Already home to the historic Pyramids of Giza, tourists heading to Egypt have another marvel to visit. Recently, the ancient pharaoh’s homelands reopened two of its oldest pyramids to visitors for the first time in more than 50 years. By Bayar Jain
The pyramids of Egypt have been an architectural mystery for centuries. Tourists have flocked to the country trying to decipher the science behind the distinctive structure for decades and now they have something new to ponder about. Two ancient pyramids to the south of capital city Cairo have been reopened for the first time in more than 50 years.
Dating back to approximately 4,600 years along the western bank of river Nile in Cairo, an odd-shaped pyramid houses a recently uncovered sarcophagi and the remains of an ancient wall dating back to the Middle Kingdom. Known as the ‘Bent Kingdom’, this structure represents a turning point in the deserted country’s architectural history. Until recently, this pyramid remained hidden for public viewing. However, thanks to a restoration project, tourists will now be able to get inside the pyramid for the first time after 1965.
It is believed that Sneferu, a 25th Century BC Egyptian pharaoh, commissioned the construction of the Bent Pyramid. During the beginning of the construction, the pyramid was being built at an angle of 54 degrees. However, the workers noticed signs of instability during the construction and decided to alter the angle midway through the project, resulting in a distinctively ‘bent’ pyramid. Later, this bent pyramid started showing wear and tear, so an alternative structure – The Red Pyramid – was built nearby to serve as the royal burial site instead.
In addition to reopening this Bent Pyramid, Egyptian officials have also reopened an adjoining pyramid. Believed to be built for Sneferu’s main wife, Hetepheres, this burial site extends up to 59-feet into the sky.
A 260-foot-long passageway leading to two burial chambers can be found inside the Bent Pyramid. Several stone, clay and wooden sarcophagi, along with good condition mummies can also be found. During the excavation, funerary masks and tools used for cutting stones in the Late Period were also found. According to Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, large blocks of limestone and granite fragments were also dug out. The appearance of these stones indicates the possibility of more ancient graves in the area.
Over the past few years, Egypt has been working hard to increase tourism to the country, especially by promoting their vast archaeological heritage; and the Bent Pyramids seem like a great way to do so!
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