Intef I. was the 11th pharaoh of Egypt Dynasty. Strictly speaking - was a pharaoh of Upper Egypt and its headquarters chose Thebes (Vaset). Beginning his government is not exactly known, but it is certain that the throne after Mentuhotep I..
At the beginning of the government Intef I. Egypt floundered in anarchy that occurred after the fall of the Old Kingdom. Intef I. But the government took a firm hand and occupied several nearby territories and regions. Then adopted the name Horus Sehertauej and got called Pharaoh. During the reign of Intef I. and his successors came heyday Thebes (Vaset), which reached a peak in the 18th Dynasty.
Tarif necropolis - saff tombs
Due to the local topography a special type of rock tomb was developed in el Tarif necropolis. Smaller tombs of non-royal persons had a wide courtyard dug into gravel and marlstone of the flat desert terrace. The western wall of open courtyard was made by a row of heavy square pillars, which constituted the facade of the tomb itself.
It was this row of pillars, which gave a modern name saff tomb to this type of mortuary architecture (saffje means a "row" in Arabic language). The tomb had a short narrow corridor, which was being opened in the middle of the facade and led into a mortuary chapel. The mortuary shafts of the tomb's owner and his family members opened into the floor of this chapel.
Saff tomb of Intef I.
Intef I. decided to let build a saff tomb of huge size for himself. The complex is called Saff el-Dawaba today, it has a rectangular courtyard 300 meters long and 54 meters wide, which was embed under surrounding terrain level; 400,000 m3 of gravel and soft stone was dug out of the ground and piled up to two long and low piles along the courtyard sides.
Unfortunately the front part of the courtyard (where also entrance chapel might have been built) didn't preserve, but the rear part of the tomb is still pretty well preserved. It has a wide facade, which is comprises of double row of stone pillars and three chapels (one for the King himself and two maybe for his wives). The surface of tomb walls and pillars became eroded, so we don't know if they were originally decorated with paintings or not. Despite this fact, Saff el-Dawaba is an imposing work of architecture, which reveals something from then base of newly established royal power.
There wasn't the merest effort there to imitate the royal mortuary architecture of the Old Kingdom. The Theban rulers came out of local architectural traditions instead. And on the top of that, they didn't long for an exclusive location of the tomb unlike many Pharaohs of the Old Kingdom. The royal tombs were still built in the main Theban necropolis on the opposite river bank, opposite the city and its temples.
The places of rulers' last rest were surrounded there not only with tombs of close courtiers group, but also with necropolis of local people. There was also place for some of his adherents' funerals in smaller mortuary chapels standing along the royal tomb courtyard sides. The message hidden in this architecture is focused not only on Pharaoh's high position, but also on the fact that these rulers became deeply rooted in Theban surroundings and local society as well.
The successors of Intef I. (Intef II. and Intef III.) also let build similar saff tombs in el-Tarif necropolis near Saff el-Dawaba. The probable reason for relocation of the royal necropolis by Mentuhotep II in Deir el-Bahari was the fact that there weren't any other suitable building places for monumental architecture in el-Tarif.