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Dahshur Necropolis


Page update - Aug 29, 2023

Dahshur is one of the royal necropolises of ancient Memphis, the capital of Ancient Egypt. There are 11 pyramids of pharaohs from different eras. The two large pyramids, each over 330 feet (100 meters high), are in excellent condition. Tourists are allowed to visit them, and you can even get inside. The others can be viewed from a distance.

The prices and other information on this page were updated in August 2023. The Dahshur Necropolis is open to tourists. Both the large pyramids (Pink Pyramid and Bent Pyramid) are open to the public.

What's the delight of Dahshur

Dahshur is not a popular tourist spot, unlike the necropolis of Giza or Saqqara.

There are NO pushy traders offering souvenirs at every turn in Dahshur. There are NO people offering camel, carriage, horse rides at every turn. There are NO crowds and you can go down to the pyramids at any time, which means you don't have to wait for a group to gather.

The second big advantage is the price. Entrance to Dahshur costs only 100 Egyptian pounds, and this ticket includes a visit inside the two large pyramids. For comparison, entry to the Giza Necropolis costs 360 and the getting in the pyramids is paid for separately.

Except that it's relatively expensive to get to Dahshur. For this reason, the transport problem is the first to be discussed.

Where is it located and how to get there

Dahshur is 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Cairo and Giza. You have to take a taxi to get there. And an important point! You need to take a taxi with the return trip. To understand why the return trip is needed, you need to understand the location.

It's a big desert area. It is 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) from the entrance (exit) to the Pink Pyramid. Further, it is another 1.25 miles (2 kilometers) from the Pink Pyramid to the Bent Pyramid. Correspondingly, it is 2.8 miles (4.5 kilometers) back to the entrance (exit). Do you want to walk so much in Egyptian heat? Not likely.

That's why you have to take a taxi with the return trip. The taxi will enter Dahshur with you, will take you to the Pink Pyramid and wait for you to see it. Then the taxi will take you to the Bent Pyramid and wait for you to see it. Then the taxi will take you back to Cairo.

The Cairo-Dahshur-Cairo ride is between 600 and 1000 Egyptian pounds, depending on how you haggle.

The Cairo-Dahshur-Saqqara-Cairo trip is between 800 and 1200 Egyptian pounds, depending on how you haggle.

For the current exchange rates of the Egyptian pound, see our review "Money in Egypt".

Dahshur has now excellent paved roads between the pyramids and convenient car parks right next to them. It will be comfortable, don't worry, and you won't have to walk much.

You have to pay 5 Egyptian pounds for taxis (and any car in general) to enter the area. You will have to buy a special pass at the ticket office. How this pass looks like, see the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge it.

This pass is the same for Dahshur and Saqqara. That means that if you go to Saqqara after Dahshur, you don't have to pay the 5 Egyptian pounds a second time.

Where and how to find a taxi to go to Dahshur

There is no need to look for or order a taxi. A normal Cairo white or black-white taxi will do. Read more about all types of taxis in our review "Taxis in Egypt". You just catch a taxi and say the word "Dahshur".

Not every driver wants to travel that far and for almost a whole day. So theoretically, the driver might refuse. Then just catch the next one. In reality, you won't even have to catch one. Most likely, the taxi driver will have a brother, brother-in-law, friend, son-in-law or someone else who would love to go. Such an order is "tasty" to taxi drivers and they won't want to pass it up.

You don't have to explain to the taxi driver that you have to go with the return trip. They know this very well. You don't even need to know any foreign languages. Use the translator on your smartphone to explain yourself. Or at the very least, draw a picture on paper to explain that you are traveling with the return. You can (and even better) discuss the price on a calculator screen. And a calculator is now available on any smartphone.

The translator in your smartphone is now the best way to communicate with Egyptians in Cairo. Usually, they know English at a low level. The translator helps a lot. Translate from English into Arabic. The quality of translation will be poor, but it will be understandable.

You will need a mobile Internet connection to make the translator application work. But there are no problems with it in Egypt right now. Read our detailed review "Internet in Egypt".

Is it possible to take a taxi one way (without waiting and returning)?

In theory, you can. But we don't recommend it.

First of all, you have to walk a VERY long way, and it's not very pleasant under the hot Egyptian sun. However, it depends on the weather. Read our detailed review "Weather in Egypt by months".

