Call us anytime at +20 100 213 5997 or Request a Quote

pyramid of Khafre

Pyramid of Khafre: How Khafre’s Pyramid Has Withstood the Test of Time

The Pyramid of Khafre is one of human history’s three most important and monumental achievements. We are located in the Giza Necropolis, close to the Egyptian capital of Cairo and the banks of the River Nile.

The Pyramid is dedicated to Pharaoh Chephren, who reigned over Ancient Egypt during the 4th dynasty. It is the second largest of the pyramids and the only one to keep its original limestone cap intact.

The Pyramid is unique in that the remains of the original cladding have been preserved in its upper part.

Where is the Pyramid of Khafre located?

The Pyramid of Khafre is southwest of the Great Pyramid of Cheops, on the Giza plateau outside of Cairo.

Who built the Pyramid? A little about the Pharaoh Khafre

Pyramid of Khafre

Khafre was the fourth king of the Old Kingdom’s IV dynasty, which ruled from 2576 BC to 2551 BC. Khafra, Khufu’s son, is best known as the builder and master of the second Pyramid at Giza.

In ancient Greek, his name was Chefren. As with the other pharaohs of this dynasty, there are not many written records of his reign. Even information about family relationships and the length of individual reigns at that time is often based on speculation.

Khafre was in charge of Egypt for at least 24 years. Egyptologists call the writings in the mastaba “the will of Prince Nekura.” It discusses the “13th count of the cattle of Pharaoh Khafre’s reign.” Every two years, Egypt did a count of its livestock.

Ancient Greek historians Manetho and Herodotus wrote a fascinating alternative version of this part of Egyptian history. Based on what they did, Cheops (Khufu) ruled for 50 years and Khafra for 56 years, and the people of Egypt had to deal with their bad behavior for 106 years.

Khafra is remembered as a cruel ruler. He did what his father did: shut down temples and make the Egyptians build the pyramids and other monuments.

Khafra didn’t do anything interesting in foreign policy, and no one knew anything about his military exploits. During the time of the ancient Kingdom, things were pretty quiet.

Egypt had no rivals in the area, and the only people they had to fight were the nomads in the Sinai Peninsula.

Why was the Pyramid of Khafre built?

Pharaoh decided to build the Pyramid so that it could be his tomb and his spirit would live on forever as a sign of his power and strength after he died. The ancient Egyptians did this because they thought there was life after death.

Khafre Pyramid: information, facts, and mysteries

Pharaoh Khafre’s Pyramid on the Giza plateau is the second largest of the Great Egyptian Pyramids (Chefren). Each Pyramid in Egypt has something interesting about it.

Still, tourists are drawn to the tomb of Khafre right away because the top has some cladding left, is in the middle, and seems to be the tallest of all.

Tourists often mix up the pyramids of Cheops and Khafre. Most tourists think that the tomb of Cheops is in the middle because it is Egypt’s most significant ancient building.

Today, the Khafre pyramid is one of the most well-known in Egypt, and it is the only one of the Giza pyramids that still has cladding on the top, which makes it stand out.

Dimensions of the Khafre Pyramid

All of Egypt’s pyramids are interesting, but Pharaoh Khafre’s tomb stands out because it is in the middle, between the tombs of Menkaure and Cheops. She also seems to be better than everyone else.

Not true. Only Khafra’s Pyramid is on a hill; it is taller than the tomb of Cheops and smaller than the tomb of Menkaure. Khafre was the son of Cheops and the father of Menkaure, and each ruler after Khafre built a smaller tomb than the one before him.

Form and base of Khafre Pyramid

The shape of Khefren’s tomb is that of a square pyramid. It has a square base, and each side is now 210.5 meters long (originally – 215.3 meters, equal to 410 royal cubits). Surprisingly, the difference between a real court and the ideal size is less than 8 cm.

Pyramid of Khafre’s Height

How tall is the Pyramid of Khafre? The tomb was 143.9 meters high when it was first built. Over more than 4500 years, it has only shrunk by 7 m, so it is now 136.5 m tall. During the same period, however, the Pyramid of Cheops’ height decreased by 10 m.

Construction of the Pyramid

Historians suggest that Pharaoh Khafre was in poor health since the tomb’s design clearly shows two stages of its construction. First, a much smaller pyramid blank was built, equipped with a small burial chamber prepared in case the ruler suddenly died.

Later, when it became clear that the small tomb was not needed, the Pyramid was built to its current size, and the tomb was erected on the south side and placed higher. The old tomb was turned into a repository for funeral items.

The Pyramid was called “Khafra the Great” for a reason. Not only the tomb itself amazes with its grandeur, but also the buildings adjacent to it. In terms of their size, they surpass many of the structures of Ancient Egypt. A temple was erected next to the Pyramid, from which today only ruins remain; it is easy to reconstruct it using them.

The temple had five prayer rooms, hallways, and a courtyard, with 12 sculptures of the pharaoh. And the lower temple rose to the southeast of the Great Sphinx, to which a wide stone road 500 m long led.

The architecture of the Pyramid of Khafre

Pyramid of Khafre

People like to go to the Pyramid of Khafre because they can go inside it. No one can climb the tomb, so the cladding on the top isn’t damaged. This cladding has been there since Ancient Egypt.

Outside of Khafre’s Pyramid

This Pyramid doesn’t look much different from other Egyptian tombs, except for the part that has been kept. But archaeologists and historians can learn a lot from it. At the top is a square platform with a square hole in the middle. Before, each “pyramid” or “benben” was topped with a fixed stone pyramid. The only proof that the “pyramids” existed was the tomb of Pharaoh Khephra, and no one knows where the stone went.

