Dakhshur is one of the royal necropolises of ancient Memphis, the capital of Egypt during the era of the Old Kingdom. There are 11 pyramids of the pharaohs from different eras. Two large ones (each with a height of more than 100 meters) have been perfectly preserved, and tourists are allowed to visit them, and you can even get inside. The rest can be viewed from a distance.
As of mid-November 2021, the Dakhshur necropolis is open to tourists. Both the large pyramids Pink and Broken are open to the public. Prices and other information in this article are current for November 2021.
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What is the beauty of Dakhshur
Dakhshur is not at all a “promoted” tourist place, unlike the necropolis of Giza or Sakkara.
There are NO obsessive merchants in Dahshur who offer souvenirs at every turn. There are NO people here who offer camel, carriage and horse rides at every step. There are NO crowds of people here, and you can descend into the pyramids at any moment, that is, you do not need to wait until a group is gathered.
The second big advantage is in price. Entrance to Dahshur costs only 60 Egyptian pounds and this ticket includes a visit to two large pyramids. For comparison, the entrance to the Giza necropolis costs 200 pounds, and the pyramids are paid separately.
But getting to Dakhshur is relatively expensive. Perhaps, let’s talk about the problem of transport first.
Where is it and how to get there
Dakhshur is located 40 kilometers south of Cairo and Giza. You need to get there by taxi. And you need to take a taxi with a return. To understand why exactly with a return, let’s talk about what Dakhshur is.
This is a large stretch of desert. From the entrance (entrance) to the Pink Pyramid 2.5 kilometers. Further from Rozovaya to Lomanaya another 2 kilometers. Accordingly, back to the entrance 4.5 kilometers. Do you want to hike so much in the Egyptian heat? Unlikely.
Therefore, you need to take a taxi with a return. Then a taxi will drive with you to Dakhshur, take you to the Pink Pyramid and wait until you look at it and climb inside. Then he will take you to Lomanaya and also wait. Then he will return back to Cairo.
The price of the trip Cairo-Dahshur-Cairo is from 300 to 500 pounds, as you bargained for.
The price of the trip Cairo-Dahshur-Sakkara-Cairo is from 450 to 700 pounds, as you bargained for.
For the current Egyptian pound exchange rate, see our “Money in Egypt” review or use our Egyptian pound calculator.
In Dahshur, excellent roads have now been paved between the pyramids and convenient parking facilities have been made right next to it. It will be comfortable, don’t worry, and you won’t have to walk a lot.
For a taxi (and any car in general) to enter the territory, you need to pay 5 Egyptian pounds. You will need to buy a special pass at the box office. How this pass looks like, look at the photo next to it, click on the photo to enlarge.
This pass is the same for Dakhshur and Sakkara. That is, if you go to Sakkara after Dakhshur, then you no longer need to pay these 5 pounds a second time.
Where and how to find a taxi for a trip to Dahshur
You don’t need to search for or order a taxi. A regular Cairo white or black and white taxi will do. Read more about all types of taxis in our article “Taxi in Egypt”. Just vote, hail a taxi and say the word “Dahshur”.
Not every driver wants to travel that far and almost all day. Therefore, in theory, the driver can refuse. Then just catch the next one. In reality, you don’t even have to fish. Most likely, the taxi driver will have a brother, matchmaker, friend, son-in-law, or someone else who will go with pleasure. Such an order is “delicious” for taxi drivers, and they will not want to miss it.
There is also no need to explain to the taxi driver that you need to go with a return. They know very well themselves. You don’t even need to know foreign languages. Use the translator on your phone to explain yourself. Or as a last resort, draw a picture on paper to explain that you are traveling with a return. You can (and even better) discuss the price on the calculator screen. And now there is a calculator in any smartphone.
A smartphone translator is now the best way to communicate with Egyptians in Cairo. Usually, they know English at a primitive level. The translator helps a lot. The quality of the translation will be low, but understandable.
