The Great Pyramid of Khufu

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When the wind dies down and the sands are still, a long shadow casts a wedge of darkness across the Sahara, creeping ever longer as the North African sun sinks beyond the horizon. The story of Egypt begins in the shadow of the Great Pyramid of Giza, where stone meets sky as a testament to one of the greatest civilizations of the earth.

The largest Egyptian pyramid- the Pyramid of Khufu

The Egyptian pyramids are ancient pyramid-shaped masonry structures located in Egypt. Ancient Egyptians believed in afterlife- another live beyond the one they lived on Earth. They believed that their pharaohs, who were closer to the gods or even gods come to Earth, should have all kinds of earthly comforts in their journey to the next time. Most pyramids were built as tombs for the country’s pharaohs and their consorts during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods.

There are 138 pyramids discovered in Egypt as of 2008. The best known of those are found at Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo. Several of the Giza pyramids are counted among the largest structures ever built.

The pyramid of Khufu at Giza is the largest Egyptian pyramid. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence.

Who was Khufu?

The Pharaoh Khufu, or commonly known as Cheops was the second pharaoh of the 4rt dynasty, the son of King Sneferu and Queen Hetepheres. He ruled the 4th dynasty approximately 23 years, and unlike his father was cruel and ruthless pharaoh in later folklore. Khufu’s real name was Khnum-Khufwy, which means ‘’the god Khnum protects me’’, and Khufu was his nickname. He had nine sons and fifteen daughters. Among them his son Kawab would later have been his heir and one of his daughters later became Queen Hetepheres Second. Khufu’s kinsman and vizier, Hemiunu, was also the architect of the Great Pyramid.

The constructing data of Khufu’s pyramid

One of the seven wonders of the Ancient World, the Khufu’s pyramid was constructed over a 20 year period concluding around 2540 BC. It was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3.800 years. It would have taken over 2.300.000 blocks of stone with an average weight of 2.5 tons each. Throughout its 4000 year history the pyramid has lost approximately 10 meters in height, although it still stands of 482 feet (140m). Each base side was 440 royal cubits 230 meters in length. A royal cubit measures 0.524 meters.

The chambers of Khufu’s pyramid

There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid; one below ground, one inside the pyramid called the queens chamber and higher up in the pyramid called the kings chamber and also the Grand Gallery.

The first passage that is the descending passage goes to the subterranean chamber, which is blocked off and tourists aren’t allowed in. This is cut into the bedrock and lies 300 feet beneath the apex of pyramid. Nobody knows for sure what purpose this underground structure served, but some Egyptologists think the chamber was an insurance policy in case Khufu died early.

The way at the leaving off point of the ascending passage is the way to the Grand Gallery. The gallery is 48m long and 8.5 m high and is the 26 degree angle as the passages. Entering the gallery you encounter a well shaft, which connects the lower portion of the gallery to the lower portion of the descending passageway. Nobody knows what the shaft was meant to, but is theorized that that it was built as escape route for workers once they  sealed the upper portions of the pyramid.

The Grand Gallery leads into the King’s chamber. The walls of the chamber are made of pink Aswan granite. The King’s Chamber is 5.2m x 10.8 m x 5.8 m high and on the lower corner of the west wall there is an area where the wall joints are much bigger than anywhere else in the room. It is highly suspicious for an opening to another chamber or passageway. There are 5 ‘’relieving’’ chambers above the kings chamber, named the Wellington, Nelson, Lady Arbuthnot and Campbell’s chambers. Egyptologists believe they were transported on barges down the Nile River.

Queen's Chamber is the middle and the smallest, measuring approximately 5.74 by 5.23 meters, and 4.57 meters in height. This room has a pointed ceiling and its walls are bare and uninscribed. The walls and ceiling are all made of fine limestone. When this room was entered in 820 AD it looked much the same, minus, of course the modern lighting. In east wall of the camber there is a niche that was found to be empty. It is likely to have housed a life size statue of the king.

Where is Khufu’s body?

There aren’t any unknown chambers inside the pyramid. The Khufu’s body haven’t been found anywhere in the Great Pyramid. Many Egyptologists believe that it is probably buried nearby his Great Pyramid or the Sphinx (built by his son Djedefra).