19 Bent Pyramid Facts For Kids Who Love Ancient Egypt | Kidadl


19 Bent Pyramid Facts For Kids Who Love Ancient Egypt

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Pyramids have captivated millions of tourists over centuries.

From the Step Pyramid of Djoser to the Black Pyramid of Dahshur and the satellite pyramid between the Giza pyramids, pyramids come in all interesting shapes and sizes. But the one we will be talking about today is the uniquely designed bent pyramid from Dahshur.

Pyramids have always remained a great reminder of the glorification of the afterlife that ancient Egyptians placed a huge emphasis on. These pyramids were also constructed to house the tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs. The bent pyramid is also a pyramid that is located in Dahshur at the royal necropolis. However, what sets this pyramid apart is its uniquely built structure. With that, let's take a look at the wonderful bent pyramid from the Dahshur necropolis.

Location Of The Bent Pyramid

The bent byramid, like most pyramids, is also located near Cairo. Come, let's explore more about the location of the bent pyramid.

The bent pyramid was built near Saqqara in the Dahshur necropolis. Dahshur is situated on the west bank of the River Nile. It is a royal necropolis located in the desert. The bent pyramid at Dahshur is located about 24.9 mi (40 km) away from the south of Cairo.

Additionally, the site is in the furthest south of the Saqqara Necropolis, which contains the Pyramid of Djoser. Moving further north, we'll find the Giza Necropolis, which is home to two of the biggest pyramids in the world - the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Pyramid of Khafre. 

The History Of The Bent Pyramid

Historical facts related to the bent pyramid are really fascinating. So, read on to learn some mind-blowing facts about this unique pyramid.

Built under the father of the builder of the Great Pyramid of Giza (Khufu), Pharaoh Sneferu, the bent pyramid at Dahshur is another unique ancient Egyptian pyramid that continues to captivate millions of ancient Egypt historians and tourists. The pyramid was built in 2600 BC during the reign of Pharaoh Sneferu, the first king of the Fourth Dynasty of ancient Egypt, and is about 4,600 years old by now!

In ancient Egypt, the Old Kingdom was believed to have existed from 2686 to 2181 BC, an era of the reign of great builders of pyramids, given the fact that the majority of great pyramids we have today belong to this period. The Fourth Dynasty of ancient Egypt began around 2613 and lasted until 2494 BC. This period was also considered the 'Golden Age of the Old Kingdom' in the history of ancient Egypt.

The founder of the bent pyramid also happens to be the first ruler of the Fourth Dynasty of ancient Egypt. The translation of the Pharaoh's name means 'Horus, Lord of Maat, has perfected me', leaving us with an impression that he probably had a boastful nature, which explains his passion for building large structures like the pyramids and the valley temple that he constructed. In fact, it wasn't until much later that his pyramids once stood at the highest levels in the entire history of Egypt. The construction of the bent pyramid was believed to have started during the early years of the Fourth Dynasty of ancient Egypt, and the construction finally ended around 2600 BC.

The pyramids built before the bent pyramid were constructed in a different shape that consisted of steps, like the one in Al Giza Desert, the famous Pyramid of Djoser. These pyramids are said to be one of the first attempts made by the ancient Egyptians to build a smooth-sided pyramid. The smooth sides of the pyramid are considered to be part of the pyramid's design, but what was supposed to be a smooth-sided pyramid, unfortunately, ended up with some engineering issues.

Although we call it by the name 'bent pyramid', the ancient name is nothing like what it sounds like now. Wondering what it could be? The ancient name for the bent pyramid was 'Ḫˁ Snfrw' (Kha Sneferu), which meant 'southern shining pyramid' in ancient Egypt.

The bent pyramid has remained a masterpiece due to its extraordinary shape, but it has also attracted tourists as one of the best-preserved pyramids that have aged well with its original exterior polished limestone casing. This was believed to be the case because the limestones were placede with larger spaces between them. As a result, the stones were loosened because of thermal expansion, which also made them easier to remove, a practice that has been widely used so that the stones could be easily used in other building projects as well.

Along with constructing an amazing pyramid structure like the bent pyramid, Pharaoh Sneferu also built other famous pyramids. However, unlike the other pyramids, the bent pyramid is still as good as new. Even its satellite pyramid couldn't keep up with the graceful aging of the bent pyramid. This fascinating work of art was also the tallest building for at least a good 40 years, until it was overshadowed by the Red Pyramid built under the same Pharaoh.

The Bent Pyramid

The Purpose Of The Bent Pyramid

Do you wonder why exactly the bent pyramid might have been built? Come, let's find out!

