About 30km northeast of Medinat Al Fayoum is the ruin of the first true pyramid attempted by the ancient Egyptians. It began as an eight-stepped structure, with the steps later filled in and an outer casing added to form the first pyramid shell. There were design flaws and, sometime after completion (possibly as late as the last few centuries BC), the pyramid’s own weight caused the sides to collapse. Today, only the core stands, though it is still an impressive sight.
Pharaoh Huni (2637–2613 BC) commissioned the pyramid, although it was his son Sneferu who was responsible for the actual building. Sneferu’s architects then went on to build the more successful Bent Pyramid and Red Pyramid at Dahshur.
The guard will unlock the entrance of the pyramid, from where steps lead 75m down to the empty burial chamber. Near the pyramid are the large mastaba tombs of some of Sneferu’s family and officials, including his son Rahotep and wife Nofret.
The pyramid is hard to reach. The best option is to hire a taxi and visit as part of a larger tour.