The Exciting Pyramids of Egypt

By: David H. Urmann

The amazing pyramids in Egypt are considered as the largest and most fascinating structures ever constructed. Most of these pyramids were actually built in the Middle and Old periods of Kingdoms in Egypt.

The amazing pyramids in Egypt are considered as the largest and most fascinating structures ever constructed. They constitute one amongst the most enduring and potent symbols of the ancient civilization of Egypt. Most of these pyramids were actually built in the Middle and Old periods of Kingdoms in Egypt.

Hence, in the year 1842, a certain Karl Richard Lepsius counted and noted down these pyramids. Although he was able to count about 67 pyramids, this list was only limited to the ones discovered and identified before and during his time. More pyramids have been discovered ever since. This is due the fact that during Karl Lepsius' time, there were many small pyramids that were either in a poor preservation state or they would appear like mounds of mere rubble. It is only now that these pyramids were given the time by archaeologists to be studied and identified.

Furthermore, most of these pyramids were grouped in several pyramid fields. This is a list of geographically listed significant sites of pyramids found in the northern portion of Egypt going south:

• Abu Rawash

Abu Rawash is actually the site of the most northerly positioned pyramids in Egypt. This is besides the Lepsius pyramid ruins, which is called the Djedefre Pyramid, found in the northern portion as well. Dejedefre was the successor and son of the renowned Khufu.

Originally, there were reports that this actual pyramid was never completed. It was only through the current research of archaeologists that shed light to this notion. Aside from being completed, this was also similar to the Menkaure Pyramid's size, listing it amongst more than half dozen largest-regarded pyramids found only in Egypt.

Since its location is just facing major crossroads, stone has become an effortless source. With quarrying, which actually began during the Roman times, only small amounts of stone were left on the hillocks forming portions of the core of the pyramids. A small satellite pyramid situated in front was actually in a better preservation state.

• Giza

Giza is the site of the Khufu Pyramid, which is also recognized as Egypt's "Pyramid of Cheops" and "Great Pyramid". Other famous pyramids and satellite edifices in this site are:

1. Pyramid of Kephren or Khafre
2. Pyramid of Mykerinus or Menkaure
3. Great Sphinx
4. Queen's pyramids

Among these, merely the Pyramid of Khafre has retained portions of its initial polished casing of limestone, beside its apex. Since it is in a more elevated location, it actually appears larger as compared to the Pyramid of Khufu, which is adjacent to it. Another reason for this would be the inclination of a steeper angle made with its construction. In truth, the Pyramid of Khafre is smaller in volume and height.

The one that is popular with the tourists would be the so-called Giza Necropolis. This pyramid gained its popularity during the Hellenistic times, particularly when "Antipater of Sidon" listed the renowned Great Pyramid as one amongst the regarded Seven Wonders of the World. At current it is the only one amongst the other wonders that still exists.

• Zawyet el-Aryan

This site is actually halfway in between Abu Sir and Giza. You will find 2 unfinished pyramids of the old Kingdom in this site. The northern one is believed to belong to the renowned Pharaoh Nebka. The southern one is believed to be attributed to the regarded Pharaoh Khaba of the 3rd dynasty. The latter pharaoh is also known as "Hudjefa", which is the successor of "Sekhemkhet". Since Khaba only had a 4-year tenure being a pharaoh, it has resulted to his pyramid's premature truncation. At current, it is around 20 meters for its height. If it was completed, it should have reached more than 40 meters.

• Abu Sir

In this site, there are approximately 7 pyramids. In fact, these pyramids served, within the 5th dynasty, as a so-called "main royal necropolis". Thus, the construction quality of this Abu Sir pyramid is believed to be inferior as compared to the ones built and designed during the 4th dynasty. These are noted to be due to either a decrease in Egypt's vibrant economy or a decrease in the "royal power" at that time. They appear smaller as compared to their predecessors. Aside from this, only local low-quality limestones were used.

The 3 major pyramids in this site are:

1. Niuserre (regarded as the "most intact")
2. Sahure
3. Neferirkare Kakai

Moreover, you will also find in this site, the Neferefre Pyramid, which is still incomplete. Amongst all the chief pyramids only the ones in Abu Sir were built and designed as "Step Pyramids". Thus, the largest, which is the Neferirkare Kakai Pyramid, was believed to have been initially built as an above mentioned Step Pyramid but was subsequently transformed to becoming a real pyramid. This was achieved when they placed loose masonry on its steps. Thus, the pyramid has a height of approximately 70 meters.

