Camels and horse-drawn carriages next to Khafre's pyramid in Giza.

© Salvador-Aznar/Getty Images/iStock

Pyramid of Khafre


Khafre, the second pyramid, seems larger than that of Khafre's father, Khufu. At just 136m high, it’s not, but it stands on higher ground and its peak is still capped with the original polished limestone casing. Originally all three pyramids were totally encased in this smooth white stone, which would have made them gleam in the sun. Over the centuries, this casing has been stripped for use in palaces and mosques, exposing the softer inner-core stones to the elements.

The chambers and passageways of this pyramid are less elaborate than those in the Great Pyramid, but almost as claustrophobic. The entrance descends into a passage and then across to the burial chamber, which still contains Khafre’s large granite sarcophagus. At the time of research the interior of this pyramid was closed; it usually alternates opening with the Pyramid of Menkaure.

Back outside, to the east of the pyramid, are the substantial remains of Khafre’s funerary temple and the flagged paving of the causeway that provided access from the Nile to the tomb.

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