Supporting evidence for a symmetrical plan centred on Khafre

I have argued that Giza was planned as a whole, and that Khafre at the centre mediates a symmetry between Khufu and Menkaure, and the geometry seems to confirm this. There are additional features that support this argument.

The figure below shows the mortuary temples of the three pyramids –

Fig 8.1

– broadly speaking Khufu’s temple at the top shows similarities with Menkaure shown at bottom (absent the ring of columns in Khufu’s temple) . In the middle Khafre shows a ‘doubling’ of temples designed somewhat differently – the mortuary temple combines elements of the Sphinx and Khafre valley temples.

There is a set of 3 portcullises in both Khufu and Menkaure passage systems. Usually portcullises are considered only as utilitarian but they also might have carried symbolic meaning. At any rate the portcullis system of Khafre is different –

Fig 8.2

While the King’s  chambers of Khufu and Menkaure are of different sizes,  both are lined with granite according to a shared design and, and as we have seen, their layout analogues produce a symmetrical design with respect to Khafre –

Fig 8.3

Hokum noted that the entrance of Menkaure is at the same level as Khufu’s. I therefore superimposed the profile of Menkaure (blue) over that of Khufu (yellow), including their passage systems, and found the descending passage (in red) is identical in both –

Fig 8.4

– or it can be shown like this –

Fig 8.5

Ross found an interesting symmetry between the centres of the pyramids and the east/west plan –

Fig 8.6

We have seen above how the plan was rotated through 45 degrees. We can actually go further – arcs drawn from the corners of Menkaure, and from the corner and centre of Khufu, meet the NE and SW corners of Khafre –

Fig 8.7

Looking at the figure at larger scale it can be seen that, while not all the arcs are perfect, they are obviously intentional –

Fig 8.8

But which came first? The orthogonal positioning of pyramid bases according to Legon’s plan, or the desire  (via these arcs) to underline the basic concept argued here – that Khafre mediates a symmetry between Khufu and Menkaure. In itself this figure demonstrates that the site was designed as a whole – there is no need to rely on Butler’s chamber/limestone plan to prove this (although it would be very nice to have).


The dimensions of the limestone portions of Khufu and Menkaure appear to have been planned together. Referring back to Fig.2.2 they are shown in this figure –

Fig 8.8

– the meridian triangle with a base of 1000 cubits, and a height based on Phi (1272 cubits), gives a height for Khufu of 280 and for Menkaure limestone height of 89 cubits (or 712/8) or a quarter of the slope of Khufu (356 cubits). In other words, lower slope equals half upper height, as if the two pyramids are a reflection of each other.

In sum the Giza plan is seen to be divided into two parts – north and south, the one ‘reflecting’ the other. Perhaps the ‘Two Lands’ of Egypt, symbolised by plants and animals in iconography and regalia –

Fig 8.9