Sunday Special – The Pyramids of Egypt

When the word pyramid is uttered it is safe to say most people associate the word with the Great Pyramids of Giza. And rightly so – they are incredible to see and have survived over several millennia. They, however, are not the only pyramids in the world nor the only ones in Egypt (though they are the only ones I saw). So today we will take a look at some of Egypt’s other pyramids as well. 

Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara, Egypt – Photo credit: 
Charles J Sharp creator QS:P170,Q54800218, Saqqara pyramid ver 2CC BY-SA 3.0

Egypt’s first pyramid is also the world’s first – the Pyramid of Djoser (or Zoser).  Located in Saqqara, which is northwest of Memphis, it served as a large funerary complex or necropolis for the city in ancient times. This first pyramid was built by Imhotep for the Pharoh Djoser as a step pyramid. Construction ran from 2630 -2611 BCE and it was made up of “mastabas”  built one atop another, always smaller that they went up, forming a step-like appearance.

The Bent Pyramid in Dashur, Egypt – Photo is Public Domain –  
Jon Bodsworth, 01 bent red satellite, marked as public domain)

The Pyramids of Dahshur, located 40 km / 25 miles south of Cairo is where you will find a number of pyramids from both the Old and Middle Kingdoms.  Here is where you will find the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid. They are among the oldest in Egypt and were built during the reign of Pharoh Sneferu. Both are examples of moving the pyramid style to smooth sided as opposed to the step style.

The Pyramid at Meidum, Egypt – Photo is public domain: 
Jon Bodsworth, 02 meidum pyramid, marked as public domain

Heading south of Cairo for about 100 km/60 miles you will encounter the archaeological site of what is believed to be the second pyramid built. The Pyramid at Meidum (or Maydum) was possibly built by Huni towards the end of the third dynasty. This pyramid is sometimes referred to as the “collapsed pyramid” due to its state of disrepair. Originally it began as a step pyramid but was later converted to true pyramid.

The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt – Photo taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders The World

Our final pyramids, out of the 118 in Egypt, are the most recognized of all of them – The Pyramids of Giza. Built on the Giza Plateau south of Cairo, the complex is home to the pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure (the last one I have been inside). The largest pyramid was built by Pharaoh Khufu with his son, Pharoh Khafre, building the second one. Although Khafre’s appears taller it is only because it is higher on the plateau. The smallest was built by Pharoh Menkaure.

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