Explained: Why a ‘new’ pyramid in Egypt is triggering excitement worldwide
The 101-metre-tall Bent Pyramid was built for the pharaoh Sneferu in ancient Egypt around 4600 years ago. It is considered to be an important milestone in pyramid construction.
The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities recently opened the “Bent” Pyramid to visitors for the first time since 1965. Located 40 km to the south of Cairo in the Dahshur royal necropolis, the pyramid is part of the Memphis Pyramid Fields, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The 101-metre-tall Bent Pyramid was built for the pharaoh Sneferu in ancient Egypt around 4600 years ago. It is considered to be an important milestone in pyramid construction. A satellite pyramid of 18 metres height, presumably built for Sneferu’s consort Hetepheres, has also been opened for the first time since 1956 when it was first excavated.
Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Al Anani said the pyramids were opened after the completion of major development and renovation works.
The Bent is one among the three pyramids built for the pharaoh Sneferu (25th century BCE), the founder of the Fourth Dynasty in ancient Egypt.
While building the pyramid, the first 49 metres were built at a 54-degree angle. However, a fault in its stability caused the pyramid’s angle to shift from 54 degrees to 43, prompting architects to taper the sides towards the top, giving the pyramid its ‘bent’ shape.
Its angular shape distinguishes the Bent Pyramid from other pyramids in the Memphis necropolis.
Visitors can now enter the pyramid by descending from the structure’s northern face through a narrow tunnel of 79 metres length and would be able to see two chambers in the 4 millennia old construction.
The ministry also announced that archaeologists had discovered the remains of a 60-metre-high ancient wall dating to the Middle Kingdom (1938–C. 1630 BCE) while excavating near the Dahshur pyramids.
Mummies, masks, tools and coffins of the Late Period (664–332 BCE) were also discovered during the ongoing excavations.
According to a report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the tourism sector made up nearly 12% of Egypt’s GDP in 2018. The ancient pyramids at Giza and Saqqara are sites of chief interest among foreign visitors.
The tourism sector in Egypt was severely hit after an uprising in 2011 which led to the ouster of autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The promotion of new archaeological sites such as those as Dahshur is part of an effort to recover the lost market.