5 Facts About the Pyramids of Egypt

The pyramids of Egypt facts

Unveiling the Mysteries: Fascinating Facts About the Pyramids of Egypt

Undoubtedly, the most iconic symbol of Egypt throughout history is the pyramid. The pyramid-shaped stone structures are symbolic and important in Egyptian culture, and today they are among the top attractions in the entire country. Currently, historians have identified more than 100 pyramids across Egypt, most of which date back to the Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom era of Egyptian history.

The largest and most famous Egyptian pyramids are found in Giza, which is located just outside the Egyptian capital Cairo. However, the Giza plateau is not the only place where you can see historic pyramids. These ancient structures can be found all over Egypt, and many visitors aim to see as many as possible during their stay.

Besides the widely known Sphinx and Pyramid of Cheops, which most tourists will photograph during their visit to Egypt, take a closer look at some of the lesser-known, but no less impressive, pyramids in the country.

The Pyramid of Cheops

Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pyramid of Cheops is the only one that remains. The Pyramid of Cheops is also the largest pyramid in Egypt, located in the center of the city of Giza. The structure goes by many names, including the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Pyramid of Cheops. Historians believe that the Pyramid of Cheops was built in 2560 BC and took between 10 to 20 years to build.

The pyramid is so named because it is believed to be the tomb of Khufu, king of Egypt from the Fourth Dynasty. Khufu’s minister Hemionu was the architect of the amazing pyramid structure. The construction involved more than two million blocks that had to be transported from local quarries, and the raw materials used included limestone, granite, and mortar. Today, the Pyramid of Cheops is 139 meters high, but erosion means it may be shorter today than it was at the time of construction.

If you visit the Cheops Pyramid, you can enter the structure, although there are only 300 tickets sold daily to visitors. If you are lucky enough to get a ticket, you will enter about 15 meters above ground, across the north face.

Pyramid of Khafre

The Pyramid of Khafre is adjacent to the Pyramid of Khafre. Although Khafre’s pyramid is somewhat smaller, it is often considered the sister structure to Khufu. Constructed in 2570 BC, just one decade after Khufu, Khafre’s pyramid also belongs to the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt. However, Khafre’s pyramid was designed to be the final resting place of Pharaoh Khafre, who is also referred to in history books as Khafre.

Although the Pyramid of Khafre is technically smaller than the Pyramid of Cheops, it appears larger at first glance. This is because Khafre sits on a rocky base, giving it a significant height advantage, and because it has steeper sides, giving it a more pointed top. The construction of Khafre’s pyramid demonstrates the incredible engineering and design capabilities of the ancient Egyptians, especially when it comes to choosing limestone blocks that ensure structural integrity. At the base of Khafre’s pyramid, the stones are larger, but their size decreases as the pyramid reaches its point. However, a notable issue with the construction of Khafre’s pyramid is that the four corners are not perfectly aligned, meaning that the top is slightly skewed instead of pointing straight up to the sky.

Unlike most pyramids, Khafre’s pyramid has two separate entrances. Inside the pyramid, there are multiple rooms open to the public for you to explore. You’ll want to check out the burial chamber, which features large limestone beams across the ceiling. There are also sunken sections in the floor of some of the rooms, which is where the sarcophagus may have been placed.

Red Pyramid

The Red Pyramid, also known as the North Pyramid, is located in Dahshur. Its name comes from the red limestone used in its construction. After the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Giza, the Red Pyramid has the largest base of any pyramid in Egypt. However, with its sides sloping at 43 degrees, it is much shorter with a height of 104 meters. Today it is the third largest and fourth highest pyramid in Egypt. Although it is no longer the largest, it was the first real, successful, smooth-sided pyramid built in Egypt and was the beginning of the Pyramids of Giza that many are familiar with.

The Red Pyramid is the second (or possibly third) pyramid built by Pharaoh Sneferu (2575-2551 BC) and most likely began construction between the 22nd and 29th year of his reign. According to various inscriptions found on some of the stone blocks, it took about 17 years to build. It is 105 meters high and has three chambers.

