FACTS: 12 Interesting Facts About Pharaoh Khufu (With Pictures)

What is Khufu most famous for? The ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu is famous for having built the Great Pyramid of Giza. But did you know there are all sorts of interesting and mysterious facts about Khufu and his monument? Read on to find out more with these 18 fascinating pieces of triva.

Fact #1: KHUFU, MAN OF MANY NAMES

Khufu, Cheops, Sofe, Sofi, Chnoubos facts


Pharaoh Khufu's full name was Khnum Khufu. Yet over the years he's been called by many names. The Greeks called him Cheops. The ancient historian, Manetho, called him Suphis. He's also referred to as Sofe and Chnoubis. When you see these names in the future, you'll know that they're referring to Khufu.

Fact #2: BUILT ONE OF THE '7 WONDERS OF THE WORLD'

The Great Pyramid and the 7 Wonders of the World
The Great Pyramid, shown above as #5 

Khufu built the Great Pyramid. Located in Egypt, the Great Pyramid is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Think about it--there are only seven in total, and Khufu is on that list! Khufu was buried in the pyramid. Unfortunately, his mummy disappeared long before modern explorers went inside. No one knows what happened to it. On the plus side, every year countless numbers of tourists visit the site of Khufu's burial. The Great Pyramid has been around for 4,500 years. That's an impressive legacy and one that few humans can ever hope to beat.

Fact #3: SON OF PHARAOH SNEFERU AND QUEEN HETEPHERES I

Khufu's parents Pharaoh Sneferu and Queen Hetepheres I
Pharoah Sneferu Carving (left), A chair belonging to Queen Hetepheres I (right)

Khufu was raised by Pharaoh Sneferu and Queen Hetepheres. The queen was his biological mother, but Sneferu may have adopted him in a second marriage situation. Khufu's father founded Egypt's 4th Dynasty, which makes him quite famous. Khufu's mother was buried with many exotic grave goods that still remain today. That chair of hers, pictured above, still looks almost new!

Fact #4: WHEN WAS KHUFU BORN? 

Top 18 facts about Khufu's life and death! (with Pictures)
Here's a mystery—no one knows Khufu's date of birth. It's strange, given that he built such a huge monument. In fact, personal facts about Pharaoh Khufu are pretty scarce in general, which is too bad. It would be great to know more about him and his life. One thing we do know is when he died: 2566 BC. Historians believe he died of natural causes, so no great drama there.

Fact #5: NO ONE KNOWS HOW LONG KHUFU REIGNED 

Here's a second mystery about Pharaoh Khufu (aka King Cheops etc). We have no idea how long his reign lasted! Current historians lean toward 23 years. The ancient historian Herodotus claimed he ruled for 50 years. Another ancient historian, Manetho, said he ruled for 63 years, but that's probably unlikely.

Fact #6: KHUFU FATHERED 9 BOYS & 5 GIRLS 

Khufu fathered 9 boys and 5 girls. Get all the facts!
Pharaoh Khufu fathered at least 9 boys and 5 girls.

Khufu's sons were: Kawab, Djedefra (1st inherited the throne), Khafre (probably his 2nd successor to the throne), Djedefhor, Baufra, Babaef I, Khufukhaf I, Minkhaf I, Horbaef. 
Khufu's daughters were: Nefertiabet, Hetepheres II (named after his mother), Meresankh II, Meritites II, Khamerernebty I. A side note: he hired one of his nephews, Hemiunu, to direct the construction of his famous pyramid.

Fact #7: NAMED AFTER THE EARTH GOD KHNUM

Khufu was named after the earth god Khnum. Get all the facts!
Ancient Egyptian Earth God Khnum

Khufu's full name was Knuhm-khufu, which means "Khnum protect me". Khhum was an ancient Egyptian earth god. Khnum was believed to control the Nile river, a waterway that played an important role in farming, travel, and commerce. So having him on your side would be a good thing. The god was also a creator of children, whom he fashioned out of clay (earth) and delivered to mothers. This magic skill would also come in handy when you were a king looking to produce many heirs.

Fact #8: KHUFU LOVED EXPEDITIONS & EXPLORATIONS

KHUFU LOVED EXPEDITIONS & EXPLORATIONS

Khufu sent explorers into Sinai and Byblos to search for valuable resources: turquoise, copper mines, and Lebanese cedar. 
The metals and stones were used for making jewelry, amulets, wood inlay, and more. The cedar was particularly valuable because few trees grew in ancient Egypt. They needed it to make furniture, doors, and boats. In particular, funerary ships, one of which was found at Pharaoh Khufu's Great Pyramid. (I'll talk more about the boat, and show you a picture, shortly.)

