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Giza Pyramid of Khafre


Khafre's pyramid, called 'Khafre is Great', rose from a 705-foot wide base to a height of 471 feet at an angle of 53º 7'. It has two entrances, each opening onto a descending passage that leads to a chamber.

This pyramid was conceived as a port from which the voyage to the Netherworld began. The broad terrace to the east of Khafre's pyramid is made of massive limestone blocks weighing up to hundreds of tons. Huge limestone piers project beyond the northeast and southwest corners of the terrace, looking like slipways or giant docks. Five narrow boat shaped trenches carved into the natural rock extend into the recesses between the two piers and the mortuary temple.

Khafre's mortuary temple marks a significant architectural advance - being both larger than previous examples, and for the first time including all the five elements the were to become standard in all later Old Kingdom mortuary temples. The standard parts were:

  1. An entrance hall

  2. A broad columned court

  3. Five niches for statues of the king

  4. Five storage chambers

  5. An inner sanctuary



In fact, Khafre's mortuary temple consists of a fore part, forming an entrance to the main court, and a back part. It was built of local limestone and incorporates a pillared hall, two long narrow chambers, an open courtyard that may have contained a seated sculpture of the king, five statue niches and five storerooms.
The mortuary temple and the valley temple are linked by a causeway about 1,600 feet (495m) long and 16 feet (5m) wide.

This valley temple is the best preserved building of the Fourth Dynasty. It is a square building with two entrances that bear the only inscriptions in the entire temple… all that can be deciphered today are the words 'Khafre Beloved of the (goddess) Bastet' and 'Khafre Beloved of the (goddess) Hathor'. It was built of megalithic core blocks sheathed in red granite. The temple entrances were closed with huge single-leaf doors, probably of cedarwood. Between the two entrances runs the vestibule, where the walls were of simple red granite and the floor paved with alabaster. The temple's major chambers are very similar to the fore part of Khafre's mortuary temple.

The satellite pyramid of Khafre has been almost completely eradicated by stone robbers - only the outlines of the foundations and a few core blocks now remain. It is thought that this small pyramid was used for the burial of statues dedicated to the king's ka - his spiritual double and vital force. In fact, a wooden box containing a broken up cedarwood statue carrying shrine was found in a small chamber beneath the pyramid.

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