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Pyramid of Chephren

The pyramid of Khéphren is much less popular than that of Khéops, there are much less people. It is the second pyramid by size (originally 143m, 136m today). If you look at them from afar you will surely have the impression that the one of Cheops is smaller. It is an optical illusion, because that of Khéphren is on a small rocky nipple.

Visiting the pyramid of Chephren is simpler; you enter a long, straight, descending corridor. After a while we enter the burial chamber, which is buried. On the side there is the royal sarcophagus embedded in the ground. It is simple, without registration or decoration. This is about all there is to see in the pyramid of Khéphren, it is a simple pyramid but less interesting than that of Khéops. On the other hand, what is particularly interesting is the visit to the temple of Khéphren, the best preserved funerary temple of the whole necropolis and which shows an impressive architecture.

Seeming to dominate the famous Giza plateau where there are two other pyramids, that of Khéphren is actually slightly smaller than that of his father Khéops , but this impression comes from the fact that it is built on a rocky nipple, the summit is therefore higher up, but the pyramid of Khéphren is beautiful and much smaller by 3m from that of his father, Khéops.

The pyramid of Khéphren
The pyramid of Khéphren

She initially measured 143m high for a square base of 215m side, and it is the central part of a funeral complex quite comparable to that of her father. We associate the Sphinx with Khéphren to which it would have lent its features. But the Sphinx is a monument apart, close to the Khéphren complex but which is distinct from it.

Historical and geographic context
The pyramid of Chephren is the last of the giants. In the chronological order of construction of the pyramids, there was first the pyramid of Djoser , the very first pyramid in Egyptian history. It is a 6-degree monument, built in stages. Djoser was the first pharaoh of the Third Dynasty, a dynasty which saw the birth of the principle of the pyramids as a funerary monument to the pharaohs.

Djoser’s successors each built their pyramid, but few succeeded completely. Some were never completed, others were built, but later collapsed. Then, there was a period called the provincial pyramids , pyramids scattered in various areas of the Nile Valley, quite far from the capital Memphis. They were modest-sized pyramids, peaking between 15 and 25m, but they were mostly drafts for the rest.

The first pharaohs of the Fourth Dynasty tried several times to make perfect pyramids, with smooth faces. Pharaoh Snefrou, father of Cheops, needed several attempts to reach it: The rhomboid pyramid is an example, its slope had to be revised downwards during construction. The red pyramid of Snefrou was the first perfect. The techniques acquired during this time were used in the following stage: The age of the giant pyramids.

The giant pyramids are few, that of Khéphren is the last. These are large pyramids as their names indicate, they are more than 100m high. Before Khéphren, there was that of Khéops, his father. Between the two there was another pharaoh, also the son of Cheops, but much less known: Djedefre. The latter also launched the construction of his tomb during his reign, but it was unfortunately brief and his pyramid was never finished.

Learn more about the order of the Egyptian pyramids .

Geographically, the pyramid of Khéphren is located to the south-west of that of Khéops, a few hundred meters away. It is on the Giza plateau , a limestone plateau southeast of Cairo nowadays almost surrounded by the Cairo agglomeration.

Who was Khéphren?
Khéphren was the 3rd pharaoh of the 4th dynasty, the one who built the 3 great pyramids of Giza. Son of Cheops, he reigned between -2518 to -2492. These dates are approximate of course, specialists do not necessarily agree with each other.

It filters little information on the reign of this distant pharaoh. However, it seems that his reign was good, and that the king was appreciated, but this state of affairs is only the result of deduction from the various archaeological discoveries made during this period. It is therefore quite unreliable, rather it gives a positive tendency to life during this period.