, and is estimated to contain 2.3 million stone blocks.

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