Secondly, you have to find a taxi back to Cairo somehow. There are no taxi drivers at the entrance (exit) to Dahshur. The best you can catch there is a scooter-taxi (tuk-tuk) that will take you to Dahshur village, where you can already find a full-fledged taxi. You could try calling an Uber, but no driver is likely to respond.

Excursions

They are available. Prices range from 20 to 100 US dollars per person, depending on the programme and lunch included or not. Another important point! Entrance fees are most often NOT included.

You can buy a tour at any tour agency in the city. The excursions are usually in English or Arabic.

In our opinion, the language does not matter. The guide will not tell you much. It is better to read this page to the end. We will tell you everything interesting about Dahshur and its pyramids in the second part of this page.

How much does it cost to enter

A visit to both of the large pyramids is included in the ticket price. In other words, you can get inside and you don't have to pay anything extra. See the photo near for how the tickets look like, click on the photo to enlarge.

Adults - 100 Egyptian pounds.

Students - 50.

Children - free of charge.

Car entry ticket - 5.

For the current exchange rates of the Egyptian pound, see our review "Money in Egypt".

Unfortunately, the price list at Dahshur does not explain exactly what the word "student" means. However, this is the situation at the ticket offices of all Cairo's attractions.

We'll explain. Adults are defined as those aged 12 and over. The "students" means children from 6 to 12 (not included) years old. Children under the age of 6 pass free of charge. Just our website editor-in-chief was in Dahshur in October 2021, showing his children the heritage of ancient Egypt. His 7 year old daughter was allowed in at half price as a "student" and his 3 year old son was allowed in for free.

The way to buy tickets for children is this. Go to the ticket office, show your children and state the age in English (or point at your fingers). The cashier will give you the right ticket. It is unlikely they will cheat, Egyptians love children.

Working hours

From 8 am to 5 pm (8-00 to 17-00). Every day.

There is no point in trying to arrive early in the morning, as there are no crowds of tourists in Dahshur. You may come at weekends and on public holidays, as there are no crowds even on those days. But just in case, see the calendar of national holidays on our page "Holidays in Egypt".

How much time to plan

If you leave at 9 or 10 am in the morning, you'll be back around 1 or 2 pm (13-00 to 14-00).

If you're still going to see Saqqara, you'll be back around 3 or 4 pm (15-00 to 16-00).

Important! If you want to get inside

You can get into the burial chambers only through narrow and long corridors. And these corridors are hard to climb.

In the Pink Pyramid, for example, this corridor is only 3 feet (0.9 meters) high and 4 feet (1.2 meters) wide. The corridor is about 200 feet (60 meters) long and has a slope angle of about 30 degrees. The dimensions are roughly the same inside the Bent Pyramid. How it looks like, see the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge.

It is not difficult to go down even for a tall person. In a pinch, you can go down "on your backside". The climb up is difficult, especially if you are overweight or/and tall. In addition, there is no air circulation in the Pink Pyramid, and it is difficult to breathe inside. The Bent Pyramid is easier as there is a slight wind inside.

But the good news is. The corridors are wide enough to spread out. You will always be able to sit, rest, gain strength. You won't hold anyone up if you stop.

It is best to take a minimum of belongings inside. Anything extra can be left with the staff at the entrance and they will keep it for a modest tip, usually 10 Egyptian pounds. However, they do ask for a tip anyway. You don't have to, it's optional.

What to bring with you

1. Helmet.

The passages in the pyramids are very low - less than 3 feet (1 meter) high. Take care of your head and wear a helmet. The usual construction helmet now costs 8-10 US dollars (6-8 UK pounds). It is a small price for safety of the head.

2. Flashlight.

There is a light inside. But half of the bulbs don't work and the Egyptians don't rush to change them. Grab your flashlight to light your way and see the magnificent vaults of the burial chambers. See these vaults in the photo below, click on the photo to enlarge.

Some hikers hope to shine their smartphone flash. This is not a good idea. You can illuminate the passageway with a flash, but you won't see the vaults of the burial chambers as there simply isn't enough brightness. Use a full-fledged flashlight.

3. Water and snacks.

Take water at the rate of 1-1.5 liters per person. Take plain water, not sugary. Take some kind of snack. No fast food places or restaurants in Dahshur and along the way.

