The Bent Pyramid




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Dahshur Pyramid of Snefru {The Bent Pyramid}

The Construction

Pyramid construction evolved over the years in Ancient Egypt. The first was a series of monuments dedicated to the Fourth Dynasty’s founding pharaoh, Snefru. His son was the great Khufu, who is responsible for building the Great Pyramid in Giza. This pyramid is the last ancient wonder left standing in this world.

Snefru likely became interested in constructing pyramids after trying to build a monument at Meidum to honour his beloved father, Huni. However, evidence shows that Snefru probably stopped construction on this monument and then moved his workers to Dahshur instead. In Dahshur, he ordered his workers to construct a new pyramid there. The name he gave to the pyramid was “Snefru shines in the south.” Today, this pyramid is better known as the “Bent Pyramid.” It was given this name due to its unusual bent shape. You can find the Bent Pyramid on the plateau of the desert about 3 kilometres west of Dahshur.

An Ambitious King

Snefru came up with a lot of big ideas and dreams for what his second pyramid would look like. His main goal was to construct the biggest Egyptian pyramid ever made. The dimensions of the structure included a base length of roughly 189 meters and a height of 105 meters. These plans could not be fulfilled, though, because the architects determined that the pyramid had very steep slopes. This forced them to reduce the inclination of the slopes about halfway up the pyramid. As a result, the pyramid’s height was reduced in the process. The stone volume near the top needed to be reduced too. Since there had never been any kind of pyramid like this built before, the architects were basically learning themselves on the job.

Change Of Plan

A lot of theories have been made throughout the years about why the original plans for the pyramid were altered. For instance, one theory suggests the weight of the stones on top was reduced because there was an unstable foundation under the pyramid. This would have increased the risk of the internal chambers crumpling or collapsing. The only way to prevent this would have been to reduce the stone volume near the top. Another theory suggests that some political or religious reason was behind the angle alteration, forming the unusual bend shape.

What is truly fascinating about the Bent Pyramid is that it has 2 entrances to get inside. There is the northern entrance which is 12 meters higher than the ground and the western entrance which is 30 meters higher than the base. Some believe this is evidence that part of the pyramid collapsed. Perhaps the architects blocked up one passage because they found it to be unsafe to use.

On the southern side of the Bent Pyramid, there was a smaller cult pyramid which had enormous enclosure walls made of yellow limestone. There was a tiny cult chapel inside the satellite pyramid which consisted of 2 stelae. Each of the stelae bore the titles and names of various Egyptian pharaohs.

Between the enclosure’s northeast corner to the rectangularly shaped limestone valley temple, there is a limestone causeway that openly goes in a northeast direction. It was not placed in the valley of the Nile, though.

In the area between a huge mudbrick wall and the valley temple lied the mortuary priests’ homes. This proves that the mortuary cult did not end with Snefru, but rather continued further into the age of the Middle Kingdom.