Khafre (c.2558–2532 BC), whom the ancient Greeks knew as Khefren, was a son of King Khufu (Cheops), the builder of the Great Pyramid. He built the second pyramid complex at Giza, and constructed his tomb on slightly higher ground, making it appear just as tall as his father’s. At 143.5 meters in height, however, his pyramid is only slightly shorter, and a tremendously impressive monument. Its core masonry is made of blocks of local limestone. The top of the pyramid still preserves the beautifully polished blocks of high-quality limestone that once encased the majority of the structure’s towering height. This white stone was quarried in Tura, south of Maadi, and transported here by ship.
The mortuary temple of Khafre at the foot of his pyramid and the valley temple at the end of the causeway are larger than any of those of older pyramids, and also among the best preserved of the Old Kingdom. Another development in the reign of Khafre is the complexity of their layout, with the elements constituting his mortuary temple becoming the new standard that its later Old Kingdom counterparts would follow. A unique feature of Khafre’s complex is the inclusion of a colossal statue beside his valley temple—the Great Sphinx. The valley temple is made of massive limestone blocks encased in granite, floors made of alabaster, and its wide hall features monolithic granite pillars. The symmetrically arranged niches along the walls of the hall once accommodated statues of the king, some of which are currently on display in the Egyptian Museum. One of these, the famous granodiorite statue of Khafre with Horus as a falcon perched behind his head, is widely considered one of the masterpieces of ancient Egyptian art.