Pyramid of Menkaure

When people speak of the Pyramids of Giza, they are referring primarily to three distinct structures: the Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Khafre and the Pyramid of Menkaure. Of the three, the Pyramid of Menkaure is by far the smallest. However, it has a definite place in the layout of Giza, and it is absolutely worth a visit when you’re in the area.


Photo credit: zolakoma

Built in 2510 BC for the Fourth Dynasty Pharaoh Menkaure, this pyramid stands at a total height of 65 meters (213 feet). This puts the Pyramid of Menkaure at roughly half the height of its neighboring pyramids. The materials used in the construction of the Pyramid of Menkaure were red granite, used in the bottom portion of the pyramid, and limestone, used toward the top. Parts of the granite in the pyramid were left rough, which leads archeologists and historians to believe that the pyramid was unfinished.

If you look at the Pyramid of Menkaure today, you might notice a vertical strip of stones is missing from one side of the structure. Shockingly, that’s a result of serious efforts to tear down the pyramid in the 12th century by Saladin’s son. Thankfully, the process was time consuming and expensive, and eventually the process was abandoned. The missing stones are a reminder of both the durability of the pyramids and how important it is to preserve these kinds of landmarks.

As you enter the Pyramid of Menkaure, you’ll descend stairs to enter a passageway. Then comes the first antechamber, followed by carved reliefs in the walls and an opening into another chamber. As you enter the main series of chambers, you’ll get a unique view of the vaulted apex of the pyramid itself, a stunning sight that you’ll need to see to believe.