Of course, the bent pyramid was also initially meant as a house for the tomb of the Pharaoh. Along with it, Sneferu also built a small satellite pyramid, which is believed to have been constructed to house different parts of the Pharaoh's soul, often referred to as 'Ka' in ancient Egypt. This pyramid was the second pyramid built for Pharaoh Sneferu as a part of his plan to bring an evolutionary change into the world of pyramid architecture by building a smooth-sided pyramid.

The bent pyramid's shape was not initially planned to be 'bent'. The pyramid ran into structural issues, mainly due to the inconsistent sandy base, due to which the engineers feared the collapse of the pyramid, which forced them to lower its slope to 43°22'. This turned the structure in such a way that it seemed 'bent', and was thus named the 'bent pyramid'.

It is believed that the construction of the upper part of the bent pyramid was continued after the completion of the Red Pyramid, which is located just a few miles away from the bent pyramid. And although the bent pyramid was completely constructed and ready to go, Sneferu was buried in the Red Pyramid.

Structural Details Of The Bent Pyramid

The bent pyramid is a spectacular and unique structure that has made a hallmark in the history of architecture. Now, let's find out what makes the bent pyramid so special!

This precious ancient Egyptian pyramid was built using limestone blocks instead of mud brick. The bent pyramid stands at a height of 344 ft (104.71 m; 200 cu); the height above the bend adds up to 189 ft (57.67 m; 110 cu), and beneath is 154 ft (47.04 m; 90 cu). At the base, the bent pyramid measures up to 621 ft (189.43 m; 362 cu), and at the bend, it measures up to 405 ft (123.58 m; 236 cu). Volume-wise, the pyramid adds up to 43,685,655 cu ft (1,237,040 cu m). The slope below the bend is inclined at 54°27′44″, while the slope of the upper part is inclined at 43°22′. Just like its external architectural brilliance, its internal structure too was uniquely constructed. The pyramid had two internal structures with two entrances; one with a northern entrance and the other on the western side of the pyramid.

From the northern entrance, one can descend into an antechamber. The roof of this chamber was constructed with different courses to cope with the downward pressure with each one of these courses projecting more inward than the one beneath. The western entrance led down to a corridor that was probably meant to be blocked by some slabs of the portcullis, and behind these was the second burial chamber which too had a corbeled roof.

The second burial chamber was placed at a higher level than the first burial chamber. Once they were done with the construction of these burial chambers, they connected the first burial chamber with the second one through a passage. Sneferu's choice of two burial chambers in the bent pyramid remains unknown, but this too could have been a part of Pharaoh Sneferu's experiments. About the same time that the slope of the main pyramid was lowered, the construction of a smaller satellite pyramid began to the south.

This satellite pyramid is located just 180.4 ft (55 m) away from the southern part of the bent pyramid and stands at a height of 85.3 ft (26 m) and is 173.2 ft (52.8 m) long, with an inclination of 44°30'. It is a local legend that the bent pyramid was probably inspired by the South Tomb found in the Netjerikhet complex at Saqqara, and was made to be 173.8 ft (53 m) long and 106.6 ft (32.5 m) high.

When we turn our attention to the internal structure of the bent pyramid, you'll find that it is similar to that of the Cheops' Pyramid at Giza, and the Great Pyramid's Grand Gallery being a smaller version of the descending and ascending passages of the bent pyramid. In between the main pyramid and the satellite pyramid, we can also find a small offering area. The west side of the satellite pyramid is adorned with two funerary stelae that bear the titular of Pharaoh Sneferu. When we focus on the east side of the main pyramid, a small offering chapel was found, which also had two funerary stelae, along with a chapel here. Just like the eastern chapel of Meidum's pyramid, it is not big enough to be a mortuary temple.

The main and satellite pyramids were enclosed by a wall and a causeway that connected them to a rectangular structure towards the east, which lay about halfway down to the valley. This rectangular structure had a lot of similarities between the valley temples as well as the mortuary temples. Completely covered with limestone blocks, the causeway was also enclosed with a low limestone wall. Just like a valley temple, it too has a courtyard, pillars, and statues. Although it is constructed at a distance from the pyramid, this too was a common feature of a valley temple. Both bent pyramids, the main and the satellite pyramid, were finally opened up by the government of Egypt in July 2019 for tourists to access.

Another fascinating feature of the bent pyramid includes the fact that the entire surrounding area of this unique pyramid is estimated to have been a man-made landscape. On close inspection, the pyramid can be observed to be located on a raised level, which must have surely been man-made. So, if you are planning to visit the bent pyramid of Dahshur, pay attention! For entrance into the pyramid, visitors need to walk through a tunnel that is about 256 ft (78 m) long ,which will lead you into two chambers inside the pyramid. You will find two entrances in the main pyramid: one located on the northern side, which will take you into the burial chamber that was built below the ground level, and the other entrance is located on the west face of the spectacular bent pyramid.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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