In the golden era of the old kingdom (2686-2181 BC) in the fourth dynasty (2613-2494 BC), three great pyramids were created to be the final resting place of the pharaohs and a true symbol of the greatness and brilliance of the ancient civilization. The pyramid of Khafre is known in greek as Chephren and is the second tallest and the second largest of all the ancient pyramids of Giza. It was built for Khufu's second son Khafre who choose to follow the legacy of his father.
The pyramid of Khafre has a base length of 215.5 m (706 ft) and rises up to the height of 136.4 (448 ft). the entire structure is made up of limestone blocks weighing about two tons each, the estimated weight of the pyramid is 4,880,000 tons. The slope of the pyramid rises to the angle of 53° 13'. Khafre pyramid sits on the bedrock which is 10 m (33 ft) higher than Khufu's pyramid which gives the illusion that it is taller.
Khafre pyramid was constructed on horizontal courses, the stones would be larger at the very bottom but as it rises the stones would become smaller only 50 cm thick at the apex. The courses are quite rough and irregular for the first half of its height but a narrow band of regular masonry is very clear in the midsection of the Khafre pyramid.
The bedrock is fashioned into steps at the northwest corner of the Khafre pyramid. The bottom course of the casing stones is made of pink granite but the remainder of the pyramid was cased in Tura limestone.
Close examination reveals that the corner edges of the remaining casing stones aren’t interlaid straight as they are staggered by a few millimeters probably due to an earthquake or it was shaped like this by the limited workforce.
There are two entrances that lead to the internal structure of the pyramid of Khafre to the burial chamber. One of the entrances opens 11.54 m (38 ft) up the face of the pyramid while one opens at the base of the pyramid of Khafre. The lower descending passageway is completely carved out of bedrock running horizontally with a vertical portcullis then ascending to join the horizontal passage leading to the burial chamber.
There is a subsidiary chamber that is equal in length to the Khufu's king chamber, it opens to the west of the lower passages, it is believed it was used to store offerings and burial equipment. The upper descending passage is clad in granite and descends to join with the horizontal passage straight to the burial chamber which is carved out of a pit in the bedrock.
The roof is constructed of gabled limestone beams. The burial chamber is 14.2 m x 5 m (46.4 ft x 16 ft) and is oriented east-west. The sarcophagus of Pharaoh Khafre is carved out of a solid block of granite and sunk partially in the floor and there is also a storage place for the canopic jars.
The mortuary temple of the king's Khafre was the first of its kind as it concluded all the five elements like entrance hall, a court featuring a number of columns, five storage chambers, five niche statues of the pharaoh, and the inner sanctum.
It is constructed of huge limestone blocks clad with granite and an alabaster floor. The entrance leads to a narrow passage and at the south end there are two chambers in the north and a hallway with two columns that connects to a further four storerooms and a staircase leading to the roof.
There is a west wall of the hallway leading to a court with 14 square columns and wide bays at the north and the south ends and followed by a hallway with ten columns that leads directly to the main court of the temple. The massive rectangular pillars formed the supports for a series of Khafre's statues.
There are 5 niches located on the western wall. To the north of the niches, there is a passage leading to the pyramid court, and to the south is a passage leading to a series of storerooms and a small exit. There are about 23 life-size statues of Khafre out of more than 50 which Ramses II removed and replaced with his own.
The valley temple is famous for being the house of mummification. There is a causeway that runs 494.5 m (541 yds) to the valley temple. The interior is built out of huge blocks of red granite while the exterior is made of limestone.
The square pillars of the T-shaped hallway were made of solid granite and the floor is paved with alabaster. The exterior was constructed of huge blocks that weigh over 100 tons. There are two entrances in the eastern wall to a hallway that runs from north to south. There are two doors that open into a vestibule and a large pillared hall.
There is nothing in the world that could match the beauty and greatness of the pyramids so if you found yourself in Egypt don't miss the chance to explore this immortal miracle through trips to Egypt.
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