4. Clothes you don't feel sorry for.

You will always hit something in the narrow tunnels. Clothes will get dirty with close to 100% probability. Wear clothes that you won't be sorry to get dirty and throw away if they rub or tear.

What else comes in handy and what doesn't, read our in-depth review "What to take to Egypt".

What to see - The two great pyramids of Sneferu

Snofru (reigned around 2600 BC) was the first pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty. He has built two pyramids at once in Dahshur - the Pink Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid. The reasons of such a pharaoh decision are not clarified by historians.

Both of the pyramids are magnificently preserved. It is possible to go down into both and see the pharaoh's burial chambers. Naturally, there are no mummies, sarcophagi, or treasures inside. All the great pyramids of the Ancient Kingdom were looted back in the First Intermediate Period.

Pink Pyramid

The Pink Pyramid is so named because of the shade of limestone from which it is assembled. This shade is hard to see, and in appearance it differs little from the classic monuments of ancient Egypt.

The Pink Pyramid is closer to the entrance and is usually the first thing tourists see. It is 341 feet (104 meters) high. It was 359 feet (109.5 meters) in ancient times. The width at the base is 722 feet (220 meters). It is the third largest pyramid after the Cheops and Chephren pyramids.

The Pink Pyramid is very interesting inside. There are three burial chambers at once! It is believed that the front two were false chambers and only the third was real, for the burial of a pharaoh. If this is true, then the trick has not worked, as the Pink Pyramid was robbed back in ancient times. There is a second version - that three people were buried there.

Tourists first take a narrow passageway to the first burial chamber. Then another short (one block long) passageway leads to the second burial chamber. Then a special staircase ascends to the third burial chamber.

In addition to the climb inside, it is worth seeing several places outside. Firstly, one of the pyramid's faces has a white limestone cladding. Secondly, a Pyramidion, the kind of stone that was once placed on top, is on display nearby.

Bent Pyramid

The Bent Pyramid got its name because of its design. In its lower part, the slope angle of its faces is 53 degrees. But in the upper part, the slope angle is reduced to 42 degrees. Why is this so? What made the ancient builders reduce the angle? This is a big mystery.

The height is 331 feet (101 meters) and the base is 623 feet (190 meters) wide. If the slope angle had not been changed during the construction then the Bent Pyramid would have been higher than the Pink Pyramid and it would now be the third highest. But it is only fourth on the list.

The Bent Pyramid is also very interesting because it has retained its external cladding of white Tura limestone. It is by looking at the Bent Pyramid that you can understand what the pyramids looked like in ancient times. After all, they all once had such cladding. But all the pyramids except the Bent Pyramid had their facing removed for building materials.

The interior of the Bent Pyramid is extremely interesting. Normally pyramids have one burial chamber each and one passage to this chamber. But the Bent Pyramid has two burial chambers and two long passages. Why? A mystery. Perhaps one was a false one. Perhaps two people were buried there.

But the most striking thing! There is a passageway between these two burial chambers. And this passageway was not made by the pyramid builders, but by looters. The passageway is clearly artisanal. Probably, the robbers could not find or could not open the second official entrance. And it was easier for the robbers to cut through the passageway to rob the second burial chamber.

Until 2019, the Bent Pyramid was closed to tourists. But now it's open. You can climb inside and see the burial chambers and this 'robbery passageway'.

What to see - Pyramids of the Middle Kingdom

There are 9 small pyramids of the Middle Kingdom era in Dahshur. All of them are in a bad state. The fact is that during the Middle Kingdom era, Egypt's resources were no longer the same and the pyramids were built from raw bricks. Naturally, most of this brick had already fallen apart.

However, the burial chambers inside are made of granite hence survived. Naturally, the burial chambers are empty, as they were looted during the Second Intermediate Period.

Warning! These pyramids can only be viewed from afar. It is forbidden to even get close and it is even more forbidden to go inside. This is a pity. There are inscriptions inside the burial chambers, the so-called 'Pyramid Texts' or 'Pyramid Songs'.

Black Pyramid

This is the pyramid of Pharaoh Amenemhat III of the 12th Dynasty during the Middle Kingdom (about 1830 BC). It was once 246 feet (75 meters) high and 328 feet (100 meters) at its base. It was once faced with stone (presumably white limestone).