Fact #9: KHUFU'S TINY STATUE

Fact #12: KHUFU'S TINY STATUE (learn more now)
Only one complete statue of Pharaoh Khufu remains. It's called the Khufu Statuette. It's made of ivory, and was found by famed archaeologist Flinders Petrie in 1903. The statue was found headless. Realizing the importance of what he'd found, Petrie and his team spent three weeks searching for it. 
Can you guess how big the statuette is? Three inches tall. You got that right. It's rather funny, in some sense, isn't it? Khufu made a huge pyramid, yet the only remaining image of him is this tiny, seated figure wearing the red crown of lower Egypt. Khufu's mummy was never found.

Fact #10: KHUFU BOAT 

Fact #15: Khufu's amazing FUNERARY Solar SHIP (learn more)
On the bright side, explorers found one incredible treasure at the Great Pyramid. Maybe it was too big for grave-robbers steal. Maybe they weren't interested. Whatever the case, it was sealed inside a pit at the base of the pyramid complex. It's the solar ship seen above.
The funerary ship is the oldest ship in existence, and was so well built that it's been called "a masterpiece of woodcraft". If placed in the water today, you could actually ride in it. No one knows the real purpose of this boat, also called a solar barge, but it's believed to be a ritual vessel used to carry the deceased pharaoh across the heavens, with the help of the Egyptian sun god, Ra. The boat is 143 feet (44m) long and 19.5 feet (6m) wide.

Fact #11: KHUFU MAY HAVE BEEN CRUEL

Fact #17: KHUFU MAY HAVE BEEN CRUEL

Pharaoh Khufu has a reputation for being a bit of a villain. Whether or not this is true, we can't say for sure. Where did he earn this unflattering status? From an ancient "novel" called the Westcar Papyrus. British adventurer Henry Westcar found this odd book in 1924. It is a very ancient story written on papyrus that is incredibly well-preserved. 
The fantastical tale is laid out in five parts. In it, spells are cast, miracles occur, strange figures come to life, they punish wrong-doers, a crocodile hunts down a townsman, and lake waters are parted at a pharaoh’s command to help a woman retrieve a magic fish amulet. One part features Khufu, and it's not exactly flattering. Khufu decapitates a prisoner because he wants to test the magic powers of a sorcerer named Dedi. But not everyone agrees that it was an evil act. Some argue that the beheading was an act of mercy. If you're feeling adventurous, look up the Westcar Papyrus online, have a read through, and decide for yourself.


And finally we come to our last Khufu fact...

Fact #12: KHUFU IS IN A VIDEO GAME

Fact #18: KHUFU IS IN A VIDEO GAME
Tomb of Khufu find the ancient tablet

You know you're famous when you're featured in a video game. Pharaoh Khufu may have lived thousands of years ago, but he's still got it. Just check out Assassin's Creed Origins! 

Are you a gamer? Did you arrive here looking for clues to find the ancient tablet? I'll give you a hand:
First, follow the corridor (don't go through the crack). When you reach the room, locate the hatch and go through it. You end up in the first treasure chamber. Smash the wall into 2 pieces and a passage will open. Pass into the next chamber. There, you will find the Ancient Tablet.
To exit, go through the hole on the opposite side, behind the tablet. You'll see a passage. Climb out and follow the path onward.

So there you have it! 18 amazing, fascinating facts about Pharaoh Khufu, also known as King Cheops among other names. I had fun putting this together, and I hope you had as much fun reading it.

Top 12 Pharaoh Khufu Facts

  1. Khufu/Cheops/Suphis - a man of many names
  2. Built one of the 7 Wonders of the World
  3. Son of Pharaoh Sneferu & Queen Hetepheres I
  4. Birthdate unknown, died in 2566 BC
  5. 2nd Ruler of Egypt's 4th Dynasty
  6. Fathered 9 boys and 5 girls
  7. Named after the earth god Khnum
  8. Loved expeditions and explorations
  9. Only one tiny statue exists. His mummy is gone
  10. Left behind an amazing funerary 'solar' ship
  11. Some say Khufu was cruel
  12. Khufu is featured in an Assassin's Creed game


I hope you enjoyed this post about Pharaoh Khufu, builder of the Great Pyramid. 

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