The Pyramid of Khafre | The Tomb of Pharaoh Khafre
The Pyramid of Khafre is the second-largest pyramid in the Giza Plateau. Located to the southwest of the older Pyramid of Khufu, it was built by the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Khafre, the son of Khufu around 2570 BC.
This pyramid is unique for retaining a section of its original white outer casing stones at the very top. Find out more about this ancient wonder.
What is the Pyramid of Khafre?
The Pyramid of Khufu was built on the Giza Plateau after the Great Pyramid of Khufu. It was intended as a tomb for the pharaoh Khafre, who succeeded his older brother Djedefre to the throne. The pyramid was constructed out of granite and limestone and completed around 2570 BC.
While at first glance it appears larger than Khufu's Pyramid, this is just due to its more elevated location, and the steeper angles of its sides. In fact, it is slightly smaller in both height and volume.
Khafre and the Pyramids of Giza
Who Was the Pharaoh Khafre?
Khafre (c. 2558–2532 BC) was an ancient Egyptian king, or pharaoh, who belonged to the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt's Old Kingdom. He was one of the sons of Khufu and succeeded his older brother Djedefre to the throne. Khafre is perhaps most famous for constructing the second-largest pyramid at Giza as well as the Great Sphinx.
The pharaoh was known to the ancient Greeks as Chephren, but unfortunately not much is known about Khafre apart from reports by Greek historians who were writing 2,000 years after his life.
Building the Pyramid of Khafre
The Pyramid of Khafre was built as a tomb and resting place for the pharaoh. While it seems larger than the pyramid of Khafre's father, Khufu, this is actually not the case. In fact, this pyramid is 10 feet shorter, but as it stands on higher ground and its peak is still capped with the polished limestone casing, it seems taller.
Like the other pyramids, it was built using millions of blocks of limestone and granite. A workforce of around 20,000. These pyramid builders included both permanent and seasonal workers and their families. They were all housed at a well-equipped worker’s village near the Giza plateau.
How to Visit the Pyramid of Khafre
When you visit the Giza Necropolis, you can see the three Pyramids of Giza, including the Pyramid of Khufu. The site’s opening hours are from 8 AM – 5 PM in the summer months and 8 AM – 4 PM in the winter months. You can also explore inside Khafre’s Pyramid, though you might need to purchase an extra ticket for EGP 100.
Where is the Pyramid of Khafre Located?
About the Pyramid of Khafre
Exploring the Pyramid of Khafre
Like so many other ancient Egyptian tombs, the Pyramid of Khafre was looted by grave robbers within a few hundred years of being built. The first proper explorations in the modern era were spearheaded in 1818 by Giovanni Belzoni who discovered the king’s burial chamber. While the chamber was empty, it’s said that he found Arabic graffiti from the 14th century!
The first complete exploration was in 1837 conducted by John Perring, and in 1853 Auguste Mariette excavated Khafre's valley temple and discovered a number of statues of Khafre.
Interesting Facts About the Pyramid of Khafre
- The Pyramid of Khafre is the only one at Giza that still retains a portion of its polished white limestone casing. You can see it at the very top.
- The pyramid has a square base that measures 215.5 meters (706 feet) along each side and rises up to a height of 136 meters (448 feet).
- Originally, Khufu’s Pyramid was 143.5 meters or 471 feet tall but has shrunk by around 7 meters over the millennia.
- The interior of the pyramid is quite simple, consisting of two entrances, one that is 12 m high and the other at ground level, about 30 m away from the base.
- When the Italian explorer and archeologist Giovanni Battista Belzoni entered the burial chamber, he discovered that it was empty and the opened sarcophagus now only contained a few animal bones.
- The Pyramid of Khafre was damaged in the 14th century when an earthquake struck, causing severe damage to the structure.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Pyramid of Khafre
A. The Pyramid of Khafre is the second-largest and the second-tallest of the three Pyramids of Giza. It is the tomb of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Khafre.
A. The pyramid was built for the Pharaoh Khafre, an ancient Egyptian king of the Fourth Dynasty during the Old Kingdom.
A. Khafre’s pyramid was built to serve as a tomb for the pharaoh, and, as a portrayal of power and permanence after his death.
A. Within the Pyramid of Khafre are a number of passageways that lead to a burial chamber with the king’s sarcophagus.
A. Yes, tourists are allowed to enter the Pyramid of Khafre, but you might need to purchase an additional ticket for EGP 100.
A. Yes, Khafre is very likely also responsible for building the Great Sphinx. In fact, it’s believed that the Sphinx bears his face.
A. The Pyramid of Khafre is the second tallest pyramid at Giza, standing at 136.4 meters or 448 feet tall.