About Hawara Pyramid
The Hawara Pyramid was erected by the Twelfth Dynasty pharaoh, Amenemhat III, ruler of Ancient Egypt from around 1860 BC to 1814 BC and who also built the Black Pyramid at Dahshur.
Once a formidable structure which was known as the “Labyrinth” for its elaborate security measures, the Hawara Pyramid was not built of stone, but rather mud-brick.
Hawara Pyramid history
The new line of pharaohs moved the capital back north from Thebes and resumed the building of pyramids for their tombs. The 12th Dynasty was one of great prosperity and Faiyum was a thriving area during this period. An oasis area 62 miles south of Cairo, Faiyum saw major irrigation and other public works. Amongst these were two king’s pyramids, one of them being Hawara Pyramid . Unusually, it was built of mud-brick rather than stone, and it had a gargantuan temple built on the south side. This temple, known as the ‘Labyrinth’, was destroyed 2,000 years ago, leaving only the fragments visible in the foreground.
The Lepsius expedition attempted to enter the pyramid in 1843, and about 1883, Luigi Vassalli tried again, but not until Petrie in 1889 was the interior actually investigated. Petrie was working with Wainwright and MacKay at the time and it took him two difficult seasons to finally reach the burial chamber.
Hawara Pyramid today
Today, having been robbed and eroded by time, the Hawara Pyramid is a shadow of its former grandeur and is no longer flanked by Amenemhat III’s burial temple, but is still clearly visible. The pyramid tomb of his daughter, Neferuptah, is also found nearby, 2 km south of her father’s Hawara Pyramid.
Although the Pyramid of Hawara was originally covered with white limestone casing, sadly only the mudbrick core remains today, and even the once-famous temple has been quarried. The interior of the pyramid, now closed to visitors, revealed several technical developments: corridors were blocked using a series of huge stone portcullises; the burial chamber is carved from a single piece of quartzite and the chamber was sealed by an ingenious device using sand to lower the roof block into place.
Getting to Hawara Pyramid
Hawara Pyramid is about 8km southeast of Medinat Al Fayoum, on the north side of the canal Bahr Yusuf, the canal that connects Al Fayoum to the Nile.
Buses between Medinat Al Fayoum and Beni Suef pass through the town of Hawarat Al Makta. From here, it is just a short walk to the pyramid. Alternatively, you can visit in a taxi as part of a circuit.