About 10km south of Saqqara in a quiet bit of desert is Dahshur (adult/student E£25/15; 8am-4pm Oct-Apr, to 5pm May-Sep, to 3pm Ramadan), an impressive 3.5km-long field of 4th- and 12th-dynasty pyramids. Although there were originally 11 pyramids at Dahshur, only the two Old Kingdom ones, the incredibly striking Bent and Red Pyramids, remain intact, as well as three Middle Kingdom pyramid complexes.
Pharaoh Sneferu (2613–2589 BC), father of Khufu and founder of the 4th dynasty, built Egypt’s first true pyramid here, the Red Pyramid, as well as an earlier version, the Bent Pyramid. These two pyramids are the same height, and together are also the third-largest pyramids in Egypt after the two largest at Giza. Before founding the necropolis at Dahshur, Sneferu also began the Pyramid of Meidum.
Although the entire plain was previously an off-limits military zone, part of the complex was opened to tourism in 1996. Today, many cluey travellers are adding Dahshur to their itinerary for three reasons: the pyramids here are just as impressive as their counterparts at Giza, the site is much more peaceful (no camel touts in sight) and the entry fee is significantly cheaper.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009
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