King Khufu “2589-2566 BC“, whose name means Khunum protects me, was known as Cheops to the Greeks. He was an ancient Egyptian monarch, who ruled Egypt through the fourth dynasty during the 26th century B.C as a second king. He was the one who was responsible for building the great pyramid that you can visit during your Cairo day tours. Here all information you need to know about King Khufu:
Interesting Facts about King Khufu
King Khufu married many times in his life from Queen Meritites, Queen Henutsen, and others. Queen Meritites was his main wife, who gave birth to Khufu’s heir to the throne, Prince Kawab but prince Kawab died before Khufu and had never got the chance to take the leadership of the throne. It is believed that Kawab was murdered by one of his brothers, Djedefre. Khufu had nine sons and fifteen daughters. Meritites was buried in one of the great three pyramids inside his own pyramid. His two sons Khafre and Redjedef succeeded him after his death instead of Kawab.
Khufu was somehow a cruel king with the Egyptians and there are many rumors that the king treated the Egyptians as slaves to build the Great Pyramid of Khufu. There is no evidence for such a thing and the major belief suggests that the Egyptians were being paid for their work. The reign of Khufu and Khafre were described by the Greek historian Herodotus as the most miserable and oppressive 106 years. There is only one completed portrait for Khufu that is only about three inches high, which was found in a temple ruin in 1903. All Khufu’s other statues and reliefs were broken and many of his temples were lost.
King Khufu Family Tree
His father was king Sneferu, who was the first king of the fourth dynasty and his mother was queen Hetepheres I, who was Sneferu’s half-sister. King Khufu was more ruthless and cruel despot than his father was. He was famous during his lifetime and he still had a funerary cult as late as the Senate Dynasty did.
Brothers and Sisters of King Khufu
- Hetepheres: the wife of Ankhhaf.
- Ankhhaf: The eldest brother and his nephew would later become pharaoh Khafra.
- Nefermaat: Half-brother; buried at Medium. He was the owner of the famous “Mastaba of the Geese“.
- Rahotep: He was an elder brother or half-brother. He was the owner of a life-size double statue portraying him and his wife Nofret.
Sons of Khufu
- Kawab: was the eldest son of Khufu and his future heir but he died before Khufu’s own end of the reign and that’s why he did not follow Khufu on the throne.
- Djedefra: became the first throne successor.
- Khafre: was the second throne successor.
- Djedefhor: was known as Hordjedef.
- Babaef I: Khnum-baef I.
- Khufukhaf I: Kaefkhufu I.
- Minkhaf I.
Daughters of King Khufu
- Nefertiabet: was known for her beautiful slab stelae.
- Hetepheres II: was the wife of prince She married pharaoh Djedefra.
- Meresankh II.
- Meritites II: was married to Akhethotep.
- Khamerernebty I: was the mother of Menkaura.
King Khufu’s Name Meaning
The name of Khufu was dedicated to the earth deity, Khnum and he was a great religious symbol. Many believe that Egyptian pharaohs wanted to show their divine origin by dedicating their names to some deities. Khufu believed himself a divine creator. His royal family was big and we are not sure if Sneferu was his father or his stepfather.
King Khufu Reign
There isn’t clear information about the reign period of king Khufu but The Royal Canon of Turin from the 19th dynasty gave Khufu 23 years of rulership. Khufu’s name appears in local quarries at Hatnub and Wadi Hammamat. There is a rock inscription at the Wadi Maghareh in Sinai, which depicts Khufu wearing two crowns. Many expeditions were sent by Khufu to Byblos as an attempt to trade cooper tools and weapons for Lebanese wood. This type of wood was essential for him as he used it in building funerary boats. The boats that were discovered inside the pyramid were made of this kind of wood.
King Khufu Pyramid
Khufu Pyramid is considered to be the oldest and most important wonder of the world. It needed about twenty years to be built and it was covered with limestone to make its surface smooth. It was actually built as a tomb of the king but it appeared to be the largest construction that has ever been built by a man. Hemiunu, Khufu’s nephew was the one who designed and constructed this magical construction. It needed about 2.3 million blocks and it consists of three chambers, the biggest one belongs to the king and the other one belongs to the queen. There is something very strange about the pyramid, which is there is no any writing or Hieroglyphics found inside the Pyramid.
Monuments and Statues of King Khufu
There is only a small statue that depicts Khufu in ivory figurine, which was known as Khufu statuette. In that statue, Khufu wears the red crown of Lower Egypt seated on a throne with a short backrest. We can find this artifact in the Egyptian Museum in room 32. Khufu’s face is unusually squat and chubby. It shows no emotional expression. Surprisingly, there is another statue of Khufu beneath a pair of terracotta statues depicting a lion goddess, which is located now in Altes Museum. There are also many reliefs of Khufu, which are made of limestone. There is a relief of Khufu with the sentence “Building of the sanctuaries of the deities“.
Kingdoms of King Khufu
Khufu had many unique mortuary cult during the old Kingdom of Egypt. There were about 67 mortuary priests and 6 independent high officials serving at the necropolis at the end of the 6th dynasty. King Khufu witnessed a magical wonder and received a prophecy from a magician named Dedi according to a literary masterpiece of the middle kingdom of Egypt. The necropolis of Khufu was reorganized and Giza became an important economic and cultic destination through the Egypt new Kingdom.
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What is the Best Time of Visit Egypt?
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Can I Enter the Pyramids?
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How to Enjoy Egypt During Ramadan?
Ramadan is a special time of year for Muslims that should be celebrated by non-Muslims and feel the essence of the Islamic culture. You can fast with the Muslim or just observe but you are always welcome to join the celebrations and festivals.