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Red Pyramid, Dahshur

Photo © Ting Cheng. View all images in our Red Pyramid Photo Gallery.
Photo © Ting Cheng.
Photo © GFDL.
Photo © GFDL.

Also known as the Red Pyramid for its pinkish limestone, the North Pyramid in Dahshur is the third largest pyramid in Egypt and one of the few whose interior is open to visitors.

History

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 other is the Bent Pyramid) and it marks the first successful attempt at building a true smooth-sided pyramid.

What to See

Despite 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 is 105 m 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.

Inside, the North Pyramid contains three chambers with corbeled ceilings and a lot of 19th-century graffiti. The Red Pyramid is one of the few Egyptian pyramids that allows the general public comparatively unregulated interior access.

An entrance high on the north side gives access to a 200 foot (62m) passage that slopes downwards at an angle of around 27°. The passage itself measures about three feet (91cm) in height and four feet (1.23m) in width.

At the bottom of the passage is a short corridor leading to the first chamber, which rises to a height of 40 feet (12.3m). It has an 11-course corbel-vaulted ceiling.

At the southern end of the first chamber another 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. This also features a corbelled ceiling rising to around 15 m (50 feet).

A rare pyramidion or capstone has been uncovered and reconstructed, and is now on display next to the pyramid. Whether it was actually ever used is unclear, as its angle differs from that of the Red Pyramid.

Quick Facts on Red Pyramid

Site Information
Names:North Pyramid; Red Pyramid (North Pyramid); Red Pyramid (North Pyramid), Dahshur
City:Dahshur
Country:Egypt
Categories:Graves and Tombs
Faiths:Ancient Egyptian
Styles:Egyptian
Status:ruins
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Dahshur, Egypt
Coordinates:29.808625° N, 31.205978° E  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of Red Pyramid

Below is a location map and aerial view of Red Pyramid. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.

References

  1. Fodor's Exploring Egypt.
  2. Red Pyramid - Wikipedia (some text used under GFDL)
  3. Inside the Red Pyramid - Guardian's Dahshur

More Information

Article Info

Title:Red Pyramid, Dahshur
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:07/07/2009
Permalink:www.sacred-destinations.com/egypt/dahshur-north-pyramid
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/egypt/dahshur-north-pyramid">Red Pyramid, Dahshur</a>