Red Pyramid

The Red Pyramid, also known as the North Pyramid, is found in Dahshur. Its name comes from the red limestone used for its construction. After the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza, the Red Pyramid has the largest base of any pyramid in Egypt. However, with its sides sloping at 43 degrees it is significantly shorter at 104 meters (341 feet).Today it is the third largest and the fourth highest pyramid in Egypt. Although no longer the largest, it was the first successful true, smooth-sided pyramid built in Egypt and it initiated the Giza style pyramids with which many are familiar.

The Red Pyramid was the second (or possible third) pyramid built by Pharaoh Snefru (2575-2551 B.C.) and most likely was begun between the twenty-second and the twenty-ninth year of his reign. According to various inscriptions found on some of the blocks of stone, it took about 17 years to build. It is 105 meters (345 feet) high and contains three chambers.

Red Pyramid

Like most of the Egyptian pyramids, the entrance is on the north-facing side. This gives access to a 60 meter (200-foot) passageway. At the bottom of this passage lies a short corridor that leads to the first chamber. This chamber is about 12 meters (40 feet) high.

At the southern end of the first chamber is another short corridor leading to a second chamber, which is approximately the same size as the first. Unlike most chambers in pyramids, this compartment lies directly under the apex of the Red pyramid. These first two chambers lie at ground level.

At the southern end of this second chamber an opening is cut into the wall. A wooden staircase, a modern construction, leads to the final chamber. This chamber is higher than the first two and is built into the masonry itself. It is about 15 meters (50 feet) high and is believed to be the burial chamber. It is thought that the son of Pharaoh Snefru, Pharaoh Khufu, buried his father here. However, no remains have been found.

A rare pyramidion or capstone, for the pyramid has been uncovered and reconstructed, and is now on display. However, whether it was actually ever used is unclear, as its angle of inclination differs from that of the Red pyramid.

In addition, the remains of a mortuary temple also lie east of the pyramid. This is significant because Snefru was the first to use the east-west alignment of the Egyptian temples to match the path of the sun.

Until recently, it was not possible to travel safely to the Dashur area of Egypt. Because of this, the Red Pyramid lacks the crowds that visit the pyramids at the Giza Plateau. This makes a visit here much more enjoyable. In addition, this pyramid can be entered without limitation, unlike most other sites. Therefore, without the crowds and with the open access, a visit to The Red Pyramid is a unique chance to get an up-close look at one of the famous pyramids of Egypt.