Travelers to Egypt will soon be able to explore the inner chambers of the 4,500-year-old "bent" pyramid, known for its oddly shaped profile, and other nearby ancient tombs, Egypt's antiquities chief announced Monday.
The increased access to the pyramids south of Cairo is part of a new sustainable development campaign that Egypt hopes will attract more visitors but also to avoid some of the problems of the urban sprawl that have plagued the famed pyramids of Giza.
Egypt's chief archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, said the chambers of the 330-foot-pyramid outside the village of Dahshur, 50 miles south of Cairo, will be opened for the first time to tourists within the next "month or two." "This is going to be an adventure," he told reporters.
Dahshur's bent pyramid is famous for its irregular profile. The massive tomb's sides rise at a steep angle but then abruptly tapers off at a more shallow approach to the pyramid's apex.
Archaeologists believe the pyramid-builders changed their minds while constructing it out of fear the whole structure might collapse because the sides were too steep.
The pyramid is entered through a cramped 80 meter-long tunnel that opens into an immense vaulted chamber. From there, passageways lead to other rooms including one that has cedar wood beams believed to have been imported from ancient Lebanon.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Bent pyramid chamber to be opened to public