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Dashur - The Red Pyramid
Dashur site has 3 pyramids - The Bent Pyramid, the Black Pyramid and the Red Pyramid.
The Bent Pyramid is different in its structure. It isn’t like the other pyramids that have sharp corners all the way to the peak of the pyramid. The Bent Pyramid slopes differently making it look like a rounded or bent pyramid.
The Black Pyramid is not as well-known as the Bent or Red Pyramids at Dashur, as it has been closed to tourists due to its collapsed condition.
The Red Pyramid
We went to the Red Pyramid (one of the Dashur pyramids) and our tour guide told us - any of you who are planning to climb up Mount Sinai, this is a good practice because if you can't make it up to the top of this pyramid (the entrance is in the middle of the pyramid) then you won't be able to get up Mount Sinai.
The entrance to the Red Pyramid can be found twenty-eight meters up its northern wall; from here a narrow shaft descends for 62m through the body of the pyramid until ground level is reached. Here a horizontal shaft leads into a large chamber with a corbelled roof, just over twelve meters high. A further horizontal tunnel leads into a similar chamber, again with a corbelled roof. The major difference between these two chambers is that in the second chamber the tunnel leading to the next room is not at ground level, but eight meters above the floor. Today visitors can climb a wooden staircase to this short passage; crouching down and passing through they reach the king’s burial chamber. I thought it would be very interesting to see this burial chamber. How disappointing to see a large slab of rock made into a square and nothing else; except the elderly Egyptian man holding a fan.
It smells like musty and bat excrement. It is hot and musty. The climb down is uncomfortable but the climb back up is worse because you are hunched over all the way up the stairs.
- Historical Travel
Dashur and the Red Pyramid/Bent Pyramid
As I said before, it is best to combine a trip to Dashur with Saqqara and perhaps Memphis too, as all are within a short distance of each other.
Dashur costs 30LE per adult to enter as of Nov. 2008 with reductions for students and children. Here you can enter the Red Pyramid at no extra charge and even take photos inside! Note: the passageway is quite steep and narrow, so best to leave bulky backpacks outside with someone if you can - it can also be quite hot and claustrophobic in there!! But for those who want to say that they have been inside a pyramid, it's a must. (You can also venture inside 2 of the Giza pyramids, but there is an extra charge here - Great Pyramid charges are 100LE).
You can also take photos of the Bent Pyramid in the distance from the Red Pyramid, but are not allowed to go up to it, as it lies inside a military zone which is guarded.
Dahsur, Saqqara, Giza Pyramids (1 of 3)
Started early for Dahsur pyramids first (8am). Its a 1-1.5hr drive south from central Cairo along the irrigation channel. During the trip, our driver had to pull over to a village petrol "station" (really not much more than a run down convenient store) and had to refill petrol. It was not until I saw the storekeeper brought out a jar of petrol and started pouring it into the car (via a funnel) that i couldn't stop laughing ! so much for the safety standards in egypt but nevertheless a thrilling experience. Along the way, you would get to see the villages and ruralness of outskirts of egypt which made a huge contrast compared to the city center. We had to drive through a typical agricultural village before we get to the entrance - it is eye opening to see the living conditions of the village. When we got to the entrance, it was a 40LE (GBP4 or USD8) per head to enter the Dahsur site and you should really be travelling in a car in order to get from site to site within Dahsur (remember to bring some smaller change otherwise you may not get any change back!). Once past the entrance and the police check point, the drive to the Red pyramid is 3mins. Fantastic view of desert from here and we climbed the Red Pyramid and descended into the tombs. Watch out as the climb down is about 6 storeys deepin a confined space - not for those who are claustrophobic! Once inside, it was a bit disappointing as the tombs and pictures have all been removed and gone to the museum and what's left is the black stone ceilings. The red pyramid is not as tall as the Giza but certainly much older with fewer tourists around. We came out and drove to the "Tilted" pyramid which was due to the "pharoah's change of mind" in the midst of the angle of construction which caused the odd shape. Looks much grander from afar. You would also see various dunes and half built pyramids across the desert which offered a great photo opportunity. When we left Dahsur, it was around 10.30am.
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Day 1, Dahshur: All the Pyramids: Part 2
10km south of Saqqara in the quiet of the desert is Dahshur. Here you can visit the Red and Bent Pyramid. The reason for coming here is that the pyramids are just as impressive as the Giza, its more peaceful and lacking in hawkers, and the fees are cheaper.
The Bent pyramid is as its name suggests. The builders discovered as they were building that the structure could not support its original 54 degree angle. So in order to finish the pyramid the angle was reduced to 43 degrees.
The Red Pyramid is the world's oldest pyramid. It derives its name from the color of its limestone. What makes this pyramid worth visiting is the burial chamber that is open to the public. The entrance is located 123 steep steps up followed by a 63m - long passage deep into the depths of the pyramid. You'll have to bend down in order to get to the bottom. Once there it opens into a larger chamber with more tunnels and chambers beyond. Here's a chance to be in the depths of a pyramid. Giza offers the same but you'll have to fight the lines.
This place will take a few hours also. When you're done, head to Giza. Keep in mind that Giza closes the ticket office at 5PM so give yourself enough time to get there. You'll need about 2 hours for walking around.
More pyramids that preceded that of Khufu.
The Red Pyramid is the first true pyramid. It appears red from a distance but is actually made from yellow stone.
Inside is a bit tough but according to my son, worth it.
The Bent Pyramid is another of Sneferu's pyramids, like the Red Pyramid. The builders had to alter the slope part way up, thus giving it a bent shape. It also has a fair amount of white outer covering.
Both pyramids, and other collapsed ones, are on a wide open plain.
Getting there takes you past some interesting scenery with sand dunes.
In Dahshur, you can see the second stage of attempts in building a true pyramid - the failed Bent Pyramid, and the first successful pyramid - Red Pyramid.
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