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Egypt has reopened two of its oldest pyramids to visitors for the first time in more than 50 years.
Members of the public will now be able to go to the 4,600-year-old Bent Pyramid and its satellite pyramid, in the Dahshur royal necropolis, around 25 miles south of the capital Cairo.
Visitors can clamber down a 79-metre long narrow tunnel from a raised entrance on the larger pyramid’s northern face to reach two chambers deep inside.
The Bent Pyramid, which is 101-metre high, was built for Fourth Dynasty founding pharaoh Sneferu in about 2600 BC.
The structure has an unusual appearance.
The lower half has mostly kept its smooth limestone casing and was built at a steep 54 degree angle, before tapering off in the top section.
The angular shape is different to the straight sides of other similar structures including Sneferu’s Red Pyramid just to the north – the first of ancient Egypt’s fully formed pyramids.
Visitors will also be able to enter an adjoining 18-metre high “side pyramid”, possibly for Sneferu’s wife Hetepheres.
Both are in the Dahshur royal necropolis, which is part of the Memphis Necropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The two pyramids were open for the first time since 1965.
Mohamed Shiha, director of the Dahshur site, said: “Sneferu lived a very long time…the architects wanted to reach the complete shape, the pyramid shape.
“Exactly where he was buried – we are not sure of that. Maybe in this (Bent) pyramid, who knows?”
Antiquities minister Khaled el-Anany announced that Egyptian archaeologists have also uncovered a collection of stone, clay and wooden sarcophagi, some of them with mummies, in the area.
He said archaeologists also found wooden funerary masks along with instruments used for cutting stones, dating to the Late Period (664-332 BC).
Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said they also uncovered large stone blocks along with limestone and granite fragments, indicating the existence of ancient graves in the area.
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