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The Mortuary Temple Of Sahure

The mortuary temple, or the Pyramid of Sahure, is situated in Abusir, which is the site of a huge necropolis of ancient Egypt. Abusir is located very near to Cairo, on the bank of the River Nile. This pyramid complex was made for Sahure, who was the second Pharaoh of the Fifth Dynasty of Old Egypt around 2480 B.C. The ancient Egyptians named this structural complex “Khai Ba Sahura,” which means ‘The Rising of the Ba (Spirit) of Sahure’ as per the beliefs of their culture.
This pyramid complex stands on the shores of Abusir Lake and includes a valley temple, causeway, high temple, main pyramid, and cult pyramid, along with the enclosure walls. It is considered a typical pyramid of the Old Dynasties, and its steps were built loosely with stones. As a result, most of the pyramid complex has disintegrated since its construction from the forces of nature. It was discovered in the early 20th century by Ludwig Borchardt during an excavation mission.

Sahure's Reign

Sahure ruled Egypt for twelve years as the second Pharaoh of the 5th Dynasty. His reign was during the early phase of the 25th century B.C. He was the son of Pharaoh Userkaf and Queen Neferhetepes II and his name meant “He is Close to Re”, Re or Ra being the main deity of ancient Egypt. Sahure's reign is marked by the expeditions to Lebanon, Sinai, and the ‘Land of Punt’ a debated location known to ancient Egyptians.
He chose the spot of Abusir for building his pyramid, as it was the first pyramid built in this necropolis region, away from the pyramids of the earlier Pharaohs in Gaza or Saqqara. Although his pyramid is smaller than the other pyramids built by the rulers of the earlier 4th dynasty, it is notable for the elaborate decoration on the walls of the mortuary temple of Sahure.

Structural Wonders Of The Pyramid Of Sahure

The walls of the pyramid complex were built of limestone and red granite, while the floors were made of basalt. Its height is 47 meters, while the base of this huge complex is about 78 meters. 
The total complex stands on an area of 10,000 square meters and is comprised of several monumental blocks with artistic sculptures all over them.

Valley Temple 

This structure on the shores of Lake Abusir is in very poor condition, however, the eastern entrance of this beautiful valley temple consists of two rows of decorated pillars of red granite while the southern entrance is marked with a canal, an inclined ramp, and a portico. A T-shaped hall made of black basalt floor, a star-adorned roof, and pink granite walls lies at the center of this valley temple, along with a staircase leading to the roof, which leads to the causeway of the complex.


The 235-meter-long roofed structure is made of limestone and is decorated with painted works of various kinds. The most important sculpture of this part is the limestone slab, which shows Sahure cultivating a myrrh tree in his palace garden.

High Temple

This temple consists of an entrance hall leading to an open courtyard through a granite door, followed by a transverse corridor and a chapel.

Cult Pyramid

This structure is almost entirely destroyed except for the courtyard and a T-shaped underground chamber, but all the other sculptures that were in the cult pyramid have been completely ruined over the course of time.

Main Pyramid

The 150 royal cubits-long bases of the main pyramid are quite damaged and have not been accessible until now. However, the height of 90 royal cubits is built with limestone blocks, arranged in six horizontal tiers, and is unevenly sealed with debris and mortar, which caused the ruin of the structure even more over time.

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