In ancient Egypt, pyramids were built during the time of the Old Kingdom. Pyramids were tombs, royal tombs, where the ancient Egyptians buried their kings. The first pyramid was the Step Pyramid. It was built about 5,000 years ago! You could see it for miles!
Pyramids were huge. They had rooms inside like store rooms, bedrooms, and even inside courtyards. Pyramids took many years to build.
Pyramid Cities: Cities grew up around the base of a pyramid that was under construction. These cities were called pyramid cities. Pharaoh provided food, shelter, and clothing for the workers and their families. This is how the workers were paid.
After the pyramid was built, the pyramid city continued to flourish. The workers might be gone, but in their place were guards. A pyramid had to be guarded. Pharaohs, like all ancient Egyptians, were buried with grave goods so they could enjoy their afterlife. A pharaoh's grave goods were made of gold and encrusted with jewels. Since pyramids were huge, there was no hiding them. Everybody knew that a pyramid held great wealth. This tempted many robbers. So the expense of a pyramid was not only in construction costs, it continued after the pyramid was built.
Tomb Robbing: To discourage theft, the punishment for robbing a tomb was severe. Traps and secret passages were built inside a pyramid to catch robbers. The pyramid was guarded. Just the same, robbers could not seem to resist the lure of the great wealth inside. Many tombs were successfully robbed.
After the time of the Old Kingdom, pyramids fell out of style. They cost a lot of time and money, and made it far too easy for robbers to know exactly where great wealth was buried.