The Pyramid Of Khafre stands at the height of 448ft with a base length of 706ft. These measurements make the pyramid the second tallest and second-largest of the Giza Pyramid complex. This historical monument is also known as the Pyramid of Chephren. It houses the tomb of the Fourth-Dynasty Pharaoh Khafre, who ruled between 2558-2532 BC.
- Location of Pyramid of Khafre
- Who built the pyramid of Khafre?
- The reason behind the construction of this great pyramid
- Who is Pharaoh Khafre?
- Dimensions of the Pyramid of Chephren
- How does Khafre stand out from other masonry structures?
- Construction of the pyramid
Location of Pyramid of Khafre
Therefore, Khafre stands along with the Great Pyramid of Giza, the pyramid of Menkaure, alongside their associated pyramid complexes. The structure’s location is approximately 9kms west of the Nile River and about 13kms southwest of the centre of Cairo.
Who built the pyramid of Khafre?
The Pharaoh Khafre wanted to be close to his father, the great Cheops. History claims that Khafre built the pyramid to eternalise his essence and therefore be near to his family. Additionally, the Pharaoh also ordered the construction of The Sphinx and the Valley Temple.
The reason behind the construction of this great pyramid
The construction of pyramids as tombs is associated back to the beliefs of Ancient Egyptians. This majestic civilisation believed that there was life after death. Hence, pyramids essentially came for religious purposes. Therefore, the mighty Pharaoh built the pyramid to serve as his tomb and demonstrate power and permanence after death.
Who is Pharaoh Khafre?
Khafre was an ancient Egyptian ruler of the 4th dynasty during the Old Kingdom. He was the second son of Khufu and reigned in ancient Egypt for about 26 years. There is not much known about Khafre except the reports of Herodotus, who mentions Khafre as a strict ruler.
The Italian explorer Belzoni explored the pyramid for the first time in modern history in 1816. The man discovered the upper entrance in the pyramid and subsequently the underground chambers.
On the other hand, Colonel Fitzclarence created an inscription on the upper entrance to commemorate the discovery of Belzoni.
Dimensions of the Pyramid of Chephren
The tomb holds the shape of a regular quadrangular pyramid. Initially, the tomb boasted a height of 143.9 metres, but now it stands at 136.4 metres.
With a square base, it seems to be the tallest pyramid in the Giza complex. However, that’s not the case. Khafre’s pyramid sits on a bedrock that stands 10m higher than the pyramid of Cheops.
Therefore it appears taller to tourists when they view the pyramids collectively. The Pyramid of Chephren contains limestone blocks that weigh around 2 tons each.
A line of thought is displayed where every subsequent ruler constructed a smaller tomb than their predecessor.
How does Khafre stand out from other masonry structures?
Khafre’s pyramid instantly catches the eye of the tourist. The structure has a steep slope angulated at a 53°13′ angle, making it more vertical than the pyramid of Khufu. It is because apart from all the pyramids, Khafre remains to be the most well preserved.
Despite existing under a lot of duress, the structure’s height has just seen a reduction of 10m from the original measurement.
It can indeed be due to the casing stones at the pyramid’s apex, which have remained intact over the years. Moreover, Khafre is the only monument to have reserved its outer limestone casing at the topmost position.
Construction of the pyramid
The magnificent structure compromises horizontal courses. Accordingly, the stones present at the bottom of the frame are large. However, as the monument rises, the stones reduce in size.
Consequently, the stones at the apex are only 50cm thick. The layers of rocks are comparatively rougher and more irregular in the first half of their height. However, the midsection of the pyramid has more regular masonry.
Casing stones cover the top third of the pyramid. However, the pyramidion and part of the apex are missing. Furthermore, the bottom course constitutes beautiful pink granite. In contrast, Tura limestone cases the remainder of the pyramid. The remaining casing stones showcase a staggering of a few millimetres. Therefore, scientists can attribute it to settling from seismic activities.
Interior of the Pyramid
The interiors of Khafre are more modest when we compare them to the pyramid of Cheops. However, the tomb differs from its counterpart since it has two entrances and two tunnels to the burial chamber. Subsequently, one gate opens up the face of the structure, whereas the other open at the base of the Khafre.
The reason behind the presence of two entrances is that there was a change in the pyramid plans. Peculiarly, the passageways are not aligned and exhibit an offset to the east by 12metres. Therefore, the ancient builders shifted the entrance midway in between the construction.
The real mystery of the pyramid remains within the presence of a subsidiary chamber in the monument. The room equals the size of the king’s section in the Khufu pyramid. Moreover, the purpose of this extra chamber has remained unknown. There are theories that the room stored offerings, equipment or treasury. However, this hypothesis has not found confirmation yet.
The Burial Chamber
The entrance itself descends into a passage that opens to the main burial chamber. Gabled limestone beams form the roof of this chamber since they provide support to the construction. Furthermore, the ancient builders carved the burial chamber itself out of a pit in the bedrock.
Khafre’s red granite sarcophagus lies in the chamber’s centre, 14.15 by 5m in size. Moreover, this rectangular burial centre bends towards the east-west direction.
In addition, the sarcophagus carved of a solid granite block also sinks partially on the floor. There is also a pit located near the casket that likely contained the canopic chest.
The Valley Temple
From the base of the pyramid, a causeway leads east to the Khafre’s valley temple. This beautifully preserved structure is composed of megalithic blocks. Moreover, archaeologists made a discovery of fragments of several statues of the Pharaoh in this temple. Undoubtedly, the valley temple adds a lot to the splendour of the Khafre complex.
The Pyramid of Khafre stands proud and majestic between the Giza pyramid complex. Not only is it a marvellous structure, but it is also the last pyramid to retain the outer limestone. It is nearly impossible to not fall in awe of this brilliant monument of engineering and art. Khafre will forever be a gateway to the splendour of the ancient Egyptian civilisation.