Like most Egyptian pyramids, the entrance is located on the north-facing side. This gives access to a 60-meter-long corridor. At the bottom of this corridor is a short passage that leads to the first chamber. This chamber is about 12 meters high.

At the southern end of the first chamber is another short corridor leading to the second chamber, which is about the same size as the first. Unlike most pyramid chambers, this chamber is located directly below the top of the Red Pyramid. These first two chambers are at ground level.

At the south end of this second room an opening has been made in the wall. A newly constructed wooden staircase leads to the final room. This room is higher than the first two chambers and is incorporated into the construction itself. It is about 15 meters high and is believed to be the burial chamber. It is believed that Pharaoh Sneferu’s son, Pharaoh Khufu, buried his father here. However, no remains have been found.

Bent Pyramid

At the heart of Dahshur is Bent Pyramid, built around 2600 BC during the reign of Pharaoh Sneferu of the Old Kingdom. The Bent Pyramid got its name thanks to its construction. The base of the structure rises from the desert floor at an angle of 54 degrees, while the angle of the upper section is closer to 43 degrees. As a result, the pyramid looks almost curved, or tilted to one side. The official name of the pyramid is the Pyramid of Sneferu, or the Southern Shining Pyramid.

There are many theories regarding the curved nature of the pyramid, but few historians believe that this was actually a mistake. Instead, the change in angle may have been due to the pharaoh’s declining health, which necessitated completing the pyramid in less time, or it may have been a precautionary measure to stop the impending collapse caused by the sharp angle of the original construction. It may also have been a result of the collapse of the nearby Pyramid of Meidum, which fell in large part due to its unprecedentedly steep angle.

The Bent Pyramid was the first true smooth-sided pyramid in Egypt. Although the Pyramid of Meidum was built earlier and had smooth sides, it was first built as a stepped pyramid and then the smooth sides were added after the initial construction phase. The curved pyramid is also unique because its outer shape has been well preserved.

The polished limestone exterior is largely intact, which is rare when considering the age of the structure. If you choose to visit the Bent Pyramid, you’ll be happy to spot a few crowds, but you’ll need to schedule a visit in advance in order to get a peek at the interior of the pyramid itself.

Djoser Step Pyramid in Saqqara

Just 25 kilometers south of Cairo is an area called Saqqara, which contains a pyramid field filled with some of the oldest pyramids in Egyptian history. One of the most important is the Step Pyramid of Djoser, which is widely believed to be the oldest cut stone structure in the world, making it an important landmark for Egyptologists, archaeologists, and architects alike. The Step Pyramid of Djoser was built in the Third Dynasty by Imhotep, Pharaoh Djoser’s minister, and was completed around the 27th century BC.

Djoser’s pyramid certainly looks different when compared to the typical image of an Egyptian pyramid. This is because instead of smooth sides, Djoser is a stepped pyramid. Each level, or terrace, is built above the next. Technically, the design is one of six mastabas stacked on top of each other, each mastaba smaller than the last.

Djoser’s entire complex was surrounded by a limestone wall, and there were 14 doors built into the walls. However, there was only one entrance, and the remaining doors may have been aesthetic or just a trick for passersby to prevent unwanted entry. Other significant features of Djoser include a large moat surrounding the complex and ornate stone columns in the roofed colonnade, which were carved to resemble bundles of reeds.


Archaeologists have currently identified a total of 118 pyramids in Egypt, most of which are relatively small, and some are poorly constructed, which collapsed and turned into a pile of rubble. In 2008 AD, the ruins of a pyramid emerged from the sand dunes near Saqqara, so it is believed that other pyramids may exist, but have not yet been found.

The warmth of its people, the beauty of its landscapes, and the grandeur of its monuments make holidays in Egypt one of the favorite options for tourists.
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