But the cladding was removed for building materials and the raw bricks collapsed. And now the Black Pyramid looks more like a hill. As it looks now, see the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge.

The Pyramidion (the stone on top) survived and can now be seen in the Cairo Egyptian Museum.

It is an interesting fact that Amenemhat III built himself a second pyramid in Faiyum, which is 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of Cairo. Where exactly was Amenemhat III buried? It has not been ascertained at this time.

Pyramid of Senusret III

This is the pyramid of Pharaoh Senusret III of the 12th Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom. He is the father of Pharaoh Amenemhat III, who we spoke about above.

It is located 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) north-east of the Pink Pyramid. Look closely and you can see a small hill in the distance. It was once 207 feet (63 meters) high. The interior is fully preserved, but it is closed to visitors.

The area around the pyramid of Senussert III is the most interesting place in Dahshur for archaeologists. Excavations are constantly being carried out there by a joint effort between the Egyptian Antiquities Service and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A huge necropolis with dozens of burials has been found around. Several of the smaller pyramids belonged to the pharaoh's wives, and to the north was a large cemetery of his officials. It was there that the precious treasure of Queen Weret was found, which is now on display in Cairo's Egyptian Museum.

White Pyramid

This is the pyramid of Pharaoh Amenemhat II of the 12th Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom. He is the great-grandfather of Pharaoh Amenemhat III, who we spoke about above. The pyramid is even more destroyed.

Other pyramids

The rest of the pyramids are in such a state that it is even difficult to say whether they were completed. It is also not clear whether someone was buried there or not. Probably, they were disassembled at some time for building materials.

Important and useful to know

- Remember that it is illegal to climb up to pyramids. Punishable by 1 month imprisonment and/or a fine of 10,000 to 100,000 Egyptian pounds. The punishment was made more severe by the November 2019 amendments to Federal Law 117 (1983). What else tourists shouldn't do, read our review "What not to do in Egypt";

- Exchange US dollars, UK pounds, Euros for Egyptian pounds while in Cairo. There are no exchangers or ATMs in Dahshur. Read our review "Money exchange in Egypt";

- You can save some money on taxis from Cairo to Dahshur by taking the subway to El Monib station (the terminus) on the red line. See our review "Cairo Metro" for the subway map and fares;

- From hotels in Red Sea resorts to Dahshur, you have to travel via Cairo. For information on how to get to Cairo, see our reviews "From Sharm El-Sheikh to Cairo" and "From Hurghada to Cairo".

And more! Important!

Don't even think about bringing a piece of the pyramid with you. Nowadays, there are strict controls at departure from Egypt. Customs officers check your hand luggage thoroughly. Your luggage gets scanned.

If they find the stone in your luggage, they may arrest you for defacement and attempt to export the country's historical heritage. The stone may be confiscated.

It is better not to take any chances. Believe us, there are plenty of interesting gifts and souvenirs in Egypt. See the list and prices in our review "What to bring from Egypt".

We wish you a great experience in Dahshur, and read our useful for tourists and interesting pages about Egypt (find the list of the pages below).

TIPS FOR TOURISTS

What Don't Do in Egypt

Cheats of Tourists in Egypt

What to Take to Egypt

Sharks in Egypt

To Egypt With Kids

How NOT to Get Poisoned in Egypt

National Holidays in Egypt

Weather in Egypt by Month

MONEY AND EXPENSES

What Money in Egypt

Money Exchange in Egypt

How Much Money to Take to Egypt

TRANSPORT

Taxi in Egypt

Cairo Metro

From Hurghada to Cairo

From Sharm to Cairo

From Hurghada to Luxor

From Cairo to Ain Sokhna

Intercity Buses - Guide

GIFTS, SOUVENIRS, CUSTOMS LAW

What to Bring from Egypt

What You Can & Not Bring in Egypt

What You Can & Not Take out of Egypt

ABOUT EGYPT

What Language is Spoken in Egypt

Who Are the Modern Egyptians

Friday & Weekends in Egypt

Ramadan in Egypt

TELECOM

Internet in Egypt Cheaply

RESORT REGIONS

Sharm El Sheikh

Naama Bay

Hurghada

Ain Sokhna

Mediterranean Rivera

BAD HABITS

Alcohol in Egypt - Prices & Rules

Local Egyptian Alcohol

Cigarettes & Smoking in Egypt

Vape and iQos in Egypt

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