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Monday, October 20, 2014
News, Beni Suef: Meidum Pyramid site under restoration in Upper Egypt
Meidum Pyramid’s archaeological site in Beni Suef is being restored by the
government in an attempt to attract tourists to Egypt...... By Nevine El-Aref
minister Mamdouh El-Damaty embarked on Thursday on an inspection tour around
the different archaeological sites and monuments in the upper Egyptian city of
Beni Suef escorted by the city’s governor Magdi El-Batiti and Youssef Khalifa,
head of the ancient Egyptian section.
area of Meidum Pyramid was the first site to be visited. During the tour,
El-Damaty announced that a comprehensive restoration project is to begin
immediately to make the site more tourist friendly. The development project
will include the establishment of a sound and light show on the ancient history
of Beni Suef and the construction work of Meidum pyramid.
new lighting system powered by solar energy is to be installed as well as a
visitor’s centre equipped with a cinema, bookstore, gift shops and cafeteria. El-Damaty
also gave the go ahead for the ministry’s excavation works at Ehnasia site to
conduct further exploration in addition to the restoration project that is
already underway. The site is to be developed into an open-air museum.
Meidum pyramid consists of large mud-break mastabas which were originally built
for the last third dynasty king Huni. Construction continued during the reign
of his successor King Senefru.
architect who continued Meidum construction was the successor to well-known
ancient Egyptian architect Imotep, who built the Djoser step pyramid. However,
the modification made Imotep’s design and attempts to extend the structure led
to its partial collapse.
Arab historian Al-Maqrizi described the Meidum pyramid during his visit to
Egypt in the 15th century AD, as “looking like a five-stepped mountain.”
However, in 1788 during Napoleon Bonaparte’s expedition to Egypt, French
explorers observed only three of its mastabas. “The unusual appearance of Meidum pyramid led
to Beni Suef inhabitants calling it Al-Haram Al-Kadam (Pseudo Pyramid),”
Khalifa told Ahram Online.
added that the Meidum pyramid originally consisted of several mastabas
connected to each other to give it the pyramid shape, the ancient Egyptians
filled the gaps between every mastaba with limestone casing.
the 19th century British Egyptologist Flinders Pertrie, succeeded in locating
the ruins of the pyramid’s mortuary temple. The temple is 65 metres high, and
its entrance is aligned north-south, with the entrance in the north, 20 metres
above present ground level. The steep descending 57 metre-passage leads to
another horizontal passage, just below the original ground level that then
leads to a vertical shaft 10 metres high which finishes at the corbelled burial
chamber itself. The chamber is unlikely to have been used for any burials.
the pyramid complex is the mastaba tomb of an unknown noble. It has a spacious
burial chamber and hallway, and contains the first example of a red granite