The indelible legacy of Pharaoh Khufu, second king of the Fourth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, will always be the power to claim as the architect of one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, specifically, the one that has been preserved in the best condition to this day: The Great Pyramid of Giza.
From there, everything that surrounds the life of the Egyptian ruler is the prey of few certainties and many questions and legends.
Son of Sneferu and Hetepheres, it is estimated that the reign of khufu lasted about twenty-three years, between 2589 and 2566 BC.
During that time, the Nile empire enjoyed one of its great moments of cultural splendor, although it is true that the pharaoh sustained his power in an absolutist system, worrying to a great extent about his divinization process.
There are very few ancient sources that speak about Khufu and especially one of them, the story of Herodotus, has associated the pharaoh with a distorted image.
The Greek historian, who traveled through Egypt two millennia after the death of the king in question, presented Khufu as a ruthless ruler.
However, this despot personality contrasts with the descriptions recorded in the Westcar Papyrus, a series of texts written between 1650 and 1540 BC that qualify Khufu as a traditional eastern ruler: good-natured, kind to his inferiors and interested in the nature of human existence and magic.
The great legend
But the legend around Khufu reached its highest point, how could it be otherwise, due to the construction of his great jewel, the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The pyramid was 146 meters high, it was made up of two million three hundred thousand limestone blocks of about two and a half tons and 27,000 plates of polished white stone as cladding; and it presents extraordinary precision in adjusting the angles and the orientation towards the cardinal points.
The belief that slaves were used in the construction of the pyramid, which lasted about twenty years, is erroneous. According to various studies, the workers who raised these pyramids were free men who took turns during the year and alternated it with work in the fields.
While the pyramid is believed to be the tomb of Pharaoh, who also continued his predecessor’s military campaigns to protect the Nubian border and secure trade routes to the East, the granite sarcophagus in the king’s chamber was found empty.