Bent Pyramid, Dahshur, Egypt.

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Cairo Outskirts & the Nile Delta

About 10km south of Saqqara lies this impressive 3.5km-long field of 4th- and 12th-dynasty pyramids. Although there were originally 11 pyramids here, only the two Old Kingdom ones remain intact. Pharaoh Sneferu (2613–2589 BC), father of Khufu, built Egypt’s first true pyramid here, the Red Pyramid, as well as an earlier version, the Bent Pyramid. These two striking pyramids are the same height, and together are also the third-largest pyramids in Egypt after the two largest at Giza.

The pyramids here are just as impressive as their counterparts at Giza, but the site is much more peaceful (no camel touts in sight). Before founding the necropolis at Dahshur, Sneferu also began the Pyramid of Meidum in Al Fayoum. The Red Pyramid can be entered. Tickets are purchased at a small gatehouse on the edge of the site; there are no other facilities.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Cairo Outskirts & the Nile Delta attractions

1. Red Pyramid

0.09 MILES

The world’s oldest true pyramid, the Red Pyramid probably derives its name from the red tones of its weathered limestone, after the better-quality white…

2. Black Pyramid

0.12 MILES

You can only peer at this structure from the parking area by the Bent Pyramid. The oddly shaped, tower-like pyramid was built by Amenemhat III (1855–1808…

3. Bent Pyramid

0.17 MILES

Trying to create a true smooth-sided pyramid, Sneferu’s architects began with the same steep angle and inward-leaning courses of stone they used to create…

4. Mastaba of Al Faraun

3.32 MILES

Also called the Pharaoh's Bench, this unusual funerary complex is the most remote site in South Saqqara. It belongs to the last 4th-dynasty pharaoh, the…

5. South Saqqara

3.38 MILES

South Saqqara is home to several Old Kingdom tombs, pyramids and mounds of rubble, interesting to the more dedicated pyramid fans.

6. Pyramid of Pepi II

3.44 MILES

This pyramid was built by Pepi II (2278–2184 BC) whose 94-year reign at the end of the 6th dynasty was probably the longest in Egyptian history. Despite…

7. Pyramid of Djedkare

4.03 MILES

Known as the ‘Pyramid of the Sentinel’, the 25m-high Djedkare pyramid contains the remains of the last ruler of the 5th dynasty, and can be entered from…

8. Pyramid of Merenre

4.09 MILES

Like the nearby Pyramid of Pepi I, this pyramid is basically a slumping, collapsing pile of rock. Excavations of the pyramid's burial chamber revealed a…