The Bent Pyramid and Red Pyramid in Dashur
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The Bent Pyramid and Red Pyramid in Dashur

The Bent Pyramid dates from about 2600 BC, was the first pyramid built by Pharaoh Sneferu. It was the first pyramid to have been planned as a true pyramid, as opposed to a step pyramid. The ancient formal name of the Bent Pyramid was either \\\\\\\"The Southern Shining Pyramid\\\\\\\" or \\\\\\\"SneferuÂ’s Shining in the South,\\\\\\\" depending on the translation.


The Bent pyramid and the Red pyramid were built in Dashur by one person, Pharaoh Sneferu.

The Red pyramid is well known for its pinkish limestone; it is the North Pyramid in Dahshur which is the third largest pyramid in Egypt where the interior is open to public. The Red Pyramid was built by Pharaoh Sneferu (2575-2551 BC), father of Khufu. Ancient graffiti indicates it took ten years and seven months to build. The North Pyramid is the second of Sneferu's two pyramids. The first one is the Bent Pyramid and it marks the first successful attempt at building a true smooth-sided pyramid.

Image Credit Photo by Ting Chen

Regardless of its relative obscurity, the Red Pyramid is actually the third largest pyramid in Egypt after the Great Pyramids of Khufu and Khafre at Giza. It has 105 meters high (345 feet) and has an angle of 43°. Significantly, this is the corrected angle used at the earlier Bent Pyramid after the original angle proved too steep.

The interior of the Red Pyramid contains three chambers with corbel ceilings and plenty of 19th-century graffiti. The Red Pyramid is one of the few Egyptian pyramids that grants the general public unregulated interior access.

Image Credit

A high entrance on the north side gives access to a downward slope passageway at an angle of around 27°. The passage itself measures about three feet in height and four feet in width. The bottom of the passage leads to a short corridor leading to the first chamber, which rises to a height of 40 feet. It has an 11-course corbel-vaulted ceiling.

Image Credit

At the south end of the first chamber a short corridor leads to the second chamber, which has similar dimensions to the first and also features a corbelled ceiling. This chamber lies directly beneath the apex of the pyramid. A wooden staircase of modern construction at the southern end of this chamber leads to a third and final chamber, which is believed to be the burial chamber.

A rare pyramidion or capstone has been uncovered and reconstructed, and is now on display next to the pyramid. Its angle differs from that of the Red Pyramid so the used of the capstone is unclear.

Image Credit

The Bent pyramid dates from about 2600 BC, was the first pyramid built by Pharaoh Sneferu. It was the first pyramid to have been planned as a true pyramid, as opposed to a step pyramid. The ancient formal name of the Bent Pyramid was either "The Southern Shining Pyramid" or "Sneferu’s Shining in the South," depending on the translation.

Image Credit

The Bent pyramid is such a fascinating structure which raises as many inquiries as it answers about the evolution of the pyramid. Mysteriously, this pyramid started at one angle (approx. 54 degrees), then changes to a more gradual angle of 43 degrees. This odd arrangement provides this pyramid with a distinctive and unique appearance.

There are several possible reasons for this change in angle. The most widely accepted theory is that Sneferu realized that if he were to continue the pyramid at its initial angle, it would rise to a height which would require a tremendous amount of material and labor. Another theory holds that the original angle resulted in displacement and cracking of many blocks that lined the chambers and passageways. This theory continues that the gentler angle was employed to reduce the amount of weight to be added above the chambers. The nearby Red Pyramid, which was built immediately after, has a 43° angle throughout.

The Bent Pyramid is 599 ft square and its original height was 344 ft. It is believed to be the first attempt at creating a pyramid with smooth sides. It was only partially successful, but it was a significant step in pyramid development. Today it is also the only Egyptian pyramid to retain a majority of its original limestone casing, providing the best feel for the original appearance of all pyramids.

In addition to its odd angles, the Bent Pyramid is also unusual because it has two entrances: as well as the typical north-face entrance it has a west entrance, visible just above the "bend." The Bent Pyramid has a mysterious small satellite pyramid of unknown purpose immediately to its south, and an early form of offering temple on its eastern side.


For more read:

Karameikos - The Cemetery, Attic Gravestone and Stele with Relief

Yoga in Prehistoric Times

Mudra - A Gesture of Life Within, Yoga in Your Hands, and Meditation  

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Comments (10)

wonderful, thank you, tweeted

Thanks Carol. Thanks a lot Londis for the continued support.

I had heard of these pyramids before but didn't know much about them until reading this article. Beautifully illustrated too.

fine article on a rare architecture of ancient Egypt.

I love the line "Ancient graffiti"

Thanks everyone fro the comments, views and votes.

Marvellous structures, both of them.

Thanks Rana.


Thanks Lady Sam.