The Red Pyramid
in Dahshur (which forms the southernmost area of the Memphis Necropolis
and contains a number of pyramid complexes and monuments), is the
The Red Pyramid was the last pyramid built by the pharoah Sneferu,
the first ruler of the 4th Dynasty, who ruled from 2613 - 2589 BC.
He previous attempt was the Bent
Pyramid, also at Dahshur.
The Red Pyramid was the first successful attempt at a 'true' pyramid.
It gets it's name from the the reddish sandstone blocks used in
it's construction. The ancient Egyptians called it the Shining pyramid
due to the limestone casing which would have hidden the red blocks.
Those casing stones have long since vanished, hence the name we
now use - The Red Pyramid.
The Red Pyramid at Dashur has the second largest base of any pyramid
in Egypt. The total area of the structure is only slightly less
than the Great Pyramid, but as the angle of inclination of its sides
is much shallower (43 degrees 22''), it only reaches a height of
341 feet (104m). Nevertheless, it is the fourth highest pyramid
ever built in Egypt, with almost 160 layers of stone.
Inscriptions on the stones of the pyramid indicate that the structure
took around seventeen years to complete, with around 30 percent
being finished within the first four years.
East of the pyramid is what remains of a mortuary temple, as well
as the first capstone (Pyramidion) ever found belonging to an Old
Kingdom Pyramid. It was recovered in fragments and reconstructed.
The mortuary temple itself, though nothing much remains, is significant
because Snefru pioneered the east west alignment of Egyptian temples
to match the path of the sun.
It is almost certain that Sneferu was buried in the Red Pyramid
although the fragments of human remains found inside the burial
chamber are not certain to have been his.