When one thinks of pyramids in Egypt, the natural inclination is to think of the renowned pyramids at Giza, which includes the Great Pyramid of Khufu and those of his successors, Khafra and Menkaura. However, there are other places where pyramids are to be found.
In fact, there are numerous sites with pyramids stretching north to south on the west bank of the Nile outside Cairo. I think of this stretch of desert as “Pyramid Row,” and when you’re at one location, some of the pyramids at other sites can be seen in the distance.
As I have written before (here), one such place is Dahshur, located to the south of Giza, where a Fourth Dynasty king named Sneferu – the father of Khufu – had the so-called Bent Pyramid constructed around 2600 BCE. However, that was not the only pyramid that Sneferu had built. In fact, there were three of them.
I will try to write about the first one another time, after I’ve scanned some photos to show, but now I’m presenting some photos of the final pyramid, the so-called Red Pyramid, that was built to the north of the Bent Pyramid at Dahshur. The name of this pyramid comes from the reddish limestone used to build it, though in antiquity this stone would not have been seen, having been covered by a shiny white limestone casing that was removed in more recent years.
However, what it also notable about this structure is the fact that it was the world’s first true smooth and straight sided pyramid, following after the Step Pyramid at Saqqara and the aforementioned Bent Pyramid. It’s also one of the largest pyramids in Egypt, rising 344 feet above the desert, eclipsed in size only by the pyramids of Khufu and Khafra at Giza.
On a more personal note, when I think of the Red Pyramid, I think of a lost opportunity to explore. While I have managed to climb to the center of the Great Pyramid and some other pyramids, I never made it that far into the Red. I did begin to climb down inside its narrow tunnel, but I took some other people’s advice and decided to back down rather than go facing forward, and all I could see was the light from the outside getting smaller and smaller as I backed down, which made me feel like the walls were closing in on me, so I basically froze and decided to end my descent. In other words, I chickened out. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to try again one day – and this time I will try to go down facing forward.