• Saqqara

In this site, you will find Djozer's Step Pyramid. It is also recognized as the substantial oldest monumental structure of the world that was built out "finished" stone. Other pyramids in this site are as follows:

1. Merykare Pyramid
2. Userkaf Pyramid
3. Teti Pyramid
4. Unas Pyramid (maintains a so-called "pyramid causeway", one amongst Egypt's best preserved structures)

Moreover, the Unas Pyramid was also a good subject as one amongst the earliest recognized restoration attempts. In fact, this was conducted by one of Ramesses II's sons. Furthermore, Saqqara is the location of the Djozer's uncompleted step pyramid's successor, Sekhemkhet, which is also recognized as the "Buried Pyramid". Most archaeologists believe that if this pyramid was completed, it would be larger than the Pyramid of Djozer.

At Saqqara's southern portion, there is a smaller field of pyramids that are generally in a poor preservation state. This would include:

1. Isesi
2. Pepi I
3. Pepi II
4. Ibi
5. Shepseskaf

• Dahshur

This site is considered as the most significant field of pyramids in Egypt, which is situated outside of Saqqara and Giza. Since its location is along a base of the military, this site was inaccessible until the year 1996. Even so, this site remained unknown to those outside regarded archaeological circles.

Its southern most Sneferu pyramid is also recognized as the Pyramid of Bent, which is believed to be either the first or the second pyramid designed and attempted to be built with very smooth sides. With this pyramid, this attempt was somewhat partial but nonetheless successful. In fact, it remains as the only pyramid in Egypt that has retained a vital proportion out of its initial limestone casing. It even serves as the perfect example for the common luminous feature of every pyramid in their initial or original state.

Subsequent to this, the northern pyramid called the Red Pyramid, which is situated near the Sneferu Pyramid, became the first successful smooth-sided pyramid in the world. Amidst it so-called "relative obscurity", it remains as Egypt's 3rd largest pyramid. It follows the Khafre and Khufu Pyramids of Giza. Lastly, another recognized pyramid found in Dahshur is Amenemhet III's Black Pyramid.

• Mazghuna

This site is situated along the southern portion of Dahshur. This part of Egypt was utilized by many kings during the First Intermediate Period. These kings made use of mudbrick in order to have their pyramids constructed. At current, these structures seem unimpressive and obscure.

• Lisht

In this site, 2 major pyramids are situated. This would be the Amenemhat I Pyramid and Senusret I pyramid. Senusret is actually the son of Amenemhat I. Thus, these two large pyramids are surrounded by mere ruins of about 10 smaller subordinate pyramids. One amongst these smaller subsidiary's is the Pyramid of Khaba II, the cousin if Amenemhat.

This site also lies along the vicinity of the Fayyum oasis, which is also midway in between Meidum and Dahshur. Cairo would be approximately 100 klilometers on its southern section. Lastly, the site is believed to have held the Itjtawy City. It is an ancient city that served as Egypt's capital during the Twelfth Dynasty. Up to now, its exact location is unknown.

• Meidum

In this site, you will also find the Pyramid of Sneferu, where in, its core structure still remains. This is even though rubbles from its outer casing that collapsed lie beside it. Thus, the pyramids in this site were constructed during the time of Sneferu. It is also believed that this even started before him, during the reign of his father and Huni, his predecessor. Amidst these speculations, it is not yet proven because his name is not apparent on this actual site. Other archaeologists have also noted that the pyramids in this site may be the initial unsuccessful attempts for creating pyramids that are smooth sided.

Due to antiquity, the pyramids suffered a major collapse. At current, only its inner core remains standing. This is the reason why this pyramid features a tower-like structure that seems a bit odd and unique as compared to other pyramids in Egypt.

• Hawara

This site holds the pyramids that Amenemhet III built during his reign in Egypt's 12th Dynasty. This site is very near Fayyum. It is also noted as a pyramid built in order to actually post-date the "Black Pyramid" he had constructed at Dahshur. This, this pyramid in Hawarra is noted to be the final resting abode of Amenemhet.

• El-Lahun

In this site, you will find Senusret II's pyramid. It is a royal-tomb pyramid situated along the southernmost part of El-Lahun. The ones who built this pyramid reduced the work needed to have this constructed by using a natural 12-meter-high limestone hill as its core and foundation.

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