Pyramids of Dahshur
The Pyramids of Dahshur lie about 1.25mi/2km from the south side of the Saqqara necropolis and the Mastaba el-Faraun. Scattered over an area some 2mi/3km long by 1mi/1.5km across on the edge of the desert are five pyramids and the remains of subsidiary tombs and temples.Two large and prominently situated pyramids built of limestone rear up on the desert plateau at some distance from the Nile Valley, and near the edge of the desert stand two pyramids built of black bricks made from Nile mud (El-Ahram el-Sud, the "Black Pyramids") and a smaller stone-built pyramid with a brick core, now much weathered. The two large stone pyramids are believed to have been built by Snerferu (Snofru; fourth Dynasty), the other three by various kings of the 12th Dynasty (c. 1991-c. 1786).
Useful tips: ACCESS. By road (1.25mi/2km south of Saqqara). Military installations in area: photography and use of binoculars prohibited.
Dahshur - White Pyramid of Amenemhet II
To the southeast of the Red Pyramid and south of the Pyramid of Sesostris is the much ruined White Pyramid of Amenemhet II (12th Dynasty; C. 1929-c. 1895). The outer casing was filled with an unstable core of sand and bricks. The royal sarcophagus was found in the tomb chamber, and the female tombs on the west side of the pyramid contained valuable jewelry, now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Three female mummies were discovered here in 1982.
Dahshur - Valley Temple
The Valley Temple of the Bent Pyramid, the only such temple surviving at Dahshur, is well preserved. Situated, unusually, in the desert some 765yd/700m northeast, it is connected with the pyramid by an open causeway. It has an entrance hall flanked by two smaller chambers on each side, leading into a court lined by double colonnades, on the far side of which are six chapels. The remains of the temple's rich decoration of paintings and reliefs were detached and are now in Cairo. Traces of another causeway running up from the Nile to the temple were also discovered here.
The Bent Pyramid was constructed as a regular shaped pyramid but for unknown reasons the structure has a change of angle half way up.
Dahshur - Northern Stone Pyramid
Southwest of the Black Pyramid stands the imposing bulk of the Northern Stone Pyramid or Red Pyramid, so called from the reddish tint of the horizontally coursed limestone blocks of which it is constructed; it is possible to climb to the top. With a base measurement of 700ft/213m and a height of 332ft/101.15m (angle of incline 43° 40), it is of approximately the same size as the Pyramid of Cheops at Giza. It is thought to have been built by Sneferu, founder of the fourth Dynasty and father of Cheops, who reigned gloriously for 24 years and conducted victorious wars in Libya and Nubia.The Red Pyramid is the oldest royal tomb in pure pyramid form, providing a model followed in later royal burials. From the entrance to the pyramid, at a height of 92ft/28m on the north side, a shaft leads down to three chambers in the heart of the structure, the third of which (30ft/9.30m long, 15ft/4.550m wide, 50ft/15m high) was the tomb chamber, although Sneferu was not in fact buried here.
Dahshur - Northern Brick Pyramid
The Northern Brick Pyramid (Black Pyramid) is believed to be the tomb of Sesostris III (12th Dynasty). Its base length is 344ft/104.9m, its present height only 90ft/27.5m. It originally stood fully 215ft/65m high and was faced with marble slabs, none of which now remain. In the tomb chamber was found the Pharaoh's empty granite sarcophagus. To the north of the pyramid, but still within the enclosure wall which originally surrounded it, were found two underground galleries containing tomb chambers belonging to female members of the royal family, with costly grave furnishings which can now be seen in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
3mi/5km south of the Dahshur necropolis, near the village of Mazghuna, are the remains of two other pyramids, perhaps belonging to Amenemhet IV (12th Dynasty- C. 1798-c. 1790) and Queen Nefrusobek.