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King Snefru

Facts About King Snefru | Founder of the Fourth Dynasty

  • 05 16, 2023

King Snefru Egypt 

When we talk about this King, the founder of the 4th dynasty, it is done above all in relation to its three Pyramids, maybe even four. He was the greatest builder of Ancient Egypt, although the information concerning him is rather sparse. Imposing architectural structures, however, speaks for him.

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.

Of his reign, the Palermo Stone reports two military campaigns, one in Nubia and the other against the Libyan tribes. The Palermo Stone also mentions the arrival of a convoy from Byblos, made up of forty ships loaded with cedarwood.

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.

Probably reigned for fifty years, this allowed him to build, and complete, three great pyramids, thus deserving the title of "greatest pyramid builder of all time".
The three buildings of Snefru contain more than three and a half million cubic meters of stone, thus overcoming the Great Pyramid. The idea that a king could have more than one tomb built is definitely strange to us. After all, the pharaoh could only be buried in one place. We do not know for sure what the reason for such plenty of building, however, a probable explanation could simply be that Snefru, given the technical problems that had made it difficult to build the first two pyramids, wanted a third one to be built in perfect shape.

If this is really the case, we could consider it a sort of variation compared to the constructive approach of Imhotep who had made the Step Pyramid for his King Djoser step by step, an approach that would have guaranteed that there was always at least one tomb ready in the event of the sudden and unexpected death of the pharaoh. (Something similar had to occur during the Middle Kingdom when Amenemhat III had two pyramids built, the second of which proved technically much more advanced than the first.) Anyway, it is possible that Snefru wanted to own one or more memorials, in addition to the real tomb.

The Bent Pyramid, also called the Rhomboid Pyramid or South Pyramid of Dahshur, is a funerary monument or cenotaph built by order of Pharaoh Seneferu at Dahshur, 40 kilometers south of Cairo, Egypt. 

You can go to Saqqara and Dahshur to explore the gigantic pyramids of King Senefru during the Pyramids Tour from Cairo Airport. Egypt in its history has never ceased to arouse emotions and the desire to discover the treasures of this pharaonic world.

Senefru wanted to confirm the security of the borders, so he made a few attacks on Nubia to consecrate security and tranquillity on Egypt's southern borders, he invited punitive attacks on the Bedouins of Sinai, who were stealing the turquoise and copper mines and the trade caravans, and so we find that King Senefru attached importance to the security of the country and had a wonderful fortress.

If you love reading history books, a visit to Egypt will make your dream come true with Cairo Top Tours' trip to the most fascinating places in the world.

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Egypt Tours FAQ

Read top Egypt tours FAQs

King Snefru was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh who ruled during the Old Kingdom period, specifically during the 4th Dynasty, around 2613–2589 BC. He is often credited with being one of the most prolific pyramid builders in ancient Egypt and playing a significant role in the architectural and construction developments of his time. Here are some details about King Snefru and his contributions to ancient Egypt:

   Pyramid Building: Snefru is best known for the construction of pyramids. He initiated the construction of three major pyramids during his reign: the Meidum Pyramid, the Bent Pyramid, and the Red Pyramid. These pyramids represent important milestones in the evolution of pyramid design and construction techniques.

   Meidum Pyramid: Snefru began the construction of the Meidum Pyramid, located at Meidum in the Fayoum region. It is believed to have been initially designed as a step pyramid but was later modified into a true pyramid. Although the pyramid suffered structural issues and partial collapse over the centuries, it marked early experiments with pyramid construction.

   Bent Pyramid: The Bent Pyramid, located at Dahshur, is one of Snefru's most distinctive architectural achievements. Its unique shape, with a steep lower section and a more gradual upper section, is a testament to the experimentation and learning that took place during its construction. It is often considered an intermediate stage in the development of pyramid design.

   Red Pyramid: The Red Pyramid, also located at Dahshur, is the third pyramid constructed by Snefru. It is the first true smooth-sided pyramid and is known for its well-preserved appearance and red limestone casing. It represents the culmination of Snefru's pyramid-building efforts and served as his final resting place.

   Expeditions and Trade: Snefru is believed to have conducted military campaigns and trade expeditions to foreign lands, including Sinai and Nubia. These endeavors contributed to the acquisition of valuable resources and the expansion of Egypt's influence.

   Legacy: Snefru's reign is often viewed as a period of experimentation and innovation in pyramid construction. His architectural achievements laid the groundwork for the later construction of some of Egypt's most famous pyramids, including those on the Giza Plateau.

   Art and Culture: The 4th Dynasty, under Snefru's rule, witnessed advancements in art, culture, and the development of a centralized state administration. Artists and craftsmen created beautiful works of art and hieroglyphic


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