Khufu is famous as the pharaoh who was buried in the Great Pyramid. This was built 4,500 years ago but still stands today - indeed it is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World which still exists. Until the 19th century, it was the tallest building in the world.


The Great Pyramid was built on the plateau now known as Giza, near ancient Memphis (modern Cairo). Khufu's father Snefru was the first to build a true pyramid (that is with smooth triangular sides, not steps like Djoser's pyramid). Khufu's architects and builders took pyramid design to an astonishing level of skill and accuracy. The pyramid is almost perfectly oriented to the points of the compass, and each side is almost exactly the same length. Each stone is fitted so smoothly there is hardly any gap between them.


Inside the pyramid is a number of halls and chambers. The burial chamber still holds the king's sarcophagus (see below), although his treasures are long gone.



Only one statue of Khufu has ever been found (see below). The pyramid itself has hardly any hieroglyphs in it - and only once is his name written, in a workman's rough hand.


More facts and figures about the Great Pyramid:


Original height: 146.6m (481ft)

Present height: 137.5m (451ft) (The top 30ft are missing)

Angle of slope: 51 degrees

Length of sides: 230m (755ft)

Number of blocks used: around 2,300,000

Average weight of blocks: 2.5 tons

Maximum weight of blocks: 15 tons

Napoleon calculated that there was enough stone in the Great Pyramid to build a wall around France 1ft wide and 12ft high.

Time it took to build the pyramid: 14 years (this is the latest estimate).



Below: the Grand Gallery inside the pyramid,

leading up to the burial chamber