Egypt’s unusual 'bent' pyramid reopens to the public after decades

An Egyptian pyramid famous for its interesting bent shape has reopened to the public for the first time after closing to visitors in 1965. 

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A general view for the newly restored Bent Pyramid of Sneferu. Image by Hassan Mohamed/picture alliance via Getty Images

The bent pyramid of King Sneferu is located in Dahshur, about 30km (20 miles) south of Cairo. Unlike the famous pyramids of Giza, it is famous for the way in which the walls curve. However, when work began around 2600 BC, Sneferu’s architects had intended to build a smooth-sided pyramid. 

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A man brushes off dust from a sarcophagus, part of a new discovery carried out almost 300 meters south of King Amenemhat IIs pyramid at Dahshur necropolis. Image by MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images

They began to build the structure at the steep angle that was used on step pyramids, the precursor to the smooth-side pyramids that are more well-known. However, as it became unstable about halfway up, the angle was reduces and the stones were laid in horizontal layers, giving it its unusual shape. 

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A man walks through a passage in the well-known bent pyramid of King Snefru. Image by MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images

Now, after decades, the interior of the site was reopened by the Egyptian Antiquities Minister, Khaled El-Enany. To mark the occasion,  archaeologists unveiled Saturday several sarcophagi, some of which include well-preserved mummies. 

These discoveries were made during excavation work in the ancient royal necropolis of Dahshur. The region is home to some of the country’s oldest pyramids, including the bent pyramid of King Sneferu, who was the first pharaoh of Egypt's 4th dynasty.