The pyramid necropolis of Khufu was erected at the north-east section of the plateau of Giza. It is possible that the lack of building space, the lack of local limestone quarries and the loosened ground at Dahshur forced Khufu to move north, away from the necropolis of his predecessor Sneferu. Khufu chose the high end of a natural plateau, so that his future pyramid would be widely visible. Khufu decided to call his necropolis Akhet-Khufu (meaning “horizon of Khufu”).
The Great Pyramid has a base measurement of ca. 750 x 750ft (≙ 230.4 x 230.4 m) and today a height of 455.2 ft (≙ 138.8 m). Once it had been 481 ft (≙ 146.5 m) high, but the pyramidion and the limestone casing are completely lost due to stone robbery. The lack of the casing allows a full view to the inner core of the pyramid. It was erected in small steps by more or less roughly hewn blocks of dark limestone. The casing was made of nearly white limestone. The prisms for the casing were finely polished at their displaying site. The complete freshly set casing made the pyramid shimmer in bright natural lime white. The pyramidion could have been covered with electrum, but up to this day there is no archaeological proof for that. The inner corridors and chambers have walls and ceilings made of polished granite, one of the hardest stone known at Khufu’s time. The used mortar was a mixture of gypsum, sand, pulverized limestone and water.
The monument has its original entrance at the northern side and contains three chambers: at the top, the burial chamber of the king (king’s chamber), in the middle, the statue chamber (erroneously called queen’s chamber), and an unfinished subterranean chamber (underworld chamber) under the foundation of the pyramid. Whilst the burial chamber is identified by its large sarcophagus made of granite, the use of the “queen’s chamber” is still disputed – it might have been the serdab of the Ka-statue of Khufu. The subterranean chamber remains mysterious. It was left unfinished; a tight corridor heading south at the western end of the chamber and an unfinished shaft at the eastern middle might point out that the subterranean chamber was the eldest of the three chambers and that the original building plan contained a simple chamber complex with several rooms and corridors. But for some unknown reasons the works were stopped and two further chambers had been built inside the pyramid. Remarkable is the so-called Great Gallery leading to the king’s chamber: It has a niched ceiling and measures 28.7 ft in height and 151.3 ft in length. The gallery has an important static function, it diverts the weight of the stone masses above the king’s chamber into the surrounding pyramid core.
Khufu’s pyramid was surrounded by an enclosure wall, each wall 33 ft (≙ 10.1 m) in distance from the pyramid. At the eastern site, directly in front of the pyramid, the mortuary temple was built. Its foundation was made of black basalt, a great part of which is still preserved. Pillars and portals were made of red granite, the ceiling stones made of white limestone. Today nothing is left over from the temple. From the mortuary temple a 0.43 miles long causeway once headed to the valley temple. The valley temple was possibly made of the same stones as the mortuary temple, but since even the foundation is not preserved, the original form and size of the valley temple remain unknown.
At the eastern site lies the East Cemetery of the Khufu-necropolis, containing the mastabas of princes and princesses. Three small satellite pyramids, belonging to the queens Hetepheres (G1-a), Meritites I (G1-b) and possibly Henutsen (G1-c) were erected at the south-east corner of Khufu’s pyramid. Close behind the queen’s pyramids G1-b and G1-c the cult pyramid of Khufu was found in 2005. At the southern site lie some further mastabas and the pits of the funerary boats of Khufu. At the western site lies the West Cemetery, where the highest officials and priests were interred.