Bent Pyramid

After Giza and Saqqara, the most historically significant pyramid field in all of Egypt is Dahshur. In the heart of Dahshur is the Bent Pyramid, built in approximately 2600 BC under the reign of Pharaoh Sneferu of the Old Kingdom. The Bent Pyramid is given its name thanks to its construction. The base of the structure rises up from the desert floor at a 54-degree angle, but the angle of the top section is closer to 43 degrees. As a result, the pyramid looks almost bent, or titled over to one side. The formal name of the pyramid is the Pyramid of Sneferu, or the Southern Shining Pyramid.

Bent Pyramid

There are several theories in play regarding the bent nature of the pyramid, but few historians believe that it was actually a mistake. Instead, the change in angle may be attributed to the pharaoh’s failing health, which necessitated completion of the pyramid in less time, or it might be a preventive measure to stop an imminent collapse brought about by the steep angle of the original construction. It may have also been a result of the collapse of the nearby Meidum Pyramid, which fell in large part because of its unprecedented steep angle.

The Bent Pyramid is regarded as the first real smooth-sided pyramid in Egypt. Although the Meidum Pyramid was built earlier and had smooth sides, it was constructed first as a step pyramid and then the smooth sides were added on after the initial building phase. The Bent Pyramid is also unique because its exterior has been preserved so well. The exterior of polished limestone is largely intact, a rarity when considering the age of the structure. If you opt to visit the Bent Pyramid, you’ll be pleased to discover few crowds, but you will need to schedule a visit in advance in order to glimpse into the interior of the pyramid itself.