Pyramids in Egypt that you might not know about

Have you ever wondered about all the pyramids in Egypt other than the Pyramids of Giza. The Pyramids of Giza are the three largest and best-preserved pyramids in Egypt today, but that doesn’t mean they are the only ones. Did you know that there are over 100 pyramids in Egypt today? Here are 11 pyramids you might not have heard about before, all magnificent and truly worth your visit.

The Step Pyramid

Also known as Djoser, this pyramid is 197 ft. high and was part of a large mortuary complex. The Pyramid of Djoser is the oldest intact pyramid in the world today built between 2630 and 2611 B.C. in Egypt. The pyramid was designed to be 6 layers with a flat roof, which is why it’s called the ‘Step’ Pyramid, also known in Arabic as ‘Mastaba’.

The inside of Djoser has burial chambers deep within made for the pharaoh and his 11 daughters. It’s a series of tunnels that are thought to be designed to prevent theft. Due to this, the pyramid has deteriorated and could even collapse without conversation. While visitors are not allowed to enter the pyramid, they are welcome to view and take photos of the pyramid.

The Bent Pyramid

The first of the three Dahshur Pyramids; Sneferu’s Bent Pyramid. The Dahshur Pyramids are what provided Egyptians with the learning experience of how to transition from step pyramids to smooth-sided pyramids. The Dahshur Pyramids are not far from the Giza and Saqqara Pyramids. The Bent Pyramid is the first of the smooth pyramids to be built, considered unsuccessful due to the cut of the blocks used resulting in the weight not being distributed properly causing the angle of the pyramid to be off and achieving the name “The Bent Pyramid”.

The Red Pyramid

Learning from his mistakes, Sneferu ordered the building of the second pyramid of Dahshur; the Red Pyramid, also known as the North Pyramid. The success of the free-standing pyramid rises to a height of 104 meters. The red limestone stones used to construct the Red Pyramid is the reason behind the name. The Red Pyramid is the largest of the three major pyramids at the Dahshur necropolis.

The pyramid used to be cased with white Tura limestone, but has now faded away leaving the pyramid with a rusty reddish hue. It was Sneferu’s last attempt to build a true pyramid and so, successfully it is considered the world’s first true pyramid to be built.

The Red Pyramid

The Black Pyramid

The last of the Dahshur Pyramids, built under the rule of King Amenemhat II; the Black Pyramid. It is obvious that this pyramid is not well preserved as the others due to the material used to build it; mudbrick instead of traditional stone. The ruined pyramid is worth seeing because it is the most imposing monument after the two Sneferu pyramids.

The Black Pyramid got its name from the dark and decaying appearance it holds. It’s believed that the Black Pyramid was the first in Egypt intended to house the pharaoh and his queens.

Meidum Pyramid

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The second oldest pyramid in Egypt, after the Pyramid of Djoser. This pyramid was Sneferu’s’ first attempt at building a ‘true pyramid’, but having failed, he kept on trying until the Red Pyramid was built. The top of the Meidum Pyramid has collapsed pre-completion. Archaeologists believed that the architect modified his design half way through which later caused the collapse of the structure.

Meidum Pyramid is now known as the ‘Collapsed Pyramid’ or “ElHaram ElKadab’ in Arabic, which means “The False Pyramid”. It no longer resembles a pyramid and only 5 steps have survived.

Fayoum Pyramids

If you’re ever in Fayoum, don’t miss a visit to the Fayoum Pyramids; Hawara and El-Lahun. Not a lot of people, including Egyptians, know that Fayoum is home to several pyramids. Although both pyramids were built by different pharaohs at different times, they were both made of the same material; mudbrick covered with limestone casing. Hawara was built 1860 AB under the rule of King Amenemhat III, while El-Lahun was built in 1897 BC under the rule of King Senusret II.

Abusir Pyramids

The Niuserre, Neferirkare Kakai, and Sahure Pyramids were built during the 5th dynasty; around 4,500 years ago. These are considered the major pyramids of Abusir, although it is home to 14 pyramids. Abusir is located south of Saqqara and is a mortuary complex dedicated to Osiris. They were designed after the Pyramids of Giza, but with low-quality limestone casting, they haven’t stood well through the years.

Neferirkare Kakai was designed to be a step pyramid, although now due to its destruction, it has fallen apart to what seems to be a flat-faced pyramid, filling the steps with brick. Sahure is a rather important site, while it might light like a rubble pile. The complex it belongs to represents the final phase of a system that would remain unchanged for more than 300 years. Niuserre completed the unfinished monuments of his father, mother, and brother before working on his pyramid complex. He chose to build the pyramid between Neferirkare and Sahure.

Pyramid of Unas

The Pyramid of Unas is the first of the pyramids containing what we refer to as “Pyramid Texts”; spells and inscriptions used to safeguard the pharaoh on his journey from between this world and the next. These inscriptions covered spells protecting the pharaoh’s body, spells calling upon the Gods for aid and more. The pyramid texts in Pyramid of Unas are the smallest of all the pharaohs. They intended for spells to guide and protect the pharaoh’s soul.

The Pyramid of Unas remains eclipsed in the shadow of the Pyramid of Djoser. Containing 128 phrases, it holds great importance due to its precious documents. These phrases are found in the walls of the underground chambers in the Pyramid of Unas.

All these pyramids alongside the Great Pyramids of Giza, and you’re yet to learn all about the pyramids that reside in Egypt. Make sure to visit these pyramids if you get the chance to learn more about the history of Ancient Egypt.

Sherif Khalil is Owner of Dunes & Beyond. Dunes & Beyond offers luxury tours, Nile cruises and desert safaris in Egypt.

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