Unfortunately, this is one of Egypt’s forgotten sites, and it is rarely visited. Most modern travelers primarily visit sites such as the Pyramids of Giza, or the Step Pyramid of Sakkara. I have noticed, in the last few years, that some travel agencies are starting to organize trips, to thePyramid of Meidum and the Pyramid of Dashur, in a one-day trip.
We hope that this continues since the Collapsed Pyramid is a unique site and a worthwhile visit.
Meidum Pyramid has located 65 km to the south of Sakkara. To visit it, simply drive along the road that takes you to Sakkara, go past that site, and continue straight on for about an hour until you see the Pyramid. There is another way to reach Medium that takes longer but this way is much faster. Take the road to the Fayoum Oasis and then join the Assyut desert road. After about 77Km you will see the Pyramid on your left side. There is an admission fee of 100LE.
In the last few years, I have led several special groups to this exquisite pyramid. Each visit, I am overwhelmed, and know that there must still be dozens of secrets on this site still undiscovered! I class it as a ” virgin” site because Egyptologists have never truly done a proper investigation here.
The Plan of the Pyramid
The last King of the 3rd Dynasty, King Huni, built the Pyramid of Meidum in the style of a step pyramid. When it was newly constructed, it featured 8 steps, one built right on top of the other! For a long time, Egyptologists thought that the pyramid was built by King Snefru, the builder of the two pyramids in Dashur.
They once believed that based on some graffiti found in the funerary temple, located at the eastern side of the pyramid, which had been discovered at the end of the 19th century. But it was discovered, that some Ancient Egyptian travelers, from the 19th Dynasty (1300 B.C), had indeed left this graffiti, recording their admiration for the great structure that King Snefru had built. It now seems more likely that King Huni had left his Pyramid unfinished, and his successor, King Snefru, finished the great task for him, therefore latter generations thought it was the work of Snefru.
It is hard today to believe that one King would have requested that 3 pyramids were built for him, the two in Dashur, and the third one in Meidum. Today, many believe that it had been the work of Huni , completed by his son after his death in the hopes of memorializing his father for eternity.
The Collapsed Pyramid received its name because from a distance, it looks like a huge tower surrounded by a pile of rubble. The pyramid was 93m high and built with a square base with sides measuring about 114m long. The entrance of the Pyramid was located almost 30m above ground level, in the northern face. It led to a corridor that descends 54m, a unique feature among all the other descending corridors, one of the easiest passageways to traverse. You need a flashlight to light your way, as most of the lamps are broken (I have told the inspectors there, several times, to change them, but none of them listened to me!). At the end of the corridor you will find a small chamber, roughly cut in the bedrock, exactly underneath the apex of the Pyramid. Then, at the end of this room, you will find a wooden ladder that leads up to the burial chamber. As you make this ancient climb, you will notice some huge beams of cedar wood that are 4600 years old.
|The black arrow refers to the location of the new tunnel||Inner part of the Tunnel|
|The roof of the Burial Chamber||The Burial Chamber|
In front of the eastern side of the pyramid, you will find a small funerary temple that is intact, even today! This Temple has no paintings or inscriptions, but when you enter it, if you are careful you will see where on the front of the door on the western wall, there is black graffiti, left by passing travelers in the 19th Dynasty who came here and then recorded their visit. In front of the Temple, you will see a causeway that traditionally led to the mummification Temple, which was located at the far end, unfortunately, the mummification Temple has been lost and destroyed, nothing of it remains!
Tomb 17 is a major highlight in this area, so make sure you don’t miss it!
About 300m to the north of the pyramid are tombs built in the 4th Dynasty and found in 1855. They yielded priceless treasures to the Egyptian Museum! Among them, you will find the tomb of Ra-Hotep and his wife, Nofert, as well as two beautiful limestone statues of them, still in perfect condition, and they share a place of honor in the Cairo Museum today. Ra-Hotep was the son of King Snefru, the commander of the Egyptian army in the 4th Dynasty, and a Chief Priest in the center of worship of the god Ra, the sun god.
Another was found near to the tomb of Ra-Hotep, the great tomb of Nefer-Maat. The best and oldest paintings ever found in a tomb were discovered here. They are now exhibited in the Egyptian Museum and are in the same room as the statue of Ra-Hotep and his wife. The most famous is called the “Scene of the Geese of Meidum”. It is a beautiful scene of 6 Egyptian geese together, made on a mud brick wall, covered with a coat of stucco and painted. It is another of the antique treasures of the Egyptian museum.
To the east of the Pyramid is another set of tombs dating back to the 4th Dynasty. One was for an unknown person and had no inscription at all. Going inside is a real adventure! The only way in was illegally created by tomb robbers. I usually take my groups there, but I must make sure that they are fit, it is an extremely tiny space, but worth the visit if they can. The entrance leads to a descending corridor that is about 10m long. From there is a small shaft, with a modern wooden ladder that takes you down to another tunnel, at the end of which you will find a hole in the wall, like a needle hole, which you can’t get through that easily; which can only be traversed by crawling on your belly as the ancient tomb-robbers who once did the same. Afterward, you will find a larger passageway made of huge blocks of limestone. Midway along this tunnel, you will find an entrance to the burial chamber; it is made of limestone, but is so impressive and elegant! At the end of the chamber, there is a massive granite sarcophagus with the lid slightly ajar and set aside. It is empty, long since plundered by tomb robbers thousands of years ago. Underneath the lid, you will find a small, ancient, wooden hammer, stuck underneath the heavy lid and forgotten by the tomb robbers (See Opposite Picture).