The translator application requires mobile internet to work. But with this in Egypt now there are no problems. Read our in-depth review on Internet in Egypt.
Is it possible to take a taxi one way (no waiting)?
Theoretically, you can. But we don’t advise.
Firstly, you have to walk a LOT, and under the scorching Egyptian sun there is little pleasant in this. However, it depends on the weather. Read our in-depth review on “Weather in Egypt by Month”.
Secondly, you need to somehow find a taxi back to Cairo. There are no taxi drivers at the entrance to Dakhshur. The best thing that you can catch here is a scooter-taxi (tuk-tuk), which will take you to the village of Dakhshur, where you can already find a full-fledged taxi. You can try calling Uber, but most likely none of the drivers will respond.
They are. Price – from 20 to 100 dollars per person, depending on the travel program and availability of lunch. Another important point! Entrance tickets are most often NOT included in the price.
The tour can be bought at any tour desk in the city. But this will be a guided tour in English.
In our opinion, the language of communication does not matter. The guide won’t tell you much. Better read this article further. In the second part of the article, we will tell you everything interesting about Dahshur and the pyramids.
What’s the cover charge
A visit to both large pyramids (Pink and Broken) is included in the ticket price. That is, you can climb inside, and you don’t have to pay anything extra. How the tickets look like, see the photo below, click on the photo to enlarge.
Adults – 60 Egyptian pounds.
Students – 30 pounds.
Children are free.
A ticket to enter a car – 5 pounds.
Unfortunately, the price list in Dahshur does not accurately explain the concept of “student”. However, this situation is observed at the box office of all the attractions of Cairo.
We will decipher. Adults are considered persons 12 years of age and older. Students are defined as children between the ages of 6 and 12 (not inclusive). Children under 6 pass free of charge. The editor-in-chief of our website was in Dahshur in October 2021, showing his children the heritage of ancient Egypt. A 7-year-old daughter was admitted at half price as a “student”, and a 3-year-old son was admitted free.
You need to buy tickets for children like this. Go to the checkout, show the children and state the age in English (or point it out with your fingers). The cashier will issue the required ticket. They are unlikely to cheat, in Egypt they love children very much.
From 8-00 to 17-00. Daily.
There is no point in trying to arrive early in the morning, as there are no crowds of tourists in Dakhshur. You can come on weekends and holidays, since even on these days there is no crowds here. But just in case, see the National Holidays Schedule in the Egypt Holidays article.
How much time to plan
If you leave at 9-10 in the morning, you will return back at about 13-14.
If you are going to see Sakkara again, you will be back at about 15-16.
Important! If you want to get inside
The only way to get to the burial chambers is through narrow long corridors. And it’s hard to climb these corridors.
For example, in the Pink Pyramid, this corridor is only 0.9 meters high and 1.2 meters wide. The length of the corridor is about 60 meters, the angle of inclination is about 30 degrees. In Broken lines, the dimensions are about the same. How it looks, look at the photo next to it, click on the photo to enlarge.
Going down is not difficult even for a tall person. In extreme cases, you can go down “on the priest”. But going upstairs is hard, especially if you are overweight or tall. In addition, there is no air circulation in the Pink Pyramid, and it is difficult to breathe inside. In Broken line it is a little easier – there is a small draft.
But there is good news as well. The corridors are wide enough to disperse. You can always sit, relax and gain strength. You will not detain anyone if you stop.
It is better to take a minimum of things inside. Anything extra can be left at the entrance to the staff; they will look after for a modest tip, usually £ 10. However, they ask for a tip anyway. You can not give, it is not necessary.
What to take with you
1. Helmet or helmet.
The passages in the pyramids are very low – below 1 meter in height. Take care of your head, take a helmet. An ordinary construction helmet now costs around 40 EGP. There is little price to pay for keeping your head safe.
There is lighting inside. But half of the bulbs don’t work, and the Egyptians are in no hurry to change them. Grab your flashlight to light the way and watch the magnificent vaults of the burial chambers. What are these vaults, look at the photo below, click on the photo to enlarge.
