Everyone knows about the Great Pyramid of Giza, but the “bent pyramid” is one of Egypt’s most unique ancient structures, and now it’s finally reopening to the public. Built in 2600 BC and located in Dashur, about 20 miles south of Cairo, the pyramid of King Neferu isn’t like most of its brethren. The walls don’t slope upward at perfectly straight angles — but curve. And no, it wasn’t intentional. Architects initially intended to build a smooth-sided pyramid, but the structure became unstable about halfway up, forcing architects to reduce the angle and lay stones in horizontal layers to increase stability.
The pyramid was closed to visitors in 1965 for restoration and further exploration. During this time, internal and external stairs were worked on, a lighting network was added, and some of the stonework in the corridors and burial chamber were repaired. Now, it’s finally being reopened by Egyptian Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany.
To celebrate the grand reopening, archeologists are unveiling several sarcophagi, including well-preserved mummies, that were discovered during excavation work in the royal necropolis of Dahshur.
Tourists will now be able to pass through a tunnel, from a raised entrance on the pyramid’s northern side, into two deep chambers. There will also be an additional “side pyramid” open for exploration, which was likely built for Sneferu’s wife. Also open to visitors is the nearby tomb of Sa Eset, who was a supervisor of pyramids in the middle Kingdom, which contains well-preserved hieroglyphic texts.
The Dashur region is the perfect alternative to Giza for travelers interested in seeing pyramids without the crowds.