The pyramid of Sahure was once known as Kha-ba Sahure which means the rising of the ba Spirit of Sahure the second pharaoh of the fifth dynasty in the 24th century BC in the old kingdom of Egypt. It was built in the massive necropolis of Abusir and was named “The Soul of Sahure Appears” and “Sahure’s Soul Rises“. The pyramid of Sahure marked a significant development in architecture due to the use of the construction materials and the beautiful decorative reliefs all around the complex which featured a large burial pyramid, a mortuary temple, and a valley temple.
The Pyramid of Sahure Architecture
The burial pyramid of Sahure is standing on a base of 78 m and rises to a height of 47 m, it was built using diverse kinds of stones than most of the 4th dynasty pyramids. The pyramid of Sahure was constructed on two layers of limestone. The total area of the complex is about 10,000 sq m. The pyramid core was composed of six steps of limestone being held together with mud mortar with an entrance to the north and was incased with fine white limestone. A short passage descends from the entrance to a small hallway and a heavy pink portcullis behind that the corridor rises towards the antechamber. The internal passages were lined with granite and the king’s burial chamber contains a gabled roof supported by three limestone beams. Both the burial chamber and the antechamber were badly damaged and the only minor fragments of the basalt sarcophagus were found in the burial chamber.
The Pyramid of Sahure Contents
The mortuary temple is located on the east side of the pyramid of Sahure and is divided into private and public areas by a central corridor. The limestone walls of the corridor have scenes of sea battles and expeditions to Asia and were paved in basalt and there was a stairway at the northern end which lead to a roof terrace. The public section of the temple is formed by a massive granite doorway leading to a pillared courtyard with 16 pink granite columns. These columns sit on black basalt plinths and have palm-shaped capitals and were mostly inscribed with Sahure name and the various goddesses like Nekhbet and Wadjet. Its ceiling was painted in blue and decorated with gilded stars. The walls of the courtyard used to be decorated with images of the pharaoh and his courtiers fishing and hunting and scenes of the pharaoh Sahure defeating his enemies. There is an alabaster offering table with offering scenes and images of the symbols of the unification of upper and lower Egypt.
To the west, there is a corridor that leads to the inner court and holds a few images of a sea voyage through ancient Egypt. The inner part of the mortuary temple can be reached by a short alabaster staircase in the middle of the west wall of the central corridor. The walls around the inner chapel are covered with decorated limestone, pink granite on the west wall, alabaster floor, and star decorated ceiling. At the rear of the chapel, there is an opening that leads to an alabaster floor and an astronomical ceiling plus its walls carry the images of the gods carrying offerings for the pharaoh. the temple holds a granite statue of the pharaoh and an offering basin that was plumbed with copper piping. There is a large granite false door that could possibly have been covered with copper or gold. There are a number of small chambers attached to the offering hall which was used to store the temple’s ritual equipment and offerings.
The valley temple has two landing ramps, the west ramp leads to eight pink granite columns with palm-shaped capitals and a blue painted ceiling with decorated gilded stars. The south ramp leads to a portico with four pink granite columns. Both the entrances lead to a central room with a basalt floor and an enchanting astronomical ceiling. It contains decorated walls with images of the pharaoh in the form of sphinx trampling on the enemies of Egypt.
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