Red Pyramid

Red Pyramid

After the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza, the Red Pyramid at Dahshur has the largest base (only slightly smaller than Khufu's pyramid, each side measures 722 feet) of any pyramid in Egypt. It is the fourth highest pyramid ever built in Egypt, with almost 160 layers of stone.

The Pyramid was built for king Snefru. The architect who built it, was trying to avoid all the previous mistakes that happened in the other Pyramids, so he followed the same angle from bottom to top – 43 degrees. Therefore The Red pyramid is the first perfect complete Pyramid in the history. It became the “blueprint” for all the pyramids, which appeared during the IV, V, and VI Dynasties.

The Red Pyramid is known as the Northern Pyramid because of its location, and calling it the “Red Pyramid” is related to the very special kind of rosette limestone that the builders had used to build the inner burial chamber. It is 99m in height, and each side of the base is 220m in length.

-The Red pyramid's foundation thus eliminating structural problems of earlier pyramids. Tura limestone was used as casing stone to cover the pyramid. Though some casing still exists, most has been removed. However, about every twentieth casing stone discovered had inscriptions on the back sides. Some were inscribed with the cartouche of Snefru while others had inscriptions in red paint naming the various work crews, such as the "Green Gang" or the "Western Gang". Snefru's cartouche was an important discovery, particularly since there are no identifying inscriptions within the pyramid. As some of the casing was dated, this gives us the clue to how long the Pyramid took to build and also the sequence of work that took place. We know that the pyramid was probably begun between the twenty-second and twenty ninth year of Snefru's reign. Other dates tell us that two years later, six layers of stone had been laid. However, within four years, 30 percent of the pyramid had been completed, and the entire pyramid was finished in about seventeen years.

At the Eastern side of the Red Pyramid, we can find the remains of a mortuary temple and also the first capstone ever found belonging to an Old Kingdom Pyramid. It was recovered in fragments and reconstructed. The mortuary temple is significant because Snefru pioneered the east west alignment of Egyptian temples to match the path of the sun. Like most Egyptian pyramids, the only entrance is in the north side, and leads to a 206 foot passage descends at an angle of 27 degrees to the first chamber. The first chamber has a corbelled ceiling with a height of about 40 feet. In fact, all three chambers in this pyramid have corbelled ceilings, with between eleven and fourteen layers. Even with some two million tones of stone above, this ceiling design is so strong that there are no cracks or structural problems even today.
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