Chephren (Khafre) Pyramid in Giza
Khafre is the builder of the second largest pyramid at Giza Plateau. The pyramid was built on a square ground plan of 215m, rising to a height of 143.5m at an angle of 53´10º.
The simplicity of the chamber passage system may reflect the builder's experience in handling the problems of building chambers high in the body of the pyramid.
Inside the Pyramid of Khafre, there are two descending passages: one begins in the masonry about 11.54m above the level of the base, and the other runs from in front of the base line at the ground level, near the center of the northern side. It has been suggested that the pyramid was originally intended to be larger in its base and a change in its plan from a larger to a smaller pyramid base occurred, which resulted in portcullis closure systems that were built into the beginning of the lower and upper horizontal corridors.
The lower passage descends at an angle, with a slope of 22º to a horizontal corridor that measures about 1.7m high. A subsidiary chamber (niche) opens off the horizontal section with a pendent roof, the main purpose of this chamber is not entirely clear. It may have been a Serdab chamber (equivalent to the misnamed queen’s chamber in the Great Pyramid) and it may have been simply used for storing offerings.
At the end of the horizontal section, an ascending passage rises reaching an intersection with the other passage, which means that the pyramid had two entrances on the northern face. While one entrance, discovered by Belzoni in 1818, stands about 11m from the ground, the other was at the ground level. While some scholars attribute the existence of the two entrances to the change of plan during the pyramid's construction, others believe that it is a matter related to the burial of the King, as it is a recurrent phenomenon among the other pyramids.
The upper entrance is known as Belzoni’s entrance, as he inscribed his name and the date of his entry on it. It leads to a walled passage roofed with red granite. It descends to an angle of 26º to a horizontal passage which is closed by vertically operated granite portcullis.
Both the horizontal passage of the lower entrance and that of the upper one intersect and both merge into a long horizontal gallery that ends in the final burial chamber. The chamber is roofed with slabs of limestone placed obliquely about one meter cast of the diagonal of the center of the pyramid. In other words, it is not exactly under the center. The burial chamber is about 14.15 x 5m and its height is about 6.83m. This room is topped by the five uppermost relieving chambers like those of the Great Pyramid.The Sarcophagus of Chephren
Belzoni, having rediscovered the entrance to the upper passage, made his way into the chamber that comprises the sarcophagus in 1818, he found that most probably he was not the first to enter since post-Pharaonic times. In the sarcophagus, bones of a bull were found. It is said that in ancient times bulls were buried as symbols of the pharaohs himself or of Osiris. Stadelman suggested that these bones were probably thrown into the sarcophagus at some unknown later date by intruders, long after the King’s body had been robbed and lost.
Made of black granite, Khafre’s sarcophagus was half embedded in the thick paving, which once covered most of the chamber's floor. It measures about 2.6m long, 1.05 wide and about 1m deep. When found by Belzoni, it was opened and its lid lay upon the floor in two pieces.
A pit, cut into the floor of the chamber, probably held the canopic chest, which appears for the first time in a pyramid. The sarcophagus was found near the western wall.
The Causeway of Chephren Pyramid
The Causeway of Chephren Pyramid was constructed on the edge of the Plateau, which crossed the depression obliquely from south east to north west, in order to avoid the other buildings constructed in the vicinity of the pyramid .The Causeway was constructed in order to connect the Mortuary Temple to the Valley Temple. Its walls rose perpendicularly on the inside. The length of the causeway is more than ¼ mile and its width is about 15 feet (¼ mile). Today, nothing of its structure is now visible except part of the rock foundation and some blocks of Tura limestone from the walls and floor of its corridor.
According to Herodotus, the Causeway of the Great Pyramid was decorated with reliefs and the inner walls of the corridor of this causeway were also full of decorative depictions. He also stated that it was roofed with flat slabs of stone.
The 1st roofed causeway was that of King Cheops and the 2nd one was that of king Chephren. The causeways of the Bent Pyramid and of Meidum were never roofed since they lack both decorations and reliefs. On the contrary, those of Cheops and Chephren were roofed most probably to protect the painted reliefs on their walls.
Light was permitted to the corridor through horizontal slits cut along the middle of the roof. Since also rain would enter through these slits, and drained, would run down into the Valley Temple, an outlet (groove) in the side wall was made to conduct the water. The Mortuary Temple of Chephren Pyramid
The Mortuary Temple of Chephren, now reduced into ruins, is situated to the east side of his pyramid. The temple was a low rectangular building that measured about 370 feet in length and 160 feet in width. It was built of local stone and it walls were covered partly by red granite. The outer walls were covered by Tura limestone, except for its lower course which was covered with red granite. Five pits for boats were hewn in the rock close to the north and south walls. Two of the pits have well-preserved roofs made of limestone slabs, but no traces of the wooden boats have been found. No stone of the Mortuary Temple, which dates back to the time before Cheops, proved to be an exact replica of any other known example. They differ, however, only in arrangement and in architectural details. From the time of Chephren till the end of the Old Kingdom, every mortuary temple embodied five main features: the Entrance, the Open Court, the Magazines, the Sanctuary, and Five Niches for statues.
The Valley Temple of Chephren Pyramid
Just in front of the Sphinx, lies the debris of the small Valley Temple of Chephren Pyramid excavated by Selim Bey Hassan in 1936. It had slightly better walls. From the temple's inner walls, it is clear that it was built from coarse local limestone and overlaid with granite ashlars. The main feature of this temple was a colonnaded court, the floor of which was made out of alabaster. Most probably, this temple dates back to the time of Chephren and this is deduced from the way this temple was constructed. It is very likely that this temple was connected to the cult of the Sphinx.