|Why exactly the Broken Pyramid is called the most “correct” in Egypt, although its shape is completely wrong? How to get there? How much does it cost to see inside and outside? What to pay special attention to? Read the answers in this article.
The most unusual large pyramid in Egypt
When tourists first look at the Broken Pyramid, they often do not recognize it as an Egyptian pyramid. After all, it looks very different from the pyramid of Cheops, the pyramid of Khafre and the neighboring Pink Pyramid.
The shape of the Broken Pyramid is not entirely classical, hence its name. The angle of inclination of the edges changes in the middle from 54 ° (classic) to 43 ° (flattened). The broken pyramid is almost completely white, and not sandy, as we are used to.
See the photo next to it, click on the photo to enlarge. In the photo, we have applied the corners to make it clear and understandable.
But in reality! It is the Broken Pyramid that is closest in its appearance to how the Egyptian pyramids looked in antiquity.
In ancient times, all pyramids were faced with white Tours limestone or Aswan red granite. The cladding was smooth and shone in the sun. It’s just that all the pyramids had this facing removed for building materials in the Middle Ages, and maybe even earlier. And the lining of the Broken Pyramid remained almost intact.
There are many mysteries and secrets associated with the Broken Pyramid. And we will tell about all in the course of this article. But for now, let’s start with the technical issues.
Where is it and how to get there
The broken pyramid is located in the royal necropolis of Dakhshur. It is about 40 kilometers south of Giza and Cairo. You need to get to Dakhshur by taxi. Moreover! Taxi must be taken with waiting and return.
Why wait and return? How much does such a trip cost? Which taxi is right for you? Read in our detailed article “Dakhshur”. There is no point in repeating this large block of information in this article.
How much does it cost to see and get inside?
60 Egyptian pounds. The ticket includes a tour of the inside and outside of both large pyramids – Broken and Pink.
There are children’s tickets, and you will also need to buy a special ticket for the car’s arrival. Read in our detailed article “Dakhshur”. There is no point in repeating this large block of information in this article.
Daily. From 8-00 to 17-00.
How much time to plan
View the Broken Pyramid from all sides – about 30 minutes. You will spend about 20 minutes inside. Plan about 4 hours for the whole trip – an hour there, an hour on Pink, an hour on Lomanaya, an hour back. Usually tourists leave at 9-10 in the morning and return at 13-14 for lunch.
Who built and who lay inside
According to the official version, the Broken Pyramid was built by Pharaoh Sneferu – the first pharaoh of the IV dynasty, ruled around 2600 BC, the father of the famous Pharaoh Cheops.
However, this official version has many contradictions. Pharaoh Snefer is credited with building the Broken and neighboring Pink Pyramids, completing the pyramid in Medum and several other large temples. It turns out an astronomical volume of construction. There were definitely not so many people in Egypt then.
Which of the monuments did Sneferu build, and which did not he? It is no longer possible to establish. Perhaps in the future archaeologists will find new written sources, and then we will find out.
Did Pharaoh Sneferu lie inside the Broken Pyramid? Or was he lying inside the neighboring Pink? This is also a big mystery of history.
Usually, the Egyptian pyramids have one entrance, one burial chamber for the pharaoh and one tunnel to this chamber. But the Broken Pyramid has two burial chambers inside, and, accordingly, two tunnels and two entrances.
Nearby, see the diagram (this is not an exact drawing), which clearly shows all the passages and burial chambers. Click on the picture to enlarge.
Why just two? This is a big mystery. There are many versions, but there is virtually no evidence for any of the versions. The first version is that one of the systems was false in order to distract the robbers.
The second version is that it was planned to bury two people inside. Who is the second? It is hard to say. Probably, the pharaoh wanted to “add” his successor here if he did not have time to build his tomb. And by the way, the location of the cameras indirectly confirms this version, since one of the cameras is located above the other.
The third version is that the pharaoh did not like the first burial chamber. However, the version “the pharaoh did not like it” is not credible. Egyptologists are very fond of this phrase in those cases when there is nothing more to say.
And one more amazing feature of the Broken Pyramid. These two burial chambers are connected to each other by a tunnel. But we will talk about this tunnel a little later.
The first entrance (to the upper burial chamber) is located on the western edge of the pyramid. This entrance is closed, and this is for the best, since you would have to climb to a height of about 30 meters, and then climb the tunnel at an angle of 45 degrees. Dubious pleasure.
The second (northern) entrance is open for tourists, which leads to the lower burial chamber.
To get to the northern entrance, you will need to climb a staircase about 15 meters high. How this staircase looks like, look at the photo next to it, click on the photo to enlarge.
At the entrance there are employees on duty who can leave their belongings. But most importantly, do not leave anything of value. They usually ask for a tip and £ 10 will be enough. However, they even ask for a tip without having done anything.
The downward corridor has a height of only 0.9 meters, a width of only 1.2 meters, a length of 80 meters, an angle of inclination of about 30 degrees. How it looks, look at this photo.
If you are short, then there will be no problems in moving along this corridor. But tall people (from 1.8 meters) have a very hard time here. If it is not possible to walk comfortably bent over, then sit down on the “fifth point” and go down while sitting. The last advice personally from the editor-in-chief of our site, he knows from personal experience, he is almost 2 meters tall.