Inside Khafre’s Pyramid

The tomb of Cheops is more complicated on the inside than the Pyramid of Khafre. One burial chamber was 14 meters by 5 meters, and a reasonably large coffin and vessels held the ruler’s internal organs inside.

The tomb differs from other pyramids because there are two ways to get to the burial chamber. The robbers were more likely to get into the Pyramid if they had another way in, but they couldn’t do it any other way because the tomb was built in two stages.

The most exciting thing about the Khafre Pyramid is the hall in the middle of the lower corridor. This is not a place to bury people or hang a canopy because those things are in the main room. Most likely, this is where the treasury was. But there is no proof for this idea.

Valley Temple of Khafre

The Valley Temple of Khafra is the most well-kept ancient Egyptian building. Pieces of several statues of the pharaoh have been found here.

One of the most famous is Khafra sitting on a lion’s throne with Horus’s falcon behind his head. This shows that the Egyptians thought the pharaoh was a living god.

These photos at the beginning of the article show the statue of CG 14. There were two 8-meter sphinxes at this temple’s two entrances.

Only the names and titles of the pharaoh and the names of the goddesses Bastet (north entrance) and Hathor are written on the building’s entrance doors (south entrance).

Recent work in front of a temple in the valley uncovered a place for ritual cleansing and two ramps with underground tunnels that led into the valley.

Where is it located?

The Valley Temple is part of the Pyramid of Khafre in Giza that faces east.

Who built the Valley Temple?

The building was ordered by King Pharaoh Khafre, the fourth in his dynasty. It was built simultaneously with the Sphinx, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the rest of the tomb complex.

Why was the Valley Temple built?

This building was made so mummified that cleansing could occur before the body was put in the Pyramid.

The Great Sphinx of Khafre

Pyramid of Khafre

In the valley, near the Khafra temple, is the Great Sphinx. The Sphinx was an essential part of the Khafre pyramid complex because it was placed next to Khafre’s funeral road and had certain architectural features.

Khafre is shown as the god Horus making an offering to the sun god in a massive sculpture of a lion with the head of a pharaoh. This sculpture was carved from a single block of limestone.

Since the 18th dynasty, the Sphinx has been a symbol of the Kingdom and a place where people pray. Between its paws, a small chapel was built.

Which Pyramid is behind the Sphinx?

The statue of Abu Al-Hol is in front of the Pyramid of Khafre, which King Khafre, the son of King Khufu, built.

Facts about Khafre Pyramid

  • Looking at the pyramids of Cheops and Khafre from the Great Sphinx at sunset, you can see the Sun setting precisely between the two pyramids, making the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph “Ahet,” which means “horizon.” It stands for the Primordial mountain, which holds up the sky.
  • The sides of the Khafre pyramid slope at an angle of 53 degrees. It is different for each Pyramid; for example, it is 51 degrees for the Pyramid of Menkaure.
  • The lower temple of Khafre’s Pyramid is one of the Old Kingdom’s most beautiful buildings. The main hall was shaped like the letter T. Light came in through holes in the ceiling and fell on each of the 23 statues of the pharaoh separately.
  • The Pyramid’s walls are not entirely flat; they are a little “depressed.” This could have happened because of erosion, the loss of siding, or many stone blocks, which may have been the plan. As there was no apparent reason for this in the 18th century, there is still no apparent reason.
  • The Pyramid of Khafre was called the “Great Pyramid,” even though it was smaller than the Pyramid of Cheops when it was first built. This was because it was built on a higher level on the Giza plateau, which made it look taller. Since the top of the Pyramid of Cheops has fallen apart, it is now the tallest Pyramid in the complex. It stands 143.5 meters tall, and each side is 215.5 meters long.
  • The original limestone layer that covered the whole Pyramid is still on the top, and its inside is more straightforward than the inside of the Pyramid of Cheops. It has two entrances on the north side, one 12 meters high and 30 meters from the Pyramid’s base and at ground level.
  • The sarcophagus chamber is cut into the rock, but the ceiling is made of tilted granite slabs, and the walls are also made of stone. Inside the tomb is a coffin made of red granite almost at ground level, but it has been empty for a long time. Giovanni Battista Belzoni was the first person from the West to enter the burial chamber. He did so in 1818 and found only cow bones and Arabic writings left by earlier visitors.
  • At 500m from this complex and the Pyramid, the “city of workers” remains have been found. This city was separate from the rest and had everything the workers needed to live and work: bakeries, shops, doctors, etc. This village was recently found, showing that the people who built it were cared for and well-fed workers.
  • The most severe damage to this Pyramid happened in the 14th century when it started to fall apart. One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the lighthouse of Alexandria, was destroyed for good by this quake.

When and who opened the Pyramid of Khafre, and where are his treasures?

Giovanni Belzoni, a famous Italian Egyptologist and explorer best known for finding the Abu Simbel temple, was the first European to see this Pyramid.

In 1818, he discovered that the Khafre pyramid was empty and that the treasure and the sarcophagus with the mummy had been taken long ago. Instead, the outer granite sarcophagus remained, but the inner caskets were gone.

Arab historian Ibn Abd al-Salam says that the tomb was opened by Arabs in 1372, before Belzoni. They also didn’t find anything worthwhile.

Like the other pyramids of Giza, the Pyramid of Khafre was looted 4,000 years ago, during Egypt’s “first transition period,” a time of chaos and unrest. Even the mummies of the ancient pharaohs have not made it to the present day.

About the author

Egypt Planners Team is a highly experienced travel agency specializing in memorable trips to Egypt. The team comprises expert travel planners and tour guides with a deep knowledge of Egypt's history, culture, and top tourist destinations.