A wonder of the ancient world, the Pyramids of Giza stand tall thousands of years after their construction, a testament to the ingenuity and perseverance of the Ancient Egyptians. Yet, despite their historical significance, many tend to forget that these aren’t the only pyramids in Egypt. In fact, Egypt is home to more than a hundred pyramids, the majority of which are unknown to most people.
Throughout the Old Kingdom, Pharaohs of the Nile were obsessed with the massive construction of pyramids, and although many of the other pyramids pale in comparison to those at the Giza Plateau in terms of size, they are no less interesting or historically valuable.
So without further delay, here are six of the lesser-known pyramids of Egypt.
The famed Pyramid of Djoser is unique in its shape, differing from the well-established blueprint of the structures that came after it. It is indeed one of the earliest examples of large-scale, cut-stone construction composed of several steps or ‘mastabas’.
Prior to the construction of Pyramids, ancient Egyptian burials took place in a mastaba, which was made of mud-brick with tilting sides. Djoser’s Pyramid is composed of six mastabas stacked atop one another. Archaeologists believe that this was the first Pyramid built in Egypt.
Built during the reign of Egypt’s Third Dynasty, Meidum is thought to be the second pyramid to be constructed after Djoser’s step pyramid. This pyramid was the transitioning step between the stacked mastabas to true pyramids such as the ones at the Giza Plateau.
Architects on the project resorted to using a limestone fill to transform Meidum into the 91.65-meter landmark that it once was. However, time has taken its toll on the pyramid as it partially collapsed during ancient times. It now stands at a height of 65.5 meters.
The Bent Pyramid
The Bent Pyramid is one of three built in honor of King Seneferu, the founder of ancient Egypt’s Fourth Dynasty. The 101-meter colossal edifice was closed to the public in 1965 for restoration works after cracks started appearing in the structure. However, in 2019, the Ministry of Antiquities opened it to the public once more.
The Bent Pyramid is named in such a manner because of its tapered upper section. Egyptologists consider it to be one of the first attempts at building a complete pyramid and was crucial in our ancestor’s understanding of how to erect such majestic structures.
Although in ruins, the Pyramid of Sahure is a structure of extreme importance to Egyptologists all over the world. The complex in which it stands is one of the most well-preserved sites in all of Egypt. It has not been changed for a period of 300 years.
Although at this point ancient Egyptians had switched their burial sites to a ‘true’ pyramid blueprint, the Pyramid of Neferirkare was designed as a step or mastaba pyramid. Part of it has collapsed on itself because of a flaw in the limestone filling used by architects at that time.
Pyramid of Unas
Time has reduced the Pyramid of Unas into nothing more than a heap of rocks; however, it has the earliest examples of what is called ‘Pyramid Texts’, the religious spells and inscriptions that were used to guide the Pharaoh on his journey in the afterlife.