The Pyramids of Dahshour

The Pyramids of Dahshour always evoke in me a great part of the history of ancient Egypt. Although that area is not a major tourist site like the plateau of Giza, it seems to me like a wonderful book which tells us great glorious events of the Ancient Egyptian History.

Dahshour is among the most important cemeteries of the vast necropolis of the great capital Memphis.

It is located about 30 km to the south  of pyramids  of Giza, located to the southern wing of Saqqara. The area contains some pyramids of the IV and the XII dynasties. here there is the pyramid of Amenemhat III called the black pyramid and the pyramid Amenemhat II.

In fact, the great king Snefru ( 2680-2656 B.C) the founder of the IV dynasty was the first  to choose the area to build his royal tomb since it was near to the capital Memphis.

He started with the southern Pyramid,  or what we call today the bent pyramid , at first they did a mistake with this one , the ancient did not realise such mistake but when the height of this building reached about 48 m. according to an angle of 54 degrees approx. they changed the original plan to make it more save and finish it over  by modifying the angle to be just 43 degrees, and that was the reason of the actual strange shape of the Pyramid. So that today it is called the Bent Pyramid, or the “Rhomboid Pyramid”. Analyzing the reason of that change we supposed that the angle of 54 degrees was going to result in a very huge and high pyramid which would be unsafe, especially when some cracks appeared which were filled with Gypsum later.

Any way, the Southern Pyramid of Dahshour was built of local limestone cased with Turah fine limestone. It is about 101 in height while each side of its base is 188,6 in length. The original entrance of the pyramid is on the northern face as usual, but Professor Ahmed Fhakhry during his works in the area in 1951, he discovered another entrance on its western side.

One of the most remarkable features about that pyramid is the existence of Cedar beams which probably had been imported from Lebanon. At the east of the Pyramid is a small Mortuary Temple consisting of a small shrine. Besides, there is a small subsidiary pyramid lies to the south of the pyramid. It was cleared in 1947 by the Egyptologist Abd El- Salam Hussein.

About 2 km away to the north of the Southern Pyramid another Pyramid was built for king Snefru. This time the architect avoided all the other previous mistakes shown in the Bent Pyramid by following the same angle from bottom to top, and the angle was 43 degrees. Actually it was the first success in history of mankind to build a complete pyramid, and that was the example of all the pyramids which appeared during the IV, V, and VI dynasties. This Pyramid is known as ” the Northern Pyramid” according to its location, also it is called the Red Pyramid since the builders used a very especial kind of rosette blocks of limestone to built the inner burial chamber. It is 99 M in height while each side of the base is 220 m. in length.

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