After 80 meters you will find yourself in a small chamber, but this is not a burial chamber, it is, as it were, a “dressing room”. Then a few meters up the stairs and you will already get into the burial chamber. Here, first of all, look up – at the magnificent granite vaults.
Next, you will see a large wooden structure with a staircase inside. This is an ascent to the top. This staircase was built specifically for tourists, when the Broken Pyramid was opened for everyone in 2019. Come up.
Above you will see the entrance to the “robbery passage”. It is this tunnel that connects the two systems of burial chambers. Note that this passage is clearly “makeshift”. It is obvious that this passage was made by the robbers of the pyramids during the First Transitional Period.
Probably, it was difficult for them to break through the slabs at one of the entrances, and they decided to break into the burial chamber inside the pyramid. And this is logical, because it is much easier to punch through limestone inside than granite on the entrance slabs. Passage without branches. Obviously, the robbers had detailed plans for the pyramid, since they managed to get through so accurately.
If it was hard for you to go down the main tunnel, then it will be even harder in the “robbery passage”. This passage is 0.7-0.8 meters high and wide. Here, even people of short stature are forced to move on their haunches. How this passage looks like, look at the photo next to it, click on the photo to enlarge.
The second (upper) burial chamber is located behind the passage.
The way back will be easier and harder at the same time. On the one hand, going up is a little more comfortable than going down, because you have to bend less. But on the other hand, it’s harder to move up.
What to look outside
Enjoy the experience of the grandiose 101 meter high monument.
Pay attention to the external blocks. In many places they are clearly visible. These are large blocks that often visually “go” deep into the masonry. Such blocks are very difficult to remove from the masonry. This is probably the reason why the Broken Pyramid retained its cladding.
These blocks are very clearly visible in the photo next to them, click on the photo to enlarge.
On the western edge, you can try to make out the second entrance. But it will hardly work, the entrance is almost invisible from below.
The edges at the bottom of the building are inclined at an angle of 54 degrees, and at the top – 43 degrees. Obviously, something happened in the middle of the construction process. The architects urgently changed the work plan and reduced the angle of inclination. But what exactly happened?
The most common version says that cracks began to form in the ceiling of the burial chamber. It became clear that the ceiling slabs simply could not withstand the load. The pyramid had to be finished somehow, and the architects chose a compromise option – to complete it, but in a lightweight version.
There are also alternative versions. It is believed that the pharaoh died suddenly, and the tomb was completed in a hurry. A smaller angle was chosen to speed up the work. Another alternative hypothesis states that the builders were intimidated by the collapse of the pyramid in Medum, so the angle was reduced to be on the safe side.
If you ask us, then all these versions seem dubious to us. We feel that the truth will still be revealed to us in the future.
There is an altar on the east side. It is part of the burial complex of the deceased and deified pharaoh. Probably from here to the Temple of the Valley (800 meters to the northeast) there was a covered passage for the priests. But this passage was not preserved, and only this altar remained. In the photo next to it, click to enlarge.
What to see – Satellite Pyramid
Located 50 meters south. That is, on the opposite side of the face through which they entered. This pyramid was once 25 meters high.
The companion pyramid was most likely intended for the “ka” of the pharaoh. Ka is one of the parts of the soul of the deceased that remained on earth. The ancient Egyptians had very complex ideas about the soul. There were several parts of the soul.
This version is indirectly confirmed by the stele that was found here. But this stele is not here now, you can see it in the Cairo Museum. Such evidence is difficult to take seriously, since the stele could have been placed at any time. Pharaoh Thutmose IV put a stele with his name at the paws of the Great Sphinx, but he did not build the Sphinx.
According to another version, the satellite pyramid was intended for one of the relatives of the pharaoh. At first, archaeologists assumed that Sneferu’s wife, Queen Hetepheres, was to be buried inside. But her real tomb was found in Giza, and in this small pyramid there are no traces of a burial at all.
The interior of this pyramid has been preserved, but tourists are not yet allowed inside. They promise that they will open soon. Look forward to.
What to see – Temple of the Valley
This is a temple to serve the cult of the deceased and deified Pharaoh. The temple is located 800 meters northeast of the Broken Pyramid. There is a road leading here, but finding it is problematic. It is not immediately clear that this is generally a road.
There is not much to see in the Temple of the Valley. Only the foundations remained from the buildings. For scientists, historians and archaeologists, it is insanely interesting, but hardly for an ordinary tourist. Is it worth walking 800 meters for the Temple of the Valley? The question is open.
We saw the Broken Pyramid. What’s next?
If you have not yet seen the neighboring Pink, then go to her. Details in our article “The Pink Pyramid”. If you looked both, then back to Cairo or Sakkara, as it is just on the way.
More helpful tips
– It is hot in Dakhshur, and there is almost nowhere to hide from the sun. Don’t forget about sun protection and proper clothing.
– There are no exchangers or ATMs in Dakhshur. Change your money in advance, because you will need to pay for tickets in pounds.
– If you want to save a little on taxi, then take the metro to El Monib station – the terminus in the south on the red line. From here, a taxi will be cheaper.