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Pyramids of Dahshur

Pyramids of Dahshur

Situated 10 km south of Saqqara, Dahshur is one of the most important cemeteries belonging to the Ancient Egyptian capital Memphis. Initially, Dahshur was home to 11 pyramids from the IV and XII dynasties, but today only two remains intact among others - the Bent Pyramids and the Red Pyramids.

The Bent Pyramid

It is said that it is Pharaoh Sneferu, father of Khufu and the founder of the 4th dynasty, who built Egypt's first true pyramid here - the Bent Pyramid initially, followed by the Red Pyramid. It seems, the Bent Pyramid developed the bent due to a mistake committed by the architect. The pyramid had reached a height of about 48 m and an angle of 54 degrees when the architect realized that the tilt at 54 degrees would end up with the pyramid being exceptionally huge. This caused safety concerns as the pyramid, once constructed, would have been very unstable. Therefore, the architect decided to modify the angle to 43 degrees, resulting in the bent.

The Bent Pyramid is built of local limestone and is 101m tall. The length of each side of the pyramid is 188.6m. The pyramid has two entrances - the original entrance in the northern side and another in the western side and has a small temple on the eastern side.

The Red Pyramid

The Red Pyramid is situated 2 km away to the north of the Southern Pyramid. This was also built for King Snefru. But this time, the architect was cautious not to commit mistakes as was the case in Bent Pyramid and followed an angle of 43 degrees right from the bottom. This led to the construction of one of the most perfect pyramids, which later was used as a blue print for all the other pyramids that were set to follow. It was called the Red Pyramid because of the special rosette limestone that was used to build the inner burial chamber.

These pyramids were within the off-limits of military zone but parts of them have now been thrown open to tourism in 1996. Tourists are free to explore the Red Pyramid but the Bent Pyramid still comes within the military confinement area.

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