It is known since the 19th century that in the layout of the pyramid field of the pharaohs of the 4th Egyptian dynasty at Giza, a “main axis” exists. Indeed, the south-east corners of these monuments align towards the site of the temple of Heliopolis, which was plainly visible in ancient times. It was later discovered that a similar situation occurs in the main pyramid field of the subsequent dynasty at Abu Sir. Here, the north-west corners of three chronologically successive pyramids again voluntarily align towards Heliopolis. However, the temple was in this case not visible, due to the rock outcrop- today occupied by the Cairo citadel - which blocks the view. In the present paper, a multi-disciplinary approach based on historical, topographical and archaeoastronomical analysis is developed in an attempt at understanding this peculiar feature, which governed from the very beginning the planning of such wonderful monuments. A general pattern arises, which appears to have inspired the choice of the sites and the design of almost all the funerary complexes of the kings of the 4th and the 5th Egyptians dynasties. This pattern is deeply connected with religion, funerary cult and dynastic lineage, but also - probably - with astronomical knowledge.
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