The Bent Pyramid and Red Pyramid

The Bent pyramid and the Red pyramid were built in Dashur by one person, Pharaoh Sneferu.

The Red pyramid is well known for its pinkish limestone; it is the North Pyramid in Dahshur which is the third largest pyramid in Egypt where the interior is open to public. The Red Pyramid was built by Pharaoh Sneferu (2575-2551 BC), father of Khufu. Ancient graffiti indicates it took ten years and seven months to build. The North Pyramid is the second of Sneferu’s two pyramids. The first one is the Bent Pyramid and it marks the first successful attempt at building a true smooth-sided pyramid.

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The Bent Pyramid and Red Pyramid in Dashur

Regardless of its relative obscurity, the Red Pyramid is actually the third largest pyramid in Egypt after the Great Pyramids of Khufu and Khafre at Giza. It has 105 meters high (345 feet) and has an angle of 43°. Significantly, this is the corrected angle used at the earlier Bent Pyramid after the original angle proved too steep.

The interior of the Red Pyramid contains three chambers with corbel ceilings and plenty of 19th-century graffiti. The Red Pyramid is one of the few Egyptian pyramids that grants the general public unregulated interior access.

A high entrance on the north side gives access to a downward slope passageway at an angle of around 27°. The passage itself measures about three feet in height and four feet in width. The bottom of the passage leads to a short corridor leading to the first chamber, which rises to a height of 40 feet. It has an 11-course corbel-vaulted ceiling.

A rare pyramidion or capstone has been uncovered and reconstructed, and is now on display next to the pyramid. Its angle differs from that of the Red Pyramid so the used of the capstone is unclear.

The Bent pyramid dates from about 2600 BC, was the first pyramid built by Pharaoh Sneferu. It was the first pyramid to have been planned as a true pyramid, as opposed to a step pyramid. The ancient formal name of the Bent Pyramid was either “The Southern Shining Pyramid” or “Sneferu’s Shining in the South,” depending on the translation.