Some tourists hope to shine the flash of their smartphone. It is a bad idea. It will be possible to illuminate the passage with such a flash, but do not look at the vaults of the burial chambers, as there simply will not be enough brightness. Take full-fledged flashlights.
3. Water and snack.
Take water at the rate of 1-1.5 liters per person. Use plain water, not sweet water. Get some snacks. There will be no fast foods and restaurants in Dahshur and along the way.
4. Clothes that you do not mind.
In narrow tunnels you will always hit something. Clothes will get dirty with a probability of close to 100%. Wear clothes that you will not mind getting dirty and throwing away, if they are not washed off later, frayed or torn.
What else is useful and what is definitely not, read in our detailed review “What to take with you to Egypt.”
What to see – Two Great Pyramids of Sneferu
Sneferu (reigned around 2600 BC) was the first pharaoh of the 4th dynasty. He built two pyramids in Dakhshur at once – Pink and Broken. The reasons for this decision of the pharaoh have not been clarified by historians.
Both are superbly preserved. In both you can go down and see the burial chambers of the pharaoh. Naturally, there are no mummies, sarcophagi or treasures inside. All the great pyramids of the Old Kingdom were plundered during the First Transitional Period.
The pink pyramid is so named because of the shade of the limestone from which it was collected. This shade is difficult to notice, outwardly it differs little from the classical monuments of ancient Egypt.
The pink pyramid is closer to the entrance, and tourists usually see it first. Height – 104 meters (in ancient times it was 109.5 meters). The width at the base is 220 meters. It is the third in size after the pyramid of Cheops and the pyramid of Khafre.
Inside, the Pink Pyramid is very interesting. There are three burial chambers here at once! It is believed that the first two were false and only the third is real, for the burial of the pharaoh. If this is the case, then the trick did not work, since the Pink Pyramid was robbed in ancient times. There is also a second version – that three people were buried here.
Tourists first enter the first burial chamber through a narrow passage. Then, through another short (one block long) passage, they enter the second burial chamber. And then they climb a special ladder to the third burial chamber.
Apart from the excursion inside, there are several places worth seeing outside. Firstly, on one of the edges below, a cladding of white limestone has been preserved. Secondly, next to it there is a “pyramidon” – this is a stone that was once installed on the top.
Read all the details in our big article “The Pink Pyramid”.
The broken pyramid got its name from its design feature. In its lower part, the angle of inclination of the edges is 53 degrees. But at the top, the angle is reduced to 42 degrees. Why is that? What caused the ancient builders to reduce the angle? This is a big mystery.
Height – 101 meters, base width – 190 meters. If the angle of inclination had not been changed during the construction process, then the Broken Pyramid would have turned out to be higher than the Pink one and now it would have been the third highest. But she is only fourth on the list.
Also, the Broken Pyramid is very interesting in that it retained the outer cladding of white Tours limestone. It is by looking at the Broken Pyramid that one can understand how the pyramids looked in antiquity. After all, once they all had such a cladding. But for all pyramids, except for Broken, this facing was removed for construction materials.
Inside, the Broken Pyramid is extremely interesting. Usually, pyramids have one burial chamber and one passageway to this chamber. But in Lomaya there are two burial chambers and two long passages. Why? Mystery. Perhaps one was false. It is possible that two people were buried here.
But the most amazing thing! That there is a passage between these two burial chambers. And this passage was made not by the builders of the pyramid, but by the robbers. The passage is clearly “handicraft”. Apparently, the robbers could not find or could not open the second official entrance. And it was easier for the robbers to cut the passage to rob the second burial chamber.
Until 2019, the Broken Pyramid was closed to tourists. But it is now open. You can climb inside and see the burial chambers and this “predatory passage”.
Read all the details in our big article “Broken Pyramid”.
