Long before the pyramids were built, Egypt's northern and southern territories were ruled separately. It was about 5000 years ago that a young prince by the name of Narmer (Menes) unified the Red (North) and White (South) kingdoms and became Egypt's first Pharaoh. As brilliant a politician as he was a warrior, Narmer chose the site of Memphis as his capital. The city was situated at the then Nile Delta tip, along the North-South border, and about 25 km south of today's downtown Cairo.
For the next 800 years or so, the first Capital of the ancient Egyptians prospered under the rule of Zoser, Khufu (Cheops), Khafre (Chephren), Menkaure (Mycerinus), Unas, and others. It became one of the most influential and powerful cities in the world, and housed one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Pyramid of Giza. Constructed on the Giza plateau, a necropolis of the city of Memphis on the Nile's west bank, the three Great Pyramids are the ultimate manifestation of political stability and power of the ruler during the Third and Fourth Dynasties. Khufu's son built 2 of the Giza pyramids.