Egypt Opens Its ‘Bent Pyramid’ For the First Time in More Than 50 Years
by Brigit Katz Smithsonian.com
At the necropolis of Dahshūr, an ancient Egyptian burial site on the west bank of the Nile, stands an odd-looking pyramid dating back some 4,600 years. Known as the “Bent Pyramid” because it boasts a peculiar double slope, the structure represents a pivotal moment in Egypt’s architectural history, when the ancients were transitioning to the straight-sided pyramids that are iconic today.
The Bent Pyramid has not been accessible to the public since 1965, as Live Science’s Laura Geggel reports. During the intervening decades, the 331-foot-tall structure underwent much-needed restoration work; experts fixed up internal and external stairs, added a lighting network and repaired stone work in the corridors and chambers. Thanks to their efforts, tourists can now enter a raised entrance on the newly reopened pyramid’s northern side, climb down an 86-yard tunnel and explore two chambers, according to Reuters’ Aidan Lewis.
Sneferu, a pharaoh who ruled over Egypt in the 25th century B.C., commissioned the pyramid, which was the first to be built at Dahshūr. It appears “bent” because its slope changes at the mid-way point; the lower part of the pyramid was built at an angle of 54 degrees, but the top part clocks in at an angle of 43 degrees.