What to see – Pyramids of the Middle Kingdom
There are 9 small pyramids of the Middle Kingdom era in Dakhshur. All of them are in a deplorable state. The fact is that in the era of the Middle Kingdom, the resources of Egypt were no longer the same, and the pyramids were built from raw bricks. Naturally, all this brick has already fallen apart and continues to fall apart.
However, the burial chambers inside are made of granite, and therefore remained intact. Naturally, the burial chambers are empty, as they were plundered during the Second Transitional Period.
Attention! You can watch these pyramids only from afar. It is forbidden even to come close, and even more so it is forbidden to go down inside. And this is a shame. Here, inside the burial chambers, there are inscriptions, the so-called “songs of the pyramids” or “texts of the pyramids”.
This is the pyramid of Pharaoh Amenemhat III from the XII dynasty of the Middle Kingdom era (about 1830 BC). Once it was 75 meters high and 100 meters at the base. It was once faced with stone (presumably white limestone).
But the cladding was removed on the building materials, and the raw brick collapsed. And now the Black Pyramid looks more like a hill. How it looks now, look at the photo next to it, click on the photo to enlarge.
The pyramidon (the stone at the top) has survived, and now it can be viewed in the Cairo Egyptian Museum.
An interesting fact is that Amenemhat III also built a second pyramid for himself in Fayyum, which is 100 kilometers north of Cairo. Where exactly was Amenemhat III buried? Now it is not exactly established.
Pyramid of Senusert III
This is the pyramid of Pharaoh Senusret III from the XII dynasty of the Middle Kingdom era. He is the father of Pharaoh Amenemhat III, about whom we spoke above.
It is located 1.5 kilometers northeast of Rozovaya. Take a closer look and you will see a small hill in the distance. Its height was once 63 meters. The internal premises have been completely preserved, but they are closed to visitors.
The vicinity of the Senusret III pyramid is the most interesting place in Dakhshur for archaeologists. The site is constantly being excavated by the Egyptian Antiquities Service and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A huge necropolis with dozens of burials was found around. Several small pyramids belonged to the wives of the pharaoh, and in the north there was a large cemetery of his officials. It is here that the precious treasure of Queen Veret was found, which is now exhibited in the Cairo Egyptian Museum.
This is the pyramid of Pharaoh Amenemhat II from the XII dynasty of the era of the Middle Kingdom. He is the great-grandfather of Pharaoh Amenemhat III, about whom we spoke above. It is destroyed even more.
The rest of the pyramids
The rest of the pyramids are in such a state that it is even difficult to say whether they were completed. It is also unclear whether anyone was buried there or not. Probably, at one time they were simply dismantled for building materials.
Important and useful to know
– Remember that climbing pyramids is prohibited by law. Punished with imprisonment from 1 month and / or a fine from 10 to 100 thousand pounds. The punishment was made more severe by the November 2019 amendments to Federal Law 117 (1983). What else tourists should not do, read our review “What is not allowed in Egypt”;
– Exchange dollars and euros for Egyptian pounds while still in Cairo. There are no exchangers or ATMs in Dakhshur. Read our review “Money Exchange in Egypt”;
– You can save a little on a taxi from Cairo to Dahshur if you take the metro on the red line to El Monib station (terminus). For the scheme and prices, see our article “Metro Cairo”;
– From the hotels of the Red Sea resorts to Dakhshur, you need to go through Cairo. How to get to Cairo, read our reviews “From Sharm El Sheikh to Cairo” and “From Hurghada to Cairo”.
And further! Important!
Do not try to take a piece of the pyramid with you. Now, when leaving Egypt, the control is strict, and for flights, it is doubly strict. Customs officers check hand luggage thoroughly. Luggage shines through and stares.
When they find this stone at your place, they can be arrested for damage and an attempt to export the country’s historical heritage. At best, the stone is simply confiscated.
Better not to risk it. Believe me, there are many interesting gifts and souvenirs in Egypt.
We wish you a vivid experience of your trip to Dakhshur.