The Pyramid of Chephren is almost equal in proportions and execution to that of Cheops, and has suffered much less from the ravages of time and spoilers. Not only is part of the original casing still in place on the upper part of the pyramid, but the position and plan of the temple on its eastern face are still traceable; almost the whole line of the causeway can be clearly seen, and the Valley Temple remains in comparatively good condition.
Besides all this, the Great Sphinx as has been noted, belongs properly to this Pyramid and, though much damaged above and sanded up in its lower part, is so notable an addition to the funerary monuments that it has excited the wonder of all beholders.
The entire height, from the pavement to the crown of the head is said to be 66 feet and its length is 187, but unfortunately the ever encroaching sand has hidden the paws completely and with them a pavement and a kind of little temple between where stands a memorial stone purporting to give an account of a clearance of the sand in ancient times. Some remains of brick walls near by shew another attempt, made in Roman times, to clear away the sand, and though the last clearance was made as lately as 1886, the paws are already entirely covered.
The granite temple has been noticed in the introduction along with the Sphinx, but it may be well to mention that the door by which we enter it is the door of exit to the causeway and it is very interesting to follow up the causeway, noting the shafts of later tombs on either side, to the temple of the pyramid which is still imposing in its ruin.
Round the pyramid was a great enclosure wall much of which is still traceable and within the precinct on the south side are the remains of a small pyramid, probably that of the queen.
The site of the Second Pyramid is not quite so advantageous as the level plateau which Cheops utilized. Chephren chose higher, but somewhat sloping ground, and had to cut away some of the rock on the west side, and to build up foundations on the east, in order to level it up.
The Pyramid is now 447 lA feet in height and was originally 471. Each side of the base measures now 690 V2 feet, originally 70734. The two lower courses of the casing were of granite, some blocks of which are still to be seen on the west side. All the upper part was of Tura limestone, much of which still remains.
The interior is much less worth visiting than the Great Pyramid. It shows another case of alteration of design while the building was in progress. There were two entrances. It is supposed that a much smaller pyramid was intended and that the sarcophagus was already in place in the chamber first designed. The entrance was to have been in the flooring of the pavement outside the Pyramid.
When the plan was changed and a second chamber was excavated—in the rock, here, not built as in The Pyramid of Cheops—a problem presented itself as to how the coffin was to be moved. The architects decided that, instead of dragging it up again to the outside and in by the new passages to the new chamber, they would tunnel another passage for it through the rock, by which it could be drawn up to the horizontal corridor leading to the new room.
The burial chamber is roofed with painted slabs of limestone, placed at the same angle as the sides of the Pyramid.
In the face of the cliff on the west, which has been cut away in order to level the plateau on which the Pyramid stands, are several tombs, some of which are of a much later period, and none have any connection with the Pyramid.
West of this, above, are the remains of the barracks where the workmen were lodged.