Located about ten kilometers to the south of the necropolis of Saqqara, the necropolis of Dahshur is interesting because it has two of the three pyramids that make the transition between the first pyramids, the stepped ones, and the smooth-faced pyramids, a masterpiece of ancient Egyptian architecture. But that's not all, Dahshur also has three late-century pyramids, built during the twelfth dynasty, while the others were during the third dynasty.
To visit Dahshur, just pay an entrance fee and afterwards you can move freely inside and see all that is authorized to you, that is to say that there is no of supplement to enter a pyramid. The site is quite simple, there is no museum, there are only the ancient buildings and the inevitable tourist buildings specific to mass tourism. You can go camel riding, drink and eat, rent a taxi, etc.
Getting there / Getting around
To get there there is not much solution. You have to go by car, and it is the taxi that is most appropriate. It is even more important to come by taxi that the site is so big that it is visited by vehicle, it can not be visited on foot, like Giza. You absolutely need a car to go from one pyramid to another. For example the rhomboidal pyramid separated from 3Kms of the red pyramid ... On foot, it would be simply impossible, with the heat ...
So to go there or visit the site, take a taxi. We must negotiate the price before the service to know in advance how much it will cost and the stops that will be necessary. Remember that each exit of the program that you fixed at the beginning with your driver will be charged to you in addition, and expensive, so you have every interest to well agree before leaving on what you want to see and what that you will pay.
The site of Dahshur is the cheapest of the three great necropolis of Cairo, it is at 40 Egyptian pounds. There are no additional costs for entering the pyramids, as these are not visitable.
- The following rates are from 2018
- They are in Egyptian Pounds (LE)
- There is a student fee
Visiting times of Giza and Saqqara are very simple: From 8am to 4pm, every day. There are two exceptions to these schedules:
- During Ramadan the site closes at 15h
- During the summer, the sites close at 17h, except for the Giza necropolis, which still closes at 16h, even in the summer.
Do not ask for the closing time during Ramadan in summer ... We do not know!
To see in Dashour
The necropolis of Dahshur is interesting for two distinct reasons. Visit the pyramid rhomboid and the red pyramid to see the evolution of the ancient pyramids on the one hand, and see the late pyramids on the other.
The rhomboidal pyramid
The rhomboid pyramid is this curious pyramid with two slopes. She does not visit, alas, all you could do is turn around admiring her. But it's already very good as its state of conservation is good.
This pyramid was built during the Third Dynasty by Pharaoh Snefru, father of Khufu. It seems - without being sure - that this pharaoh tried to make a pyramid with a smooth face but its base being too wide compared to the inclination of the sides, after a certain height the pyramid threatened to s' collapse on itself, suddenly he was forced to change the slope to reduce the mass of limestone of the upper part. What is interesting also on this pyramid is its coating. Remember the rest of Khafra pyramid, at the very top? Well, the smooth-faced pyramids were all entirely covered with fine and white limestone blocks, but this coating has almost always fallen over time. Except on the rhomboid pyramid, whose shape helps to maintain it. It allows us to see what the other pyramids looked like, externally speaking.
The red pyramid
The red pyramid is exceptional, not only is it in a very good state of preservation, but it is also the first smooth-faced pyramid in history! Indeed, after the two previous attempts (the rhomboidal and Meidum), Snefrou had made and succeeded a splendid pyramid with smooth faces, quite flared, and very high, since it measures 99m. And besides, she visits herself.
So you can freely enter this monument. The entrance is 28m high, on the North face. It leads to a long downhill corridor that leads to three funerary chambers. As with all the burial chambers of this period, they are not decorated. The pyramid does not contain a sarcophagus.
A note on the visit to the red pyramid: Its interior is narrow and the ceiling of the corridor is low, so expect to have to go down a long distance. The claustrophobic should avoid it, but that is a valid advice for all the pyramids ...
The three pyramids of the twelfth dynasty
These are pyramids of modest size compared to the other two. There is:
- The Pyramid of Sesostris III
- The pyramid of Amémenhat II, called the "white pyramid"
- The pyramid of Amémenhat III, known as the "black pyramid"
They were built during the Middle Kingdom. Alas, we can not visit them, but we can see them up close. Note that the colors of the pyramids come directly from the difference in color of the limestone rocks that were used to build them.