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Pyramid Of Niuserre At Abusir

Abusir Pyramid Of Niuserre

The sixth king of the Fifth Dynasty was Niuserre. He chose Abusir as the construction site of his pyramid complex because it was near the pyramid of his father, Neferirkare. Niuserre is believed to have ruled as king for between 10 to 30 years, if not more. His sun temple (Abu Ghurob) contains Heb-sed reliefs which suggest this.

The original construction of the Pyramid of Niuserre was done in 7 steps. Fine white limestone was used to encase the steps. Unfortunately, the steps have deteriorated greatly over the years. They were originally about 51.5 meters in height, with an 80-meter base at the structure’s corners. If you look at the southeast corner, you’ll find casing blocks of the structure that are still intact.

The northern side contains the pyramid’s entrance. The workers originally dug out a trench at the entrance so that the corridor could be accessible from there. It sloped to a vestibule, which had 3 granite portcullis slabs blocking it. A little bit below ground level and the vertical axis of the pyramid lie the burial chamber and antechamber. Thieves stole its stone pieces over the years, so most of these chambers are destroyed.

There were a lot of space restrictions which may have contributed to the irregular placement of the mortuary temple of the king and the limestone pavement around the pyramid. The eastern side contains the mortuary temple. A raised foundation was used for its construction due to the sloping ground there. The false door stela and sanctuary are the only two features to face east, which is supposed to be the tradition.

The offering hall had walls with inscriptions and scenes on them. Painted reliefs containing stars were originally used to decorate its vaulted ceilings. If you go south of the hall, you will find a square-shaped chamber that has only one column in the middle of it. Many mortuary temples used this single-column design after that one was built.

Outside the temple featured a huge open courtyard that included black basalt pavement and 16 granite papyrus columns around it. These columns gave support to the ceiling. The inscription of each column contained the name of the king and the titles of the goddess named Wadjet. The decoration of the ceiling slabs was of a dark blue background with golden stars on it. The side walls were decorated with classic king reliefs as well.

The lengthy entrance hall contained basalt pavement and relief decorations. Both sides had 5 magazines, and there was a staircase to the roof. Archaeologists found some fragments from the mortuary temple’s reliefs, but most of them are lost because of stone robbers who damaged the property.

The northeast corner and the southeast corner of the pyramid feature 2 tall towers; they were advanced structures for the time. This led to the innovative construction of the pylon gateways that were found in most Egyptian temples later on.

During the 1970s, more excavations were done by the Czechs. That was when they discovered a huge granite pyramidion. It had copper sheaths originally, which might mean it was a base platform for an obelisk. Perhaps it was originally in the sun temple of Sahure because of its unique architecture.

Niuserre seized the foundations that were originally made for the valley temple and causeway of Neferirkare. The causeway is 365 meters long and starts at Niuserre’s mortuary temple. It goes southeast but then shifts east toward the foundations of Neferirkare in the lower half area.

Sand almost totally covers the valley temple now. It was positioned near the end of a canal just like many of the other lower temples. This particular canal was called Abusir Lake. The causeway which flows into the valley temple might have possessed king statues because statue fragments have been found there. Some of which were a huge granite lion and an alabaster-based head from the statue of Queen Repetnebu.

Updated on May 3rd 2020