Pyramid of Meidum

Approximately 100 km (60 miles) south of Cairo is Meidum, a pyramid that stands almost as high as the Pyramid of Menkaurein in Giza. Meidum was constructed during Egypt’s Third Dynasty, which means that it is older than the Pyramids of Giza. Meidum was designed for Huni, the very last of the Third Dynasty pharaohs. You can clearly see that at this stage, construction of pyramids was not yet a science. Instead of smooth sides, Meidum was originally built as a step pyramid, where there were terraces to make construction easier for each level. The outer layer also used sand, rather than stone, which may have led to the pyramid’s collapse over time.

Photo credit: NeferTiyi

Photo credit: NeferTiyi

Today, Meidum has three steps, or levels, that are clearly visible. It does not have a steep apex at the top, which is why many Egyptians call it a el-heram el-kaddaab, or pseudo pyramid. However, the Pyramid of Meidum is still absolutely worth a visit. As you enter, you’ll walk down a passageway which has been structurally supported by wooden beams, and you can enter the unfinished burial chamber. Surrounding the pyramid itself is a collection of mastabas, or tombs, that are made from mud bricks. These smaller tombs resemble the very base of a pyramid, and many of them have tunnels that robbers in centuries past used to steal from the tombs.