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1. 800 years of pyramids

2. Ancient temples

3. Ancient tombs

4. Just relaxing

5. Diving and snorkelling

6. The great river

7. Desert and oases

8. Christianity

9. Islamic sights

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Pyramid of Khufu Pyramid of Menkaure Pyramid of Khafre Pyramids at Abu Sir Pyramids and tombs at Saqqara Pyramids at Dahshur Pyramid of Userkaf Pyramid of Teti Pyramids and tombs at Giza Pyramid of Unas Step pyramid of Zoser Unfinished pyramid of Sekhmekhet Pyramid of Pepi 1 Pyramid of Djedkare Pyramid of Merenre Pyramid of Pepi 2 Pyramid of Snefru at Meidum Red Pyramid at Dahshur Bent Pyramid of Snefru Pyramid of Sesostris 3 Pyramid of Amenemhet 3 at Dahshur Pyramid of Redjedef at Abu Ruash Pyramid of Neferirkare Pyramid of Raneferef Pyramid of Sahure Pyramid of Nyuserre Pyramid of Amenemhet 1 Pyramid of Sesostris 1 Pyramid of Amenemhet 3 at Hawara Pyramid of Sesostris 2 Pyramid of Khaba INTRODUCTION
800 years of pyramids

Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara
Pyramid of Snefru at Meidum
Snefru's Bent Pyramid at Dahshur
Snefru's Red Pyramid at Dahshur

Pyramid of Khufu at Giza
Pyramid of Khafre at Giza
Pyramid of Menkaure at Giza
Pyramid of Sahure at Abu Sir

Pyramid of Neferirkare at Abu Sir
Pyramid of Unas at Saqqara
Pyramid of Teti at Saqqara
Pyramid of Pepi 1 at South Saqqara

Pyramid of Pepi 2 at South Saqqara
Pyramid of Seostris 2 at Illahun
Pyramid of Amenemhet 3 at Dahshur

Nobody really knows why they were built. Or why the specific shape was chosen. We don't even know for sure how they were built!
But there are plenty of theories. The pyramids may have been a king's way of impressing the gods, his way of assuring himself a position as close to the divine world of the eternal world cycle. Also, the pyramid was at first though to give ultimate protection for the content of the tomb against grave robbers.
The shape is generally believed to reflect the 4 corners, or directions of the world: Where the sun rises (east), its highest point (south), where it sets (west) and the point where the sun reaches its lowest point (the opposite of south; north). The summit of the pyramid is the unity of the 4 corners.
As for the construction, it is really only the pyramids that are built from huge blocks, that have been entangled in mystery. Many pyramids are built from mud-brick or unimpressively small stones.
Some theories explain the moving of the huge blocks to the assistance of extra-terrestrial powers. But the most popular theories are more sober, explaining that ramps were built to allow large crews of workers to pull the stones from the ground up to their final position.
The true pyramid era lasted much shorter than most people believe. It started with the step pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara (which by definition isn't really a pyramid) around 2650 BCE and it ends around 1800 BCE. Pyramids built after this were mere reproductions and very small in comparison.
Snefru's 3 pyramids represent the best introduction to the challenges that faced the first pyramid builders. His Bent Pyramid is believed to have received its shape after the builders discovered that the walls rose too steep.
The largest pyramids rise higher than 140 metres above ground, but most are (or were, as many have fallen in) around 50 metres high. They all have inner corridors, and had outside temple complexes.
While the pyramid was built as the tomb of the king, it would soon develop into the centre of tombs of the rich. Large and small tombs were built as close to the pyramid as the owner or his family could afford.
Today there are 3 pyramid areas every visitor to Egypt should visit. It is of course Giza (which should be visited last of the 3, as it is the youngest but most impressive) and Saqqara. The third is Dahshur, which is best visited after you have spent a few hours around the complex of Zoser at Saqqara.
Pharaoh Location Height m Condition Ext.
2650 Zoser Saqqara 62 Excellent Yes No
2640 Sekhemkhet Saqqara 7 Poor; unfinished Yes No
2635 Khaba Zawiyet el-Aryan 20 Poor; unfinished Yes No
2610 Snefru (or Huni) Meidum 92 Partially collapsed Yes Yes
2600 Snefru
(Bent Pyramid)
Dahshur 105 Excellent Yes No
2590 Snefru
(Red Pyramid)
Dahshur 101 Excellent Yes Yes
2570 Khufu Giza 146 Excellent Yes Yes
2560 Redjedef Abu Ruash 57 to 67 Collapsed Yes Yes
2530 Khafre Giza 143 Excellent Yes No
2510 Menkaure Giza 65 Excellent Yes Yes
2485 Userkaf Saqqara 49 OK Yes No
2475 Sahure Abu Sir 47 Good No 1) No
2460 Neferirkare Abu Sir 72 Good No 1) No
2445 Raneferef Abu Sir 4 Poor; unfinished No 1) No
2420 Nyuserre Abu Sir 51 Good No 1) No
2400 Djedkare Saqqara (S) 52 Collapsed No 2) No
2350 Unas Saqqara 43 Good Yes No
2330 Teti Saqqara 52 Good Yes Yes
2290 Pepi 1 Saqqara (S) 52 Collapsed No 2) No
2280 Merenre Saqqara (S) 52 Collapsed No 2) Yes
2200 Pepi 2 Saqqara (S) 52 Good No 2) No
c. 2100 Ibi Saqqara (S) 21 Collapsed No 2) No
1960 Amenemhet 1 Lisht 55 Collapsed Yes No
1910 Sesostris 1 Lisht 61 Collapsed Yes No
1870 Sesostris 2 Illahun 48 Collapsed Yes No
1830 Sesostris 3 Dahshur 78 Collapsed Yes No
1790 Amenemhet 3 Hawara 58 Partially collapsed Yes No
1790 Amenemhet 3 Dahshur 78 Collapsed Yes No
1) Entry is possible with bribe to the guards.
2) Entry is possible by crossing the desert from the main parts of Saqqara.

By Tore Kjeilen