Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza used to look very different from the way it does now. When it was first completed around 2560–2540 BC, the pyramid’s original external walls of Tura limestone casing stones were sanded smooth to shine bright white, reflecting the sun’s rays.
From the Smithsonian Channel, watch the skill and effort it took to polish the casing stones with a sandstone brick and fine sand: What the Completed Great Pyramid Would’ve Looked Like.
Many of the highly polished casing stones were removed between the 1300s and 1800s to build other structures. Pollution, earthquakes, weather, and time have also worn the sides down to the crumbling core structures that we see now. Below, get a closer look at today’s pyramids, as well as the Great Sphinx of Giza, thanks to AirPano. In 2011, they flew a hexacopter high above the Egyptian monuments to get a 360° interactive panorama. Full screen-worthy.