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Pyramids of Snefru

Pharaoh Snofru is regarded as the greatest builder in Egyptian history. And despite the conviction that pyramid at Maidum was erected by pharaoh Huni, the father of Snofru, it still remains certain that it was completed by Snofru. Two pyramids at Dahshur, being with no doubt Snofru’s performance, consist together of number of stones which by far exceeds that of the Great Pyramid at Giza.

Pyramid at Meidum



originally height:   92 m
base length:   c.144 m
slope:   51o 50' 35"
length of corridor:   57 m
burial chamber:   5.9 x 2.65 m (height: 5.05 m)
height of vertical shaft:   6.5 m
descending passage:  lenght: 58 m ; wide: 85 cm ; height: 1.65 m)
perimeter wall:   236 x 218 m
eastern chapel
:   9.18 x 9 m (height: 2.7 m)


The construction initiated by a last ruler of the Dynasty III, pharaoh Huni, and finished by his son and successor – Snefru. Its eight-stepped core, sometimes thought to be a primary construction, was built of carved stones then encased in sloping walls. They had been filled in with limestone blocks so that the building turned into the first regular pyramid. It was finally covered with marvelous facing of polished white limestone. Today’s ruined appearance results from stripping, yet in ancient times, both of the outer coating and of blocks filling up gaps between steps. The burial chamber with its walls lined in white limestone tiles possessed a corbelled roof, composed of seven steps. It was for the first time in Egyptian stone architecture that the corbelled roof had been applied. Recent “endoscopic” research revealed presence of remains of a corridor just above the still existing one, which leads to two identical small chambers. The chambers were probably intended for reducing stresses produced by walls and protecting the horizontal passage beneath.



Bent Pyramid at Dahshur

Snefru Shines - South

Snefru started building of his pyramid soon after moved his residence and necropolis from Maidum to Dahshur, between 12 and 15 regnal years. During building works, due to increasing mass of the structure, the ground had moved causing subsequently destruction of the chambers’ system. As the ground sunk the pyramid’s angle had to be reduced at the height of 49,1 m (from 55 o to 44,3 o) resulting in its characteristic bent shape. Hence its recent name - Rhomboidal or Bent, Blunt Pyramid. The pyramid has a double system of chambers. The lower one is accessible through a corridor leading down from northern side (B) until about 22,5 m under the ground level. It consists of a shaft-like antechamber, 12,6 m high and a chamber 17,2 m high with corbelled roof and 15,3 m high chimney.
The upper chamber (8 x 5.3 m, 16.5 m high, corbel-roofed) accessible via corridor running from west face (A) is 87,7 m long and trap doors. Later additionally a 18,8 m long corridor was cut to connect a passage leading to upper chamber with a vault of the lower one. The upper chamber had been walled up due to building destructions which appeared during the works (according to T. Schneider).


originally height:   105 m
actual heig
ht:   101.15 m
base length
:   188 m
slope of the walls up to 49,07 m
:   54o 27' 44''
slope of the walls above 49 m
:   43o 22'

length of western passage:   65 m
upper burial chamber:   7.97 x 5.26 m (height: 16.5 m)
length of northern passage:   74 m
lower burial chamber:   6.3 x4.96 m (height: 17 m)
height of antechamber:   12.6 m


subsidiary pyramid

Red Pyramid at Dahshur

Dd-snfrw (Enduring like Snefru)

A pyramid where the ruler was buried had been presumably erected of local red sandstone. The building works were started in the year 29 of the rule of Snefru. From an entrance at the height of 28 m on the north side descends a 62.6 m long corridor, which next runs 7.4 m horizontally and enters two consecutive vestibule (both of dimensions 3.7 x 8.4 m at the bottom, 12.3 m high, corbelled roof). At a height of 8 m in the second one was found enter to the funerary chamber with corbelled roof. Of the largely robbed equipment (traces of a fire) only scant reminders of the mummy of Snefru were found (according to t. Schneider).

Red Pyramid

fragment of corbel-vaulted ceiling of the main burial chamber 

descending corridor 

base lenght:   220 m
slope:   43o 22'
originally height:   105 m
burial chamber:   4.18 x 8.55 m (height: 14.67 m)

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