The Red Pyramid



The Red Pyramid in Dahshur archaeological site was built for the pharaoh Snefru, father of King Cheops for whom the great pyramid of Giza was built. The Red Pyramid was the first true pyramid. Its base is the second in terms of width among all the pyramids in Egypt. What makes this pyramid particularly interesting, however, is the fact that it is entirely accessible from the inside.


The Red pyramid located in Dahshur one of the least pressurized archeological sites things to do in Cairo gets its common name from the reddish limestone used to build most of its core, but it is also sometimes referred to as the Shining or Northern Pyramid. Learning from prior mistakes, several layers of fine white limestone were used to lay the pyramid's foundation thus eliminating structural problems of earlier pyramids. Tura limestone was used as a casing stone to cover the pyramid.

Perhaps greater importance is the fact that some of the casing was dated. This not only gives us clues to how long the pyramid took to build, but also the sequence of work that took place. From there, we know that the pyramid was probably begun between the 22nd and 29th years of Snefru's reign (who was the father of King Cheops and husband of the great Queen Hetepheres). Other dates tell us that two years later, six layers of stone had been laid. However, within four years, 30 percent of the pyramid had been completed, and the entire pyramid was finished in about seventeen years.

It is noteworthy that the engineers of the Red Pyramid learned from the mistakes of the Bent Pyramid in Dahshur and succeeded in building the first true pyramid in ancient Egypt. There is in its vicinity a temple and a group of tombs.

East of the pyramid is the funerary temple, as well as the first culmination ever found belonging to the ancient state of the pyramid. Like most Egyptian pyramids, the only entrance is on the north side, and it leads to a 206-foot corridor that descends 27 degrees to the first room. The first room has a stepped ceiling of about 40 feet high. In fact, all three rooms of this pyramid have sloping ceilings, with between eleven to fourteen layers. Even with about two million tons of stone above, this roof design is so strong that there are no cracks or structural problems to date.

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