Dahshur is part of The city of Memphis was the first capital of the country since its unification. Founded around 3100 BC, Dahshur is one of the finest sites in ancient Egypt, a unique place and one of the least frequented. You can visit Dahshur in the same visit to Saqqara.

Introduction

Dahsur was the southern part of the cemetery of Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt. The pyramids of the kings of the Old and Middle Kingdom were erected on this hill. 

King Snefru chose the rocky plateau of Dahshur to establish his first pyramid to compete with King Djoser’s pyramid at Saqqara, but failed to complete it. This first attempt became a broken form but he built a complete pyramid a short distance away called the Red Pyramid. Nearby, the pyramids dating from the Middle Kingdom, starting with the pyramid of King Amenemhat II, are in poor condition. The pyramid of King Senwosret III is surrounded by the tombs of the princesses Sit-Hathor and Ment. As for the Black Pyramid of King Amenemhat III, it is also in a poor state of preservation. Despite the erosion of its stones, it still stands a short distance from the pyramid of Sneferu. 

The Egyptian Museum preserves the stone pyramidion, the tip of the pyramid. Other pyramids of the XIII Dynasty were built in Dahshur. The Bent Pyramid is one of the pyramids built by King Sneferu, the first king of the IV dynasty. It was called “bent” because of its broken lines due to a change of angle, an engineering problem in its design. In fact, the construction of the pyramid began with an angle of 55 degrees, but had to be adjusted to 43 degrees due to an overload of stones that caused instability. Despite the adjustments, the king’s designers made a new pyramid a short distance away at Meidum, the Red Pyramid. The first corner of the Bent Pyramid suggests the transitional phase between King Djoser’s step pyramid design at Saqqara and the later smooth-faced pyramids. 

What to see in Dahshur

  • The Bent Pyramid has two entrances, one on the north side, with modern wooden stairs, and the other is at the top of the west side. Each entrance leads to a chamber with a corbelled ceiling, which gives it this gradual effect. The north entrance chamber is below ground level. As for the western entrance chamber, it is built higher up in the body of the Bent Pyramid. The Red Pyramid is the tallest pyramid in Dahshur, and its name “Red” is due to the reddish color of its stones. It used to be not of this color, but of a beautiful pure white from the limestone of Tura, south of today’s Cairo. All the pyramids had a covering of this white limestone that was reused in medieval times. It is the third largest Egyptian pyramid after Khufu and Khafra in Giza. 
  • The Red Pyramid was one of the three pyramids built by King Sneferu after the Bent Pyramid, located one kilometer to the south, and the so-called pyramid of Meidum. This pyramid may have been started in the 13th year of his reign, taking 10 years to build. The visitor can access the pyramid from an entrance on the north side, which leads to a corridor (one meter high and one meter wide). It then descends to another gallery that gives access to a chamber with a corbelled ceiling, similar to an inverted staircase. Another corridor leads to a second chamber located in the center of the pyramid, directly at the western end of that chamber. To the south of this, a corridor leads to a third chamber, which is believed to have been the pyramid’s burial chamber.

How to get to Dahshur

The best way to visit Dahshur is to complement it with an excursion to Saqqara or get there directly by Uber or Taxi hired round trip, (costs approximately 500 pounds) or a hotel tour that includes transfer to and from your hotel in Cairo, with entrance to both enclosures and guided tours. It is located 19 km from the Egyptian capital, so all tours and transportation to Memphis depart from there.

Schedules

Dahshur is open daily from 8 am to 4 pm.

Visit prices

The normal entrance fee for adults is 80 EGP and for accredited students 40 EGP.

Photos of Dashur

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