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  • Writer's pictureMai Khder

King Snefru | Founder of the Fourth Dynasty

Updated: Feb 7, 2021

Pharaoh King Senefru, the fourth dynasty founder and famous pharaoh Khufu's father, owner of the Great Pyramid, has been regarded as one of the greatest builders of humanity's history as he has presented the 4 pyramids, and they took the lead in building this pyramid in the history of mankind.

When we speak of this King, the 4th dynasty's founder, in particular, we speak of his three, maybe even four, pyramids. It was Ancient Egypt's most significant builder, although the knowledge about it is very small. But for him talk amazing architectural facilities.

Son of Huni (the last ruler of the 3rd dynasty) and of the secondary wife of King Huni, Queen Meresankh, Snefru strengthened his right to succession by marrying his half-sister who later became the mother of the most famous king in ancient Egyptian history, Queen Hetepheres mother of Cheops who is the owner of the most enormous pyramid in history, which attracts tourists daily during the Giza Pyramids tour.

Palermo Stone accounts of his reign on two military campaigns, one against the Libyan tribes, and the other in Nubia. The Palermo Stone also discusses the advent of a Byblos convoy consisting of forty cedar wood vessels.

Both pyramids of Dahshur, near Saqqara, are attributed to this king. Of uncertain attribution remains the pyramid of Meidum, sometimes considered one of the three pyramids of Snefru. According to a fairly accepted theory, his father Huni was the owner of the tomb of Meidum, while Snefru managed its transformation. Also, During his reign, the cartouche appeared for the first time, the oval shape that contains the name of the ruler nsu-biti, after the traditional serekh shape which was a square shape used before, the serekh can be seen on the top of the two-sided Narmer Palette exhibited in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo which commemorates the victory of King Menes after the battle that united the two kingdoms of Egypt in the north and the south, marking the beginning of the dynastic period by the 1st dynasty.

This probably helped him to build and complete three great pyramids over a period of fifty years, and thus he deserves the title of "greatest pyramid builder of all time" Snefru's three buildings contain more than 3,000,000 cubic meters of stone and thus conquer the Grand Pyramid. We are certainly peculiar with the idea that a king may have created more than one tomb. After all, only in one position could the Pharaoh be buried. We do not know why so much work is to have taken place, however, one potential explanation may simply be that Snefru wanted a third pyramid to be constructed in perfect form, in view of the technical difficulties that made it impossible to build the first two pyramids.

If this is valid, we may see this as a shift in relation to the positive approach of Imhotep who had made the Step Pyramid step by step for his King Djoser, a way of ensuring that, in case of the sudden and unforeseen pharaoh's death, there would always have been at least one tomb ready. In any case, there may be a chance of Snefru making one or more of the memorials in addition to the actual tomb (there was a similar thing during the Middle Kingdom when Amenemhat III constructed two pyramids. The second of which theoretically proved much better than the first).

You can go to Saqqara and Dahshur to explore the gigantic pyramids of King Senefru during the Pyramids Tour from Cairo Airport.

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