The Pyramid of Khufu

Font: Wikimedia Commons

The Pharaonic Egypt was located between latitudes 24º and 32º in the northern hemisphere just over the Tropic of Cancer so all the Egyptians could observe the circumpolar stars in the night sky. It’s well known that the life after death was very important for Egyptians and they believed that their souls went to the region of the night sky where the stars were always visible. Therefore, Egyptian began to improve their astronomical knowledge so they could orient their burial monuments as the great pyramids. Khufu lived around the XXVth century BC and he decided to be buried in a majestic monument which could be the most wonderful building that was ever built. Some years later the pharaohs Khafre and Menkaure (also in the Fourth Dinasty) decided to be buried next to Khufu and ordered to build pyramids for their respectively sarcophagus. The result was the Giza Necropolis and if we observe it carefully we will be able to find some astronomical details which are important to know. For example, the four sides of the Great Pyramid are oriented according to the four cardinal points (the north side has a deviation of 2’28” on the terrestrial parallel and the deviation of the south side is only 1’57”; the east side has a deviation of 5’30” on the terrestrial meridian and the deviation of the west side is 2’30”).

Font: GoogleEarth

Furthermore, the pyramid has two corridors from the Pharaoh’s room and two more corridors from the Queen’s room. As the pyramid is perfectly oriented, these four corridors drawn to some specific stars of the meridian. The northern corridor from the Pharaoh’s room (right corridor in the picture) points to Alpha Draconis which was next to the pole point in 2500 BC. This star was called “The Immortal” and it was the exact place where the Pharaoh’s soul was supposed to go after the royal death. The meridian corridor from the Pharaoh’s room points to Orion’s Bell and the northern and meridian corridors from the Queen’s room point to the stars Beta Ursa Minor and Sirius, respectively.


Therefore the Great Pyramid is like a very old astronomical observatory.

Location: Pyramid of Khufu (map)

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