Pyramid of Sahure, Abusir
The northernmost monument in the group of Abusir is the Pyramid of Sahure. As the earliest of the three kings, Sahure selected the best site for his pyramid, a low lying area within convenient reach of the north Nile Valley. The vertical height of the pyramid was originally 228ft/69.4m (now 115ft/35m), the length of the base 257ft/78.3m (now 216ft/65.8m), the angle of incline 51° 42' 35". It was originally faced with smooth marble slabs and probably had a cap (pyramidion) of red Aswan granite with the King's cartouche. From the north side of the pyramid a passage walled and paved with granite led down to the tomb chamber (now destroyed) containing the royal sarcophagus.
On the east side of the Pyramid of Sahure are the extensive remains of the mortuary temple, laid out on a clearly articulated axial plan, which was connected with the valley temple by a gently sloping causeway 245yd/225m long, once richly decorated with reliefs.Under the New Kingdom Sahure's Mortuary Temple gained increased importance through the introduction of the cult of the goddess Sakhmet, who was probably worshiped here into Ptolemaic times. During the Roman period the temple fell into disuse and was systematically demolished by stone robbers. In Early Christian times a modest Coptic church was built in the colonnaded court, but this, too, has now disappeared.
Mortuary Temple Colonnaded Court
A narrow rectangular vestibule on the east side of the temple gives access to a large colonnaded court (80ft/24m by 55ft/17 m) which is the central feature of the plan. Fragments of the 16 granite palm columns (six along the sides and four along the ends) which once supported the roof of the colonnade around the walls of the court are scattered about. The columns bore the names and titles of the King and dedicatory inscriptions, while the walls were decorated with reliefs depicting important and glorious events in his reign. The basalt paving of the court is well preserved. At the rear end of the court stood the altar of light colored alabaster, decorated with incised representations of religious themes. Around the outside of the court ran a passage, also richly decorated with reliefs. In the southern part of this there is a well preserved scene depicting the King hunting hoofed game; in the northern part he is shown hunting wildfowl and hippopotamuses in a papyrus marsh.
Mortuary Temple - Transverse Chamber
From the court a narrow passage runs west into a transverse chamber, beyond which, on a slightly higher level, is a small room with five niches in its rear wall which originally contained statues of the King in his five divine qualities.
Mortuary Temple Sanctuary
From the transverse chamber a side door on the left led through narrow passages to the innermost sanctuary at the foot of the pyramid, with the large false door which symbolized the entrance to the Realm of the Dead. To north and south of the sanctuary are a series of two storied store rooms and treasuries for the provisions and equipment which the King would require in his afterlife.
Pyramid of the Queen
At the southeast corner of the mortuary temple, in a separate court but still within the precinct wall of the temple, was the small Pyramid of the Queen.