Pyramid of Hawara

Al Fayoum

About 8km southeast of Medinat Al Fayoum, on the north side of the canal Bahr Yusuf, the canal that connects Al Fayoum to the Nile, stands the dilapidated second pyramid of Amenemhat III, built at a gentler angle than his first one (the towerlike Black Pyramid at Dahshur). Herodotus described this temple (300m by 250m) as a 3000-room labyrinth that surpassed even the Pyramids of Giza. Strabo claimed it had as many rooms as there were provinces.

Although the Pyramid of Hawara was originally covered with white limestone casing, sadly only the mudbrick core remains today, and even the once-famous temple has been quarried. The interior of the pyramid, now closed to visitors, revealed several technical developments: corridors were blocked using a series of huge stone portcullises; the burial chamber is carved from a single piece of quartzite; and the chamber was sealed by an ingenious device using sand to lower the roof block into place.

Microbuses between Medinat Al Fayoum and Beni Suef pass through the town of Hawarat Al Makta. From here, it is just a short walk to the pyramid. Alternatively, you can visit in a taxi as part of a circuit.