|Height||101.1 metres (332 ft)|
|Base||188.6 metres (619 ft)|
The Bent Pyramid is an ancient Egyptian pyramid located at the royal necropolis of Dahshur, approximately 40 kilometres south of Cairo, built under the Old Kingdom Pharaoh Sneferu (c. 2600 BC). A unique example of early pyramid development in Egypt, this was the second pyramid built by Sneferu.
The lower part of the pyramid rises from the desert at a 54-degree inclination, but the top section is built at the shallower angle of 43 degrees, lending the pyramid its very obvious "bent" appearance.
Archaeologists now believe that the Bent Pyramid represents a transitional form between step-sided and smooth-sided pyramids (see Step pyramid). It has been suggested that due to the steepness of the original angle of inclination the structure may have begun to show signs of instability during construction, forcing the builders to adopt a shallower angle to avert the structure's collapse. This theory appears to be borne out by the fact that the adjacent Red Pyramid, built immediately afterwards by the same Pharaoh, was constructed at an angle of 43 degrees from its base. This fact also contradicts the theory that at the initial angle the construction would take too long because Sneferu's death was nearing, so the builders changed the angle to complete the construction in time. In 1974 Kurt Mendelssohn suggested the change of the angle to have been made as a security precaution in reaction to a catastrophic collapse of the Meidum Pyramid while it was still under construction.
It is also unique amongst the approximately ninety pyramids to be found in Egypt, in that its original polished limestone outer casing remains largely intact. British structural engineer Peter James attributes this to larger clearances between the parts of the casing than used in later pyramids; these imperfections would work as expansion joints and prevent the successive destruction of the outer casing by thermal expansion.
The ancient formal name of the Bent Pyramid is generally translated as (The)-Southern-Shining-Pyramid, or Sneferu-(is)-Shining-in-the-South.
Interior passages 
The Bent Pyramid has two entrances, one fairly low down on the north side, to which a substantial wooden stairway has been built for the convenience of tourists (though so far the pyramid is not open to the tourists, although plans have been proposed to open it). The second entrance is high on the west face of the pyramid. Each entrance leads to a chamber with a high, corbelled roof; the northern entrance leads to a chamber that is below ground level, the western to a chamber built in the body of the pyramid itself. A hole in the roof of the northern chamber (accessed today by a high and rickety ladder 50 feet (15 m) long) leads via a rough connecting passage to the passage from the western entrance.
The western entrance passage is blocked by two stone blocks which were not lowered vertically, as in other pyramids, but slid down 45° ramps to block the passage. One of these was lowered in antiquity and a hole has been cut through it, the other remains propped up by a piece of ancient cedar wood. The connecting passage referred to above enters the passage between the two portcullises.
Pyramid temple 
On the east side of the temple there are the fragmentary remains of the pyramid temple. Like the pyramid temple of the Meidum pyramid, there are two stelae behind the temple, though of these only stumps remain. There is no trace of inscription to be seen. The temple remains are fragmentary but it is presumed to be similar to that of the Meidum temple.
See also 
- Verner, Miroslav, The Pyramids - Their Archaeology and History, Atlantic Books, 2001, ISBN
- History Channel, Ancient Egypt - Part 3: Greatest Pharaohs 3150 to 1351 BC, History Channel, 1996, ISBN
- Mendelssohn, Kurt (1974), The Riddle of the Pyramids, London: Thames & Hudson
- James, Peter (May 2013). "New Theory on Egypt’s Collapsing Pyramids". http://www.structuremag.org. National Council of Structural Engineers Associations. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
|World's tallest structure
c. 2600 BCE – 2590 BCE