Khufu was one of the most renowned Pharaohs of ancient Egypt and he belonged to the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom. He is particularly famous for the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza, which is now considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. His birth name was Khnum-Khufu and he succeeded his father, Sneferu, to rule Upper and Lower Egypt in the 26th century B.C. But to this day, there still isn't much information on his rain. His Hellenized names were Kheops, Cheops, and Suphis, as coined by the Greek historians Diodorus and Herodotus, along with the Egyptian historian Manetho.
Arab historians wrote many supernatural stories about Khufu and his Great Pyramid, where they mentioned him as ‘Saurid’ or ‘Salhuk’. Now the only proof of the existence of Pharaoh Khufu is his ivory figurine, which is three inches high and discovered from a ruined temple of Abydos, in 1903. Some inscriptions discovered from Giza Pyramid also contain much information about Pharaoh Khufu. Khufu was also mentioned in a few later documents, written by the historians in about 300 B.C. According to Manetho, he ruled Egypt for 63 years; but the Turin King List stated that his reign lasted only for 23 years. Now, the modern historians hold the opinion that his reign could not be less than 46 years, based on the information learned from several inscriptions.
The family life of Khufu
It is established that Khufu was the son of Sneferu, the first Pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty. His mother was Queen Hetepheres I, the chief consort of the king. He had known to have seven brothers and five sisters in his royal family; the most notable among them were his brothers Ankhhaf, Nefermaat I, Kanefer and Rahotep. His wives, Queen Meritites I and Queen Henutsen, were actually two of his sisters as well.
Khufu had many children, most notable among them were his sons Djedefre, Kawab, Khafre, and Djedefhor. The prominent ones among his daughters were Nefertiabet, Hetepheres II, Khamerernebty I, Meritites II and Meresankh II. Pharaoh Khufu was succeeded by his son Djedefre, as the Crown Prince Kawab faced an untimely death. His other son Khafre also became the Pharaoh, after the death of Djedefre. Many of his grandchildren were also mentioned in various inscriptions and documents of later period. He had a nephew, named Hemiunu, who had been mentioned as the supervisor of the construction of the famous Giza Pyramid.
The famous necropolis at Giza
Khufu moved away from the royal necropolis of Dahshur and moved north, to the plateau of Giza, to build his own pyramid, in a new necropolis, which he named as ‘Akhet-Khufu’, meaning ‘horizon of Khufu’. The world-famous Pyramid of Khufu was constructed on a vast base of 750 ft x 750 ft area and its height today is 455.2 ft., though it is believed that it was actually 481 ft high originally.
This huge limestone structure consists of the entrance at the northern side of the building, Pharaoh’s burial chamber at the top tier, a statue chamber that is popularly called to be a Queen’s chamber and an incomplete subterranean chamber below the ground level; along with a closed corridor towards the south. The whole pyramid complex is enclosed by a wall, that is 33 ft from the main pyramid. There is also the mortuary temple at the eastern side, which is connected to the valley temple by a long causeway. The huge limestone statue of the Great Sphinx of Giza is another popular tourist attraction. The three other smaller pyramids were built in the same necropolis, for burying the mortal remains of Queen Mother Hetepheres I, Queen Meritites I and Queen Henutsen.