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Valley of Khafre Temple, an archaeological site about which little is known

Valley of Khafre Temple, an archaeological site about which little is known

The Giza Plateau in Egypt is the most visited place in the country. Here are the three most famous pyramids in the world: Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure. But there is also the famous Sphinx, the lion with the head of a human. Tourists are attracted to these ancient ruins and come from all over the world to visit them.

There is another building that is often overlooked, which, on the contrary, is absolutely worth a visit. It's about Valley of Khafre Temple Which is located hundreds of meters from the pyramid.

Valley of Khafre Temple

This pharaoh, son of Khufu and father of Mecerinus, who belonged to the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt and therefore lived 2,500 years before Christ, wanted to surpass the greatness of his father and did not limit himself to building the pyramid (which can be recognized today by the lighter end). ) He also wanted to build a Sphinx in his image and likeness to guard his pyramid and the funerary temple downstream.

Valley Temple He remained buried under the desert sand Hundreds of years ago, it was discovered thanks to an archaeological mission organized by Egyptian, French and German scientists. The business continued well into the beginning of the 20th century.

It turned out that there were two entrances from the eastern side, one on the right, towards the north, and the other on the left, towards the south. When the pharaoh was mummified and prepared for burial, all the ritual ceremonies took place twice, the first to symbolize his control over Lower Egypt and the second to commemorate his control over Upper Egypt.

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What was the temple used for?

The temple was built, in fact, specifically for Mummification ceremony. In the sacred laboratory that was created inside the temple, the mouth-opening ceremony was performed at the end of the long process of mummification of the pharaoh.

During this ritual, the priests used to open the king's eyes and mouth with golden tools, to allow the pharaoh's soul to leave the body and guarantee him eternal life.

It was originally connected to the mortuary temple of Khafre via a ramp 494 meters long, measuring 45 meters on each side and 13 meters high. It is made entirely of red granite blocks from Aswan, and is devoid of decoration except for some inscriptions in hieroglyphic writing. Engraved around access gates.

Inside, there was a large room in the shape of an inverted “T”, with 16 red granite columns about 4 meters high supporting the imposing lintels. They had to create a striking color contrast with the limestone walls covered with black granite slabs, now partially gone, and the alabaster floors. In the room, there were originally 23 statues of the seated king, all made of green diorite from the Nubian Desert, alabaster and greywacke.

From the center of the temple where Funeral rites were heldThere was access to other rooms, narrow corridors, galleries, galleries and other rooms to contain solar boats, which to the Egyptians were boats designed to transport deceased pharaohs to the afterlife.

The discovery that rewrote history

It is the only temple in the valley that has survived and remains to this day in a good state of preservation, although, like most archaeological sites, it has been violated since ancient times. The first stone blocks were already removed in ancient Egypt, and so happened in the following centuries, to the point that not only the temple was no longer recognizable, but the pyramid of Hefren itself was no longer recognizable.

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It was the beginning of the 19th century, when Paduan explorer Giovanni Battista Belzoni noticed a huge pile of stones. After removing them, he first found an inaccessible tunnel, most likely dug by grave robbers, and then found three large blocks forming the main entrance to the pyramid. Inside, for future reference, Belzoni left written in large letters: “Discovered by G. Belzoni. March 2, 1818”. However, it was British Egyptologist John Shee Bering who entered the Pyramid of Khufu in 1837, and almost a century later, the international